Five Questions with Forward Dominique Keller
Now that you're on campus is it what you thought it would be from a school standpoint in terms of basketball and socially?
School it's a lot easier than what I thought it would be, but at the same time it's a lot harder. The classes can be tougher but I know what I have to do and I will do it. Getting around is tougher here because it's so big. I have a great academic staff that's around me. Basketball-wise it's a lot of fun, just being here, being a part of such a great situation. I love to sign autographs for kids. I will sign an autograph for anyone. I don't care if I'm late to class. When I was growing up people dissed me and I said if I was ever in the situation where I could make a difference in someone's life I'm doing it. People down here have been great and really support their sports teams.
From all reports you're holding your own on the court. What if any adjustments have you had to make in terms of going from junior college to the Big Ten?
I've adjusted fine on the court. The big question everyone wants to know is if I can do what I did in junior college here at Illinois. For me it's not about being the star. I'm not making any promises to anyone, but I know how hard I will work. I think I'm ready. The coaches think I'm ready that's why they gave me a scholarship. People ask me if I'm another Rodney Alexander. That's not me, and it's not fair to compare us. We're not the same type of player.
We know its preseason but can you tell us what the team will look like this year and what fans can expect?
A lot of people say we'll be decent or mediocre and everyone is looking towards the future, but I know what's here and what we did this summer. I know losing Jamar hurt; I'd be lying if I said otherwise but Demetri and Alex can play. I mean they can get it done! We all go shoot together and play together. Trent can shoot and Chester plays hard as always and is a good vocal leader. Tisdale and Mike Davis, everyone plays hard. We have so many versatile players on this team. We're going to surprise some people. People don't understand how hard we work at becoming better, there's not a coaching staff that wants more of their team than ours. We have a chip on our shoulders and just being good enough is not enough. We had one of the worst losing seasons ever at Illinois and it's time we get back to winning. For a lot of people just winning a few more games or taking fourth or fifth in the conference is good, not for us. We want more!
What's a daily schedule like for you at Illinois?
It changes a lot. But let me tell what I did today. I got up at 8:00 A.M. then grabbed something to eat. Then I go to the gym to work out at 8:45. I lift weights from 9:00-9:55; then an individual workout from 10-10:45. I got dressed and went to study hall from 11:10-11:50, then class from 12:00 to 12:50, then back to study hall from 1:00-1:50. I went to class from 2:00-2:50 then I ate something, and then back to study hall from 3:00-4:30. After that some of the fellas will have late-night workouts like Demetri. I'll go watch or when he's shooting I'll pick up the basketballs for him. I've done it for a few others too. I want to support all my teammates anyway I can. Then I come home and hang out until study hall from 7:00-8:00. Then it's light out and get ready for the next day.
Last year you were not a part of the team, and scoring was a large factor in so many losses. Do you see that being a problem this year, if not why?
I don't think scoring will be an issue this year. We have too many weapons; guys who can shoot the three, and shoot the mid-range games and score on the block too. Defensively we just need to clamp down every game out. We need to grow as team and hit big shots when they matter.
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