Summer Series: Calvin Brock

The sixth player will look at in its Summer Series is Calvin Brock. Calvin is entering his third season at Illinois, but it is just his second year of eligibility as he redshirted in his true freshman season. Calvin has not seen much playing time in Champaign, but the Chicago Sun Times Player of the Year in 2004 hopes to see more playing time this season.

It is difficult to go out and project what Calvin Brock will do next season for the Fighting Illini. He has not really played much basketball in true game situations. Yes, he has played at the end of some halves, and during blowouts for the Fighting Illini, but maybe five to ten minutes of the 109 he played in seventeen games last season were what would be considered key game minutes. This little amount of playing time makes it difficult to truly judge what Calvin can bring to the floor.

The one thing we definitely know about Calvin Brock is that he is a very good jumper, maybe the best jumper on the Illinois team. What we really don't know is how that ability translates into true game situations in college, specifically the Big Ten. If there is one thing Calvin is definitely an expert on, it is calling for the alley-oop on a break (be it the primary or secondary), but if he wants to see more playing time this season, he will have to become more than a one-dimensional player, especially when that one dimension is jumping.

With the departure of Dee Brown, there is an open spot in the guard rotation for Calvin to seize, but it will not be easy as he has to beat out three players that have received playing time over him in the past. With his listed height of 6'5", Calvin does have some versatility that will allow him to play a backup small forward role if Bruce Weber desired, as well.

So what does Calvin need to do to crack the Illinois rotation?
He needs to improve on almost every aspect of his game, but especially his ball handling, outside shot, and defense. Last summer, Calvin was one of the few guards that went on the Big Ten touring trip, and Bruce Weber was his coach. Weber used that as a time to see what type of point guard skills Brock had, and unfortunately at the time, they were not well refined. Calvin has also struggled with his outside shot. The form is not there, but he has been working on it over the last two seasons. Due to Simeon playing mostly a zone when he was in high school, Calvin is still working out the intricacies of Bruce Weber's man-to-man defense, and he will often times be lost on the help side, allowing his man to take an open jump shot (or a drive) from the weak side.

Due to his jumping ability, the one thing Calvin has shown to be above average at on the college level is rebounding as a guard. His career-high rebounding number is nine, so when he gets the playing time he is good at pulling down missed shots. Last year he pulled down 9.9 rebounds per forty minutes played, a great number, though somewhat misleading based on the competition level of the opposition when he was normally in the game.

It will be difficult for Calvin to break into the eight-to-nine man rotation that Bruce Weber will most likely play this season, but not impossible. He just needs to keep his head on his shoulders, and work hard. From an outsider's perspective that just sees his actions on the sidelines, Calvin seems to enjoy being in Champaign and playing basketball for Illinois. Hopefully he keeps this great attitude, and continues to work hard to find a spot in the Illinois rotation, most likely on the wing.

A couple of good games early in the season during the cupcake central portion of the Illinois schedule could give Calvin the confidence he needs in himself to crack the lineup.

Strengths Weaknesses
Jumping Ability Outside Shot
Rebounding Ball Handling
  Defensive Position

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