The undefeated Illini have yet to crack the top 25, but someone is noticing the team's early-season success.
Illinois guard Rayvonte Rice was named the Big Ten Player of the Week on Monday, the first weekly honor handed out to an Illini player this season.
Rice, a Champaign native and Drake transfer in his first season playing for the orange and blue, has quickly emerged as the team's top scoring threat, averaging 17.1 points per game. In two games last week, Rice averaged 21 points, including a 25-point, 10-rebound, four-steal outing that helped the Illini topple UNLV on the road for their first win of the year against notable competition. Rice scored 17 points, hauled in six rebounds and had two steals in the win over IPFW.
It's the rest of the stat sheet that Rice seemed particularly proud of following practice on Monday in Champaign.
"It feels good. It's really like a team award. A lot of people think it's just about scoring, but it's about rebounding, steals and all that," Rice said. "That's what coach emphasizes every day is we've got to play hard and compete."
The Illini take on Georgia Tech in Atlanta as part of the Big Ten/ACC Challenge at 6:15 p.m. Tuesday.