Phil Argento is the high school basketball coach at Lutheran West High and knows first hand what kind of player the Illini are getting.
"Last year was a tough year for Richard. He was battling injuries and illness all season long. Like most good athletes, they all have adversity in their careers. But it's the ones who handle it that are the tough ones, and Richard did that," Argento stated.
Semrau checks in at 220 pounds, but according to his coach he's getting stronger and the kid has a great work ethic. Just last week for the first time he was able to bench press 240 pounds three times. "Richard is improving all the time. His shooting has improved a lot and he rebounds well, but at the same time I think he will need to get a little more physical."
Argento admitted he was a little surprised at a commitment this early, but Argento did tell his star player this, "Most schools will put an offer on the table and sometimes they will offer two to three other kids, and if you wait too long you will be stuck with your second or third choice for school." Argento added, "Coaches Weber and Price did a great job of recruiting him. They really made him feel good. I'm also glad he did this because now he can work on his upcoming basketball season."
What does Argento think of Bruce Weber? "Coach Weber is a great coach and a quality, quality man. I know some coaches can try to sell you on an arena or whatever, but Weber recruits the right kind of kids at Illinois. Even on visits I hear that they are all good kids. Richard felt that this weekend."
Argento said Richard told him how down to earth Coach Weber is. "Most colleges take you out for dinner to fancy restaurants; not Weber. This past weekend Weber had the players over for dinner. How many coaches would do that?"
Most may not realize that Argento played for Adolph Rupp at the University of Kentucky.