When you think of Rich McBride this year, first things first: the kid has lost over 20 pounds and looks like he's added more muscle to his body.
"Yeah, this summer I worked hard on my conditioning. I knew this year was going to be a very important one for me and my team. I feel real good and ready to take my game to the next level," McBride said.
McBride has been known just as a kid that could shoot the basketball, but this year things will be different. "I've worked on all parts of my game. I will put the ball on the floor and drive by people. That's another reason I worked on losing weight. Last year in practice I got the chance to play against three of the best guards in the nation in Luther Head, Deron Williams and Dee Brown."
"This year I welcomed the challenge to become better. If I can't come out and do what's asked of me, then what am I doing here? All players should try to raise their game to the next level."
Like most players they've all been asked about last year's success, but McBride knows now it's time to make his own history at Illinois. During the scrimmage on Friday night he was looking for his shot more, was very mobile, and played great defense. On two occasions McBride launched three points at almost half court. He sank one of them and the P.A announcer said he should get four for that one.
From the looks of things, Rich is planning to be in the starting rotation at Illinois. If he plays the way he did on Friday, he should have a solid season this year.