Interview with former Illini great Sergio

Sergio McClain, the former Illini guard/forward and son of legendary high school coach and current Illinois assistance coach Wayne McClain, recently took over the reigns of Parkland College. InsideIllini.com caught up with the younger McClain to discuss his new position and to get his insights about the Illini, current and past.



Kedric:
Now that you're in charge of the basketball program at Parkland College where do you see your program going?

Sergio:
Being that they didn't finish with a great record last year [10-22], I'm hoping to bring in a new flavor and a different feel, more of a pro game. I'm 29, I still have a good feel of what the younger generation likes. I've coached at every level, from elementary to college. I want to bring a winning tradition here to Parkland; I want to bring in the best players possible. My focus is to recruit the entire state and to make a young man a better man.

Kedric:
What style of offense will we see at Parkland?

Sergio:
More pro offense. I play to the strength of the personnel that I have, so it may change from year to year based on the type of kids I have. You have to adjust to that. Kids are different and their talent level will not be the same for each kid. I want to work on their weakness and make them better. I want to work on their basketball IQ. I love to keep the floor open and a lot of pick-and-roll motion offense. It's going to be a good brand of basketball.

Kedric:
What's a good selling point to your program?

Sergio:
Having the Illinois campus right here helps our program, we're a sister school to Illinois. We're 5 to 6 miles away from campus, they'll have access to the library, restaurants, and social life that comes with college life. It's a good experience. They can take classes there at the U of I; sometimes there are students that come here for classes too. Being around the Illinois players, basketball, football, and baseball, will be a big selling point. But understand, I'm not just here for Illinois. I played there, but I want all the kids to know that I have a lot of connections because of people that have coached me, or I've been in contact with over the years. I have contacts obviously at Illinois, Kansas, St. Johns, Kentucky, ISU, SIU, and Bradley.

Kedric:
How much time have you spent at Illinois since your playing days ended?

Sergio:
One thing I love about Illinois is that it is my home away from home, they welcome me with open arms every time. When you're done playing, you always have access to the gym and weight rooms. If you are trying to start a business, they're there for you to help get things started if you plan to do something in the area. They treat the alumni great here. Illini Nation is good and we take care of each other. It's great to be a part of.

Kedric:
What were your thoughts on this past Illinois team?

Sergio:
Young. A lot of people had to step into roles that they weren't used to. Losing guys like Dee was hard because they were looking for more leadership. Then you have someone like Calvin Brock, a good player but he really wasn't used to that role. Demerti McCamey was trying to learn a different style and play a different role. As a freshman coming in, that was tough, but he did well. Pruitt was the most experienced person coming back. Brian Randle to me, when he's healthy, is a lottery pick. He just needs to keep his confidence up. Brian is a really good athlete.

Kedric:
During your career what was the greatest win for you at Illinois? What was the worst lost for you?

Sergio:
The biggest games at Illinois had to be towards the end of my career, but I liked winning games on other people's court too. Trying to win a Big Ten Championship on some other team's court was great, going to Minnesota to win that year, I loved. Senior night was great and beating a team like Iowa was good because they're one of our rival schools. The most heartbreaking loss for me, and I'm still mad about it, was the Final Eight game against Arizona. All I'm going to say Kedric is they shot 56 free throws, seven people fouled out.

Look for Sergio to do well at Parkland Junior College. He was a student of the game while he was a player and has a father that will go down as one of the best high school coaches in the country. Sergio appears to have the passion and desire to work hard and get the best player's available to Parkland and help them with their future plans after college. We'll keep in touch with Sergio as he embarks on his career at Parkland, so stay tuned to InsideIllini.com for updates.


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