CHAMPAIGN -- Illinois sophomore point guard Te'Jon Lucas could only bench press 170 pounds when he arrived on campus last summer. Fast forward one year and the Milwaukee native has upped that max number 100 pounds. His vertical has skyrocketed as well, up eight inches. It's all part of his maturation process that's caught the eye of new head coach Brad Underwood and his staff.
"Since my injury being able to only touch like ten feet two inches and now it is like ten feet ten inches," Lucas said about his vertical jump. "Everybody is getting better, all the numbers are getting better."
"He has made tremendous strides and tremendous improvements in that physically he has gotten better, absolutely," Underwood said. "His body has changed a great deal, he has gotten stronger."
Underwood didn't see Lucas play last season, the first year Illini coach has only been on campus since March. He's already envisioning Lucas leading the offense though. Underwood likes to push the pace, a big contrast from former coach John Groce's style of play.
"I think he fits from a tempo standpoint, what we want to do and how we want to play in terms of pushing it," Underwood said.