Finke Already Preparing for College

Illinois commit Michael Finke is already taking steps to ready himself for his time in college. He's off to a solid start this spring, but a recent appendectomy may slow him down a bit.

Illinois commitment and Champaign native Michael Finke faced a tall order at the Spiece Run N' Slam when his Peoria Irish team landed in the same pool as Spiece Indy Heat and Team Thad.

Though they lost to both teams, they were placed in the silver bracket and didn't lose another game the rest of the weekend en route to a silver bracket championship.

"We had probably one of the toughest pools in the tournament," Finke said. "Having both Spiece and Team Thad made it tough to be able to come out of those games with wins, but we won the games we were supposed to, and we came out on top in the silver bracket. It still feels pretty good."

The talent level of Spiece and Team Thad made for a difficult weekend for Finke, but he thought the challenge was beneficial.

"They're college ready teams," he said. "They're strong and quick. I thought I matched up alright for the most part. Obviously I could have done better in a couple of my games, but I just need to put on some more weight and I'll be alright."

Finke admitted that he didn't have one of his best weekends, but parts of his game clicked throughout the event, and regardless of what was or wasn't working, Finke still did whatever he could to make sure his team came out on top.

"I think it was off and on," he said. "Sometimes I was on top of my passing, and in some games I had my shooting working. Regardless of what was working I was always doing what I could to help my team win games."

Finke said that one of the big keys to improving his game will be adjusting his diet and adding strength so that he can become a more complete forward.

"Once I put on weight and strength, that will help me be able to be more than a "stretch 4" where I can go and post up more against guys," he said. "I need to keep attacking the glass hard on both offense and defense. I'm taking in 5,000 calories a day. I'm at 206 right now. The 5,000 has been helping me gain weight already. I'd like to be between 225 and 230 my freshman year." Finke's recent appendectomy may hinder his progress a bit, but Finke's work ethic isn't in question.

"I want to be strong when it's all done, but I still want to have my athleticism and still be able to shoot it from outside," he said. "I've been going in early, around 6 in the morning, doing workouts with my dad and just trying to get better."

One other thing Finke will be keeping an eye on is the group of players that have transferred to Illinois this offseason.

"I mean Groce is a heck of a recruiter and he's going to get whatever he can to help the team win," he said. "So we're just planning on working when we get there."

And having the opportunity to go up against two other big Illinois targets in 2014 in Jaquan Lyle and Leron Black, Finke has an appreciation for how good they both are and said he hoped both would join him.

"They're both great players," Finke said. "Leron was limited because of his injury, but when he was in there he was athletic, he rebounded, and he can shoot from mid-range. JaQuan is one heck of a point guard and when he's on, he's on. If we got them both at Illinois that would be pretty big."

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