Freshman Bo Bo Drummond Takes Charge

Peoria Centra High School expected to have senior D. J. Richardson leading them this year. But Richardson, the Illini signee, moved to Findlay Prep in Las Vegas to improve his academic standing. In his absence, freshman Antonio "Bo Bo" Drummond was given charge of running the team from his point guard spot.

Antonio Drummond is no ordinary freshman. Peoria Central coach Dan Ruffin has placed a great deal of responsibility on his shoulders, and he has responded.

"The focus is now on him. Everyone knew we had D. J., so he was able to just go play this summer. He had a great summer. Now D. J. goes to prep school, and now everyone's focusing on him.

"He handles it well. He just comes out and plays. He plays and he plays hard. He does everything we ask him to. He's handling it pretty well.

"He likes playing against good competition. He likes playing against the best guy. He wants that challenge. He wants to guard the best player.

"He's unusual. He's just a gifted kid."

The 5'-10" Drummond was assigned to guard Chicago Crane Tech superstar and Illinois commit Crandall Head in their recent encounter at the Shootout At The Hall. Head had 17 points, but he strugged at times, committing 10 turnovers. Bo Bo liked the challenge.

"Yeah, I was up for it. He's a real good player. I felt if I could guard him, I can guard a lot of other people. I played all right. I could have played better to help my team win."

Coach Ruffin had no qualms about putting pressure on Drummond.

"Our strategy was to have him on Crandall. He's our best perimeter defender, and he's going to guard the best perimeter player on the other team. He can play against bigger and stronger kids. Around the basket it's a little bit tougher, but on the floor he can play against anyone."

Bo Bo misses his friend Richardson, but he knew what he had to do.

"As soon as he left, I knew what was going on. It was on me now. I was up for the challenge. I was sad that he left, but I still had to do what I had to do. It was a big opportunity for me. Make me grow up quick.

"I keep in touch with D. J. a lot. He's been through a lot of stuff already. So he helps me out a lot. I'm very disappointed, but he gotta do what he gotta do."

It is a long time before Drummond will be ready to play college ball, but recruiting interest is definitely picking up. Given his Peoria background, Illinois is one of the schools on his mind.

"I talk to Illinois a lot through letters. I got letters from Iowa, I got a letter from UCLA. This is a school I really like being that I'm from Illinois. So I've got a good feeling about it. So far I like it. I haven't seen much yet, but this is the school that's been on me the most. I like it a lot.

"Illinois assistants Wayne McClain and Jerrance Howard are both Peorians, and they have made their interest known to Bo Bo.

"Yeah, they're real cool. We're all from Peoria. That helps out a lot. Jerrance came from Central, and that's even better."

Illinois has signed three guards for next year, and three more are committed for future years. But that won't turn Drummond off when time comes to decide his college choice.

"No. I don't worry about that, not until I get here or wherever I go. It doesn't bother me at all."

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