The Illini's secret weapon - Brian Randle

<p>It's so easy to forget about what type of player Illinois forward Brian Randle really is. Early in his career, Randle was a consensus top ten player nationally. Check out this list of schools asking for his services: Duke, UNC, Iowa, Notre Dame, Kentucky, Kansas, Iowa State, Michigan and Michigan St. Not too bad, I'd say. But he stayed home to represent his state school - Illinois. Read here for the story.

When I was talking with the players I overheard someone mention the dunk contest at Midnight Madness. Immediately I looked over and it was big man James Augustine telling reporters that Luther Head was his boy, but this year there was going to be a new king on campus. "I know some of the other players won't say anything but they know Randle is the man," said Augustine. Of course Randle did not disappoint his fellow teammates. He won the contest showing fans why he was once considered a top ten player. Randle suffered a high ankle sprain, which set him back. It's really hard to believe that recruiters would "dock" a kid because of an injury, but oh well. He will just have to show everyone why some of the best colleges in the nation were after him.

"This team has a lot of athletes. One kid you can't forget about is Brian Randle. He has the best vertical leap on the team," said Weber. Now I don't know about you, but I know there's one kid on this team that can flat out "get up" and that's Luther Head. So if Randle has a better vertical than Luther, lookout Big Ten.

Kedric: Brian, how are you adjusting to school?

Brian: It's going okay. I'm used to getting A's, but I know there's a chance a B could slide in there.

Kedric: Brian, Coach Weber talked about you guarding guys like Luther Head in practice to increase your defense on the wing. How is that working out?

Brian: It's been an adjustment for me because in high school I had to play in the post most of the time. For me to get more time, I have to do a better job of covering guys on the wing.

Kedric: One thing I like about your game, Brian, is the fact that you crash the boards hard. Do you take pride in rebounding?

Brian: Yes. It's been a part of my game since I can remember. However, rebounding here against guys like Aaron Spears and James makes it real tough. But it will help in the long run.

Kedric: Your roommate is Richard McBride. How is that working out?

Brian: Oh, it's fine. We played together during the summer months so we know each other pretty good. It made the transition a lot easier.

Kedric: Richard, what are you looking forward to the most about the season?

Brian: Just playing the games. I've been down here so many times to watch them and now I get to play.

Kedric: Brian, good luck with your first season as an Illini.

Brian: Thank you very much. I look forward to talking with you throughout the season.

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