Second-year Illinois State head coach Dan Muller has an uphill battle this season as his Redbirds squad welcomes eight new players and returns no starters from last season’s team.
This week, with the dismissal of senior guard Bryant Allen, the Redbirds are really lacking in experience as Allen was dismissed after being charged with possession of marijuana and delivery, driving on a suspended license and disregarding a stop sign.
The Redbirds will now likely look to Chicagoland product Paris Lee to fill Allen’s spot this season. Lee — a 5’11 guard from basketball powerhouse Proviso East — told the Bloomington Pantagraph that he’s ready to step in and take Allen’s place as he prepares for the IBCA All-Star Game on Saturday.
“It was real sad,” Lee told the Pantagraph. “I looked up to Bryant just like a brother because we’re both lefties. He was like a mentor figure to me. That kind of got me down. I told him I’m going to play this season out for him.”
“I’m going to show them I can pass and play real good defense and show them that I can win,” Lee also said.
If anyone can contribute on both ends of the floor immediately for Illinois State at guard it might be Lee. Lee, along with SMU recruit Sterling Brown — the younger brother of Shannon Brown — helped lead Proviso East to the 2012 state championship game and the 2013 state semifinals.
In both years, Proviso East lost to Simeon and Jabari Parker during Simeon’s quest to four consecutive Illinois state championships but Lee’s play as an on-the-ball defender and guard that can handle both spots opened eyes.