Brad Underwood updates status of injured players ahead of Illini game vs. Arkansas State
Illinois basketball returns to the court on Friday when it hosts Arkansas State at 9 p.m. ET at the State Farm Center in Champaign. The season-opener went according to plan, a 71-47 win over Jackson State that saw the Illini play rather shorthanded in the backcourt.
The Illini were without 3 guards for the season-opener—Andre Curbelo (concussion protocol), Trent Frazier (shoulder), and Austin Hutcherson (tailbone). Hutcherson has yet to make his Illinois debut after transferring in a few seasons ago, but between Curbelo and Frazier, Illinois was missing nearly 20 points and 7 assists on the floor.
In addition to the injury situation, All-American center Kofi Cockburn also missed the opener because of a suspension. Cockburn will remain sidelined for 2 more games, and coach Brad Underwood gave an update on the other three when he met with the media on Thursday, per 247Sports’ Joey Wagner.
#illini Brad Underwood: To-be-determined on if the thee guards (Trent Frazier, Andre Curbelo and Austin Hutcherson) will return tomorrow.
— Joey Wagner (@mrwagner25) November 11, 2021
“To be determined,” he said. “We know Kofi’s out, the rest we don’t (know).”
In the victory Tuesday night, super-senior guard Alfonso Plummer handled more attention. In a team-high 36 minutes, Plummer had 9 points, 4 assists, 4 rebounds, and 3 steals.
Plummer was at the top of the scouting report with their guards out. Underwood said that was evident in the way Jackson State guarded him. “We’ve got to do a better job of screening for him and getting him some better looks … but I think he’s in a great, great place,” Underwood said. The 6-foot-1 guard spent the last 2 seasons at Utah.
Look for more of Plummer if the trio of Illini guards miss any more time.