Illini Assistant Basketball Coach Wayne McClain

<p>Illinois high school basketball is the best in the country and when you talk about one of the best coaches in the Illinois high school ranks, you know Wayne McClain tops the list. Read here for my one-on-one interview with McClain.

Q: Coach, now that the season is over how much time will the team have off before they start to work out again?

A: Coach Bruce Weber told them they would not do anything again until April 12th. They will lift weights, work on shooting and defense. There's always room to improve. We think our guys will be hungry.

Q: Post play appeared to be a concern for the team down the stretch. What are the plans for James Augustine - is it a big man camp?

A: There're plenty of big men camps out there, but James needs to work hard to improve his game, and really develop a post move. That jump-hook is a great shot but he needs to have a shot that he knows he can score down low consistently. Augustine also needs to get a sense of urgency with his play.

Q: Will Dee and Deron play with any summer teams?

A: We are not sure right now, but they're a hot commodity and high profile athletes. They have made names for themselves, that's for sure. They are two guards that anyone would want.

Q: Coach, the million-dollar question - why did you stay at Illinois when you could have left?

A: That's easy. This is home for me. Illinois has been good to me; my son graduated from here, my daughter is a junior right now, and I've made a name for myself here. For me it was an easy decision. A lot of my players played here - Jerry Hester, Frank Williams and Marcus Griffin to name a few.

Q: Coach, how much time do you guys spend in scouting teams for their next game?

A: Wow. Sometimes I put in sixteen hours a day. We have to be prepared. I will watch 6 or 7 hours of film a day on an opponent. We look for tendencies with players and coaches. What they do coming out of time-outs, what plays they run at the end of half and end of games. We also look at each player from the other team. Can they dribble well, can they shoot it, do they handle full-court pressure. There's a lot that goes into scouting teams and we want to make sure our players know everything there is to know about an opponent.

Q: What's your son Sergio up to these days?

A: He's an assistant coach at Peoria Manual right now. I hope he can put himself in a position to get to the college level soon, but I don't know if that's what he wants to do. For me, I just want him to do something so he can take care of himself for the rest of his life.

Kedric: Thanks, Coach. It was great visiting with you.

McClain: No problem. Thank you.


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