With Demetri McCamey leaving after this season, the Illinois Fighting Illini were going to have a void at point guard. Coach Bruce Weber has been grooming Brandon Paul to play the position, but he is more of a slasher/scorer than a point. Mount Carmel standout Tracy Abrams will arrive on the scene, but relying too much on a freshmen point guard could be asking for trouble.
Some help will be on the way as former Bradley point guard Sam Maniscalco announced his intention to transfer to Illinois. Maniscalco will graduate from Bradley in May, but still has a year of eligibility left due to a medical redshirt he received this year. He was also recently given a release from Bradley because coach Jim Les was fired. He will be able to play immediately at Illinois next season because he will be pursuing a graduate degree that is not available at Bradley.
Maniscalco, a six foot guard, played in only six games this season before an ankle injury shut him down. He had surgery and is expected to return to action in the near future. Last season, he averaged 13.1 points and 3.4 assists. He garnered interest from Indiana and Iowa State before deciding on his home school.
Maniscalco starred at St. Patrick’s High School in Chicago (my dad’s high school), and played AAU ball for the Illinois Wolves. Coincidentally, both McCamey and Abrams played with the Wolves.
I think this a nice get for Illinois. While Maniscalco won’t set the world on fire, he is a solid player with a lot of toughness and experience. He can help bring Abrams along and also take some of the pressure off Paul. It also gives Weber a little more flexibility with the lineups he puts out there. I’m excited to see what this kid can bring to the table. Welcome to the Orange and Blue Sam!
About the Author
Written by Jason Patt
My name is Jason Patt and I recently graduated from the University of Illinois. I received a degree in Sports Management and also minored in Communication and Business. I am an avid follower of Illinois sports and also most major Chicago sports teams. Along with blogging about Illini basketball here, I'm an editor at Bulls 101.