Maniscalco Provides Illini Point Guard Depth

Sam Maniscalco (AP)

Illinois has been looking for a pure point guard to play alongside Tracy Abrams in 2011 after the graduation of DeMetri McCamey. This afternoon Bradley Sam Maniscalco confirmed his decision to transfer and play with the Illini next year. The senior has one year of eligibility remaining, and he will pursue a post graduate program at the UI.

sam maniscalco visited the Illinois campus yesterday and decided to commit the following day.

"I visited Illinois yesterday, and I was with the coaches and players. I had a nice visit and felt really comfortable. Today I decided that was the best fit for me both academically and athletically. I decided to pull the trigger."

The point guard talked about his visit to Champaign.

"I went down there in the morning and talked to the coaches. I went on a campus tour and stayed around to watch practice. I talked with the coaches some more and went back home to Chicago."

While on his visit, Maniscalco and the coaching staff discussed the situation and how they felt it could be a win-win for both sides.

"They were pretty straight-forward. The interest was mutual. I could help them out and they could help me out academically and athletically. They thought I was a good fit for their program, and I felt the same way."

The reason the Bradley senior will be able to transfer without sitting out a year is because he is transferring to a school that has a masters program that his former school did not, similar to Justin Knox at North Carolina this year.

"I majored in sports communication at Bradley and will be graduating in May from there. Illinois has a master's in sport management and has a good communications grad program."

This whole process has gone very fast for the 6-footer once he received his release from Bradley.

"They called and said they were interested in me after signing the waiver and having a year of eligibility remaining. I was mutually interested. They asked if I wanted to come down for a visit. I decided to go down and the rest is history."

Maniscalco has nothing but praise for his future coach and program.

"Athletically, talking with coach Weber, they feel I am a good fit for their program, and Illinois is a great program. I have a tremendous amount of respect for him. His resume speaks for itself, and the program speaks for itself. I am excited to join them!"

He chose the Illini over opportunities with Indiana and Iowa St. He will be taking a scholarship for the 2011-2012 season which will be his final year of eligibility. The Illini fans and coaches have been looking for a pure point guard to fill that role next season. He describes what he believes a pure point guard means.

"I think a pure point guard has to feel the game and react at the same time. You have to have great instincts without thinking. You also have to be an extension of the coach and know your teammates inside out."

Maniscalco talked about his strong points.

"My basketball IQ, toughness and understanding of the game are my strengths."

He shared Coach Weber's reaction to his commitment.

"He said he was excited about the opportunity I had. I agreed and said it was a great opportunity for me. He thought I fit in well there. He is excited about it."

The point guard is excited about the opportunity he has at Illinois and is looking to fit in and do anything he can to help the program.

"I think I will fit in well, but I'm not trying to come to Illinois and be the man. They have a great group of guys that are very talented. The tradition of Illinois basketball is great. I am trying to come in and help them in anyway I can to be successful."

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