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With Maturity, Bertrand Talent Emerges

Joe Bertrand (Holly Smith)

It is always a pleasure to watch college athletes mature with age and experience. They begin as uncertain freshmen, and it may take awhile before they become confident at the higher level. For Illini basketball player Joe Bertrand, it has taken two years. But it appears he is finally blossoming, in part because he is now the teacher rather than the student.

Joe Bertrand got a slow start to his Illinois basketball career. He injured his knee freshman preseason and spent the rest of the year recovering from surgery. That also put him behind the learning curve since he couldn't practice with the team. Last year as a redshirt freshman, he was literally starting over. With four established senior starters, and classmates Brandon Paul and D.J...

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