5. Brad Underwood seems to have forgotten about Amani Hansberry
There is a lot of positive to take away from a top-15 win over Florida Atlantic. The Owls are a great team that will likely go deep in the NCAA tournament. So, this was a huge victory for the Orange and Blue. With that being said, I feel like, sometimes, Brad Underwood forgets about players.
Marcus Domask and Terrence Shannon Jr. were in the zone. These two players put the team on their backs and carried us to a win. They couldn’t be stopped. One area that could be stopped was Illinois in the paint.
Illinois’ paint players, Coleman Hawkins, Dain Dainja, and at times Quincy Guerrier, struggled against Florida Atlantic’s size. We had a hard time stopping the Owls, but this is where I feel like Brad Underwood forgets about players. Illinois has a really good young big man in Amani Hansberry on the bench.
The freshman forward can hold his own in the paint and is athletic enough to guard out on the perimeter. He got a chance to play 2:54 yesterday at the end of the first half, and I think he helped Illinois greatly.
Hansberry checked into the game when Illinois was starting to struggle. We needed to stop the Florida Atlantic momentum. He came in and had two points and two rebounds in fewer than three minutes on the court. Hansberry was really effective in the game, but after halftime, we didn’t get to see another second of the big man. I don’t know if he was injured, but if he wasn’t, I am confused as to why Hansberry wasn’t on the court.
I feel like Hansberry could have helped Illinois at the No. 5 spot on Tuesday night. No one could stop Vladislav Goldin, so why not give Hansberry a shot? Hansberry was able to go out on the perimeter and guard Tre Carroll as well. He is a great tool to have on the bench. I believe we should use Hansberry more often.