Illinois forward Bill Cole steps up as emotional leader

Bill Cole was accustomed to being a star player when he came to Illinois as a freshman. He had been the go-to guy for most of his high school career, and he quite enjoyed that.

Remember, it was Cole who led Richwoods High School to the state championship as a junior and nearly prevented Derrick Rose from the first of two titles at Simeon.

So, when Cole found himself spending the bulk of his time seated in his warm-up gear during his first two seasons for the Illini, he struggled with his new role. He wanted to score as he once did. He wanted the double-doubles he once pulled in on a nightly basis. He wanted to be that star he once was.

It took some time for Cole to grasp, but now in his third year he understands where his game stands.

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