Illinois sharp shooting guard Richard McBride

<p>So much has been made of the current players on this year's roster that it's easy to forget there are some talented young players in this group that will try to push for a starting spot. Illini-Nation.Com sat down with true freshman guard Richard McBride for his take on the Big Ten season. Get inside.

Kedric: Richard, can you tell me your thoughts on the conditioning program here?

Richard: Conditioning has been very tough for me. Unfortunately, at my high school we did a little bit, but nothing like what's going on here at Illinois.

Kedric: Bill Self recruited you and he decided to leave Illinois. Did you ever think about going to another school?

Richard: Yes. I was committed when Coach Self left the program, but when I heard Bruce Weber got the job people told me he was a great coach and to stick with him; he knows what he's doing.

Kedric: I know the NCAA Clearinghouse. It seems like every other year Illinois has an athlete that has a run-in with them. Were you worried about not getting to play this year or were you 100% confident about the situation?

Richard: Going into my senior year Coach Self laid everything out on the table for me and told me what I had to get done. I also took a correspondence class and I received an excellent grade there. So I knew once they revaluated everything I was going to be fine.

Kedric: Richard, what has been your biggest adjustment so far here on the basketball court?

Richard: I think it's strength and speed. You have to be so much quicker.

Kedric: Richard, how does it feel to play for one of the top 10 teams in the country?

Richard: Coming out of Springfield we were always good and everyone wanted to knock us off, so I'm used to it. And besides, that's one of the reasons I came here.

Kedric: Richard, what's one part of your game that you feel needs the most work?

Richard: (Laughing) It's definitely defense. At my high school they talked about defense, but you could sometimes get away with not working too hard at it. Here, if you can't play defense you will not play.

Kedric: What can the fans look for when they see #33 on the court at Assembly Hall?

Richard: Hopefully they will see a player that works hard and wants to help the team win.

Kedric: One last question - Rich, how good of a shooter are you?

Richard: (Looking at Brian Randle and laughing) Randle said, "He can fill it up!"


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