Marcus Domask Previews Big Ten Tourney with the IlliniGuys, Presented By HX Home Solutions

(Editor's note: Fighting Illini guard Marcus Domask appears each week on the IlliniGuys Sports Spectacular syndicated radio show, presented by HX Home Solutions.)

March 15, 2024

(Cover photo Joe Clark/IlliniGuys)

Larry Smith: Marcus, congratulations on being named All-Big Ten first team and the conference newcomer of the year.. Tell us what that was like when you got word of the honor.

Marcus Domask: Yeah, so appreciate you having me. It was cool. You know, I kind of thought that I would be either like, first team or second team, you know, just from seeing stuff in here and stuff. But yeah, I mean it's definitely a cool accomplishment. You know, especially just kind of making the transition and kind of being able to show that I can play at this level and have success at this level. But I think a lot of times, these awards get so caught up individually. But if your team doesn't win, you don't get rewarded. Like nobody gets rewarded on the team.

Mike Cagley: In the back of your mind, did you ever think that hey, at the end of the season, I'm gonna be first team Big 10 and newcomer of the year! Was that even on your radar?

MD: If somebody would have told me that I was going to come here and be first team All-Big Ten, I would have doubted it. Honestly. You know, I don't think I expected that for myself. But I did expect myself to come into this program and make an impact and help the team win games for sure.

LS: You talked about team success. You and Terrance on the all-conference first team, Coleman Hawkins and Quincy Guerrier also getting some All-Big Ten love.  What does it say about the team success that you had four players get some attention?

MD: The team success is kind of what everything falls back to. You don't get rewarded if your team doesn't win. So I think it just shows kind of the successful season that we had and just the guys we have, you know, we got a lot of dudes. If one person has an off night, I can step up. You know, we just were a complete team and I think that's kind of what this postseason award is.

MC: Are you going to be comparing this to the Missouri Valley? How did you approach the conference tournaments in your prior years at SIU and will that change any now that you're an Illini?

MC: Yeah, I think the approach is a little different. Just because every time you stepped on the court, when I was with Southern and in the Valley, it could be your last time.  Here, we're gonna get an at large (bid to the NCAA tournament) if we don't win, so it's a little different. I think there's less pressure and less people tensed up because this could be the last game of their career. But at the end of the day, I just gotta look at it is one game and you got to do everything you can to win this one game. You know, it's the postseason. Every game means so much more. So it's possession by possession. You just gotta lay it all on the line.

LS: You've got a guy in Coleman Hawkins, who is making his fourth trip to the NCAA tournament. What has he talked about in terms of what he's learned these last three years?

MD: He's talked about it's a different game in the postseason; it's even more possession by possession than then the regular season. You know, you need a shot every possession and you can't turn the ball over. It's just the little stuff that you really got to clean up and have a better focus and attention to detail.

LS: You know you're going to play in the NCAA tournament next week. What's that going to be like to step on to the NCAA court for round one?

MD: You know, I haven't thought about it a ton. I'm trying to try to take this game by game and do everything we can to win this first tournament first. But I'm definitely looking forward to it. You know, ever since I've been a kid, I remember sneaking my iPod at the time in like sixth or  seventh grade under my folder, trying to watch the games during class. And it's just something that I've watched and had been so invested in for so many years that it'd be really fun to finally get the play in it myself.

 

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