Tracy Abrams Excited To Be On Campus

This summer marks a new beginning for Fighting Illini basketball as six newcomers have enrolled for classes and will add quality depth and talent to the team. Perhaps the one rookie with the most initial responsibility is point guard Tracy Abrams. He is excited to get going.

Tracy Abrams committed early in his sophomore year at Chicago Mt. Carmel High School. Much time has passed, but he is finally a representative of the University of Illinois.

"It's a great feeling. I've been waiting for this opportunity for a long time. Now it's here, and I've got to show what I can do with it."

He has enjoyed his brief time on campus this summer.

"It's been great, getting situated with school and getting a feeling and vibe for my teammates as well. It's been a great experience. I'm just learning and trying to get better."

The point guard feels comfortable on campus as well, taking two courses.

"I'm taking Community Health and Human Development. Being on campus is better than anything I've experienced so far."

Do people on campus recognize you yet?

"Not really. I hope they don't. I don't care about any of that."

Most high school graduates are used to taking summers off. But summer school requires no adjustment for Abrams.

"I went to school in the summer throughout my high school career, even though I didn't have to. It was just preparing me for right now. I'm kind of experienced with this."

Three of his fellow freshmen are Chicagoans also. Knowing each other offers unique benefits.

"It's a great feeling. I've known them longer than I know these (veteran) guys. It's great being around these guys, each with their own unique personality. It will help us as a team as well."

Abrams is excited about the potential of combining the rookies with Illini upperclassmen.

"I would say so. It's pretty much a new team, 5-6 new guys coming in. So it's gonna be a big difference. Hopefully it will have a great effect on the team."

He is fitting in with the older players also.

"Being around these guys is a change, but it's a good change."

Sam Maniscalco is a newcomer to the team, but he's a fifth year senior expected to share point guard duties with Abrams. Maniscalco brings a wealth of knowledge and experience to the team and has served as a tutor for the youngster.

"I've known Sam for the past year. He helps you with the small stuff. He tells me things like the game is 70% mental, so use my head."

A lot rides on the ability of the two new point guards to replace senior star Demetri McCamey. Does that put extra pressure on Abrams?

"I feel like I can handle it. I feel I don't have any pressure. It's been something I've been doing, preparing myself with the team."

The six-footer with a bulldog mentality knows the formula for earning playing time.

"Just distributing the ball, creating shots and opportunities for my teammates."

Abrams has already been baptized to the rigors of Big 10 basketball. Abrams displayed a healing cut near his left eye, courtesy of power forward Tyler Griffey.

"I've got a couple war wounds right now. I have six stitches. Tyler elbowed me coming down."

Abrams may not hold the key to Illini success this year, but his rapid evolution as a point guard would help considerably. He is excited to get started.

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