Scouting the Illini
The Illini can score in transition and on the secondary break. Make sure we match up with them in transition to take away quick shots and make them score out of their half-court sets.
When they do their baseline runners, stay in the hip pocket of all the shooters (Nunn, Coleman-Lands, Jordan). Make them curl into the lane. If Lewis or Tate are at the PG, the defender will be waiting on the curls into the lane. If Hill is the PG, we will show off of the post screeners to force the curl to be farther out on the floor.
When they set up in their double-high set, we will go under ALL sets with Lewis and Tate at the PG. Defenders, stay connected to the screeners. When Hill is at the PG, we will show and go under with the 5 man and we will switch with the 4 man to take away pick-and-pop situations.
They will look to get Hill isolated on the wings. When he catches on the wing, we will run at him with either PG. If neither PG is in the game, we will run at him with D.J. Williams’ man. Force Hill to give up the basketball. When he throws it out, don’t over commit to the non-shooters.
Whenever Hill catches NEAR the post, we will post trap him using the PG or D.J. Williams’ man. When Morgan or Finke catch on the block, we will send the trap. If they catch off the block, we will stay with our man and make them put the ball on the floor. We will make Finke finish at the rim. If Morgan gets to his second dribble we will send a digger off the PG or DJ’s man.
G - #21 Malcolm Hill, Jr. (6-6, 220) – 17.6 Points – 7.3 Rebs – 41% FG – 33% 3P
Great all-around player. Don’t let him bring the ball up without pressure. Trap him on ALL wing ball screens. Hedge and go under on ball screens at the top until he makes two 3’s. Play him as a driver. Stay down on shot fake. Trap him in the post coming off either PG or D.J. Williams.
G - #25 Kendrick Nunn, Jr. (6-3, 190) – 14.6 Points – 5.1 Rebs – 38% FG – 36% 3P
Has the ability to get hot and score points quickly. Find him early in transition. Make him be a driver and force him to his RIGHT. Go over all ball screens. Stay in his hip pocket on all screens. Make him put the ball on the floor and not curl into shots. Last screener extended on double screens. Over 55% of his attempts are 3’s, make him beat us with runners.
G - #5 Jalen Coleman-Lands, Fr. (6-3,180) – 11.3 Points – 2.0 Rebs – 39% FG – 40% 3P
Great shooter with deep range. Over 70% of his shots come from beyond the arc. Don’t let him get open looks. Go over all ball screens and stay in his hip pocket coming off screens. Close out hard on him and get into him on the perimeter. Don’t give much help when you are guarding him.
C - #22 Maverick Morgan, Jr. (6-10, 245) – 8.9 Points – 3.7 Rebs – 55% FG
Playing with confidence. Play behind him on the post pushing him out to make him catch off the block. When he catches in post, make him go over his RIGHT shoulder. When he sets the ball screen we will show and get back to him. Close out hard on him on the 15-foot jumper or make him put the ball on the floor.
F - #43 Michael Finke, Fr. (6-10, 230) – 6.0 Points – 4.6 Rebs – 33% FG – 30% 3P
Feels comfortable playing on the perimeter. Don’t give him any space when he catches out on the floor. Make him put the ball on the floor. Over 55% of his shots are 3’s. Play behind on the post and push him off the block. When he sets a ball screen, we will switch to not give up the pick and pop.
G - #3 Khalid Lewis, Sr. (6-3, 185) – 3.7 Points – 2.9 Asts – 32% FG – 11% 3P
When he is out on the floor, we are going to sit in the lane and be a helper. Any time Hill gets a post catch on the block, we will trap with off him. When he catches on the perimeter, we will bluff and drop off him. Make him be a shooter. Go under all ball screens and stay with the screener.
G - #0 DJ Williams, Fr. (6-7, 200) – 2.9 Points – 1.7 Rebs – 51% FG – 28% 3P
When he catches on the perimeter, close out short on him to take away the drive. Make him be a shooter. Block him out. When neither PG is in the game, we will post trap off of D.J.
G - #23 Aaron Jordan, Fr. (6-5, 190) – 2.3 Points – 0.8 Rebs – 26% FG – 29% 3P
Pressure him when he has the ball. Make him put the ball on the floor. Over 63% of his shots are 3’s. Close out hard on him. Go over all ball screens and stay in his hip pocket on all screens.
G - #1 Jaylon Tate, Jr. (6-3, 170) – 1.9 Points – 2.4 Asts – 39% FG – 16% 3P
Make him shoot it from the perimeter. Stay in the lane when he is out on the floor and doesn’t have the ball. Trap the post off of him. When he penetrates into the lane, don’t leave your man to help on the drive to free up a drive and kick. Make him be a finisher.
Sean Harrington is the basketball analyst for IlliniInquirer.com and also serves as a color analyst for ESPN. He played for four NCAA Tournament teams at Illinois, from 1999-2002. He also served on coaching staffs for Rick Majerus, Bill Self, Rob Judson and Bruce Weber. Follow him on Twitter @smharrington24.