Welcome to Redbird Arena. For the first time in several years, I expect a big crowd for a WSU game at Illinois State. It’s been awhile since the community was excited about ISU hoops. Obviously, the Redbirds are giving them a good reason to show up this season. The students are back in class, and two sections are almost full 25 minutes before game time. Let’s start with a Q&A by Jim Benson, the beat writer for the Pantagraph. Jim is in his second season covering the Redbirds.
What’s the biggest difference between last season’s Redbirds and this season?
I would say it’s a combination of a couple things. Many of the key contributors were first-year players a year ago and weren’t quite ready for the intense level of play in Valley games. The other factor is coaching. Tim Jankovich has the Redbirds playing much harder on the defensive end. Offensively, ISU doesn’t have the ball in Boo Richardson’s hands all the time, especially at the end of shot clocks. There aren’t as many set plays on offense, giving the players a chance to free lance more.