Complimenting his team’s cohesiveness and IQ at Big Ten Media Day, Illinois men’s head coach Brad Underwood also made reference to his 7-foot transfer from Kent State, Adonis De La Rosa.
This is the fourth stop for De Le Rosa, the Bronx, New York native who signed with St. John’s in 2014 and redshirted, then spent one year in junior college before two seasons at Kent State. He averaged 11.8 points and 7.6 rebounds per game with a team-high 27 blocks last season. De La Rosa reportedly tore his ACL during the Mid-American Conference tournament and had surgery in March.
After referencing De La Rosa in his opening remarks, we asked Coach Underwood what he thought about the big man as a person and a player, and how he might fit in with this team.
Yeah, I’ll refrain from how I see him fitting in until I actually see him on the court. But he’s quietly become one of our leaders. I’ve called him a basketball savant. I’ve never been around a young guy that has not participated. He knows everything that we did last year. He knows every call, he knows every play. He’s got it on his iPad. He’s in front of it. He’s coaching guys when he’s not practicing. He’s a very, very loyal, very committed person to our program. He’s worked extremely hard. He’s dropped 30 some pounds since he’s been here. I’ve been very, very impressed with Adonis to this point.
Adonis talked to us about his thoughts on Coach Underwood calling him a savant and how he’s fitting in with the team.