Brad Underwood has loved how R.J. Melendez has looked so far. He had some high praise for Melendez at Friday’s press conference.

Melendez should have a bigger role with the Fighting Illini this season. He is coming off of a 2021 campaign where he averaged 3.8 points 1.7 rebounds, and 0.7 assists. Melendez played in 22 games last season.

Underwood sees a different kind of player in Melendez this time around. He further complimented him by saying that there isn’t much he can’t do on the court.

“I just see a whole different RJ Melendez,” said Underwood. “I see a guy with tremendous confidence. There’s nothing on the court I don’t think he can do.”

It’ll be interesting to see how Melendez fits into what Illinois wants to do. Illinois added transfers Dain Dainja (Baylor), Terrence Shannon Jr. (Texas Tech) , and Matthew Mayer (Baylor) in the offseason.

Melendez’s growth will be on full display as Illinois’ season starts on Nov. 7 against Eastern Illinois.