March Madness 2021: Illinois’ Andre Curbelo nutmegs defender with pass


Andre Curbelo is one of the most entertaining players in college basketball. The Illinois Fighting Illini freshman guard seems to have a counter for every problem he encounters on the floor, seeing passing lanes and finding angles no mere mortal would see. Curbelo’s peerless sense of style showed up in No. 1 seed Illinois’ first NCAA tournament game as they were running No. 16 seed Drexel out of the gym.

Curbelo ran a pick-and-roll with sophomore behemoth center Kofi Cockburn and found a way to get his big man the ball in an impossible situation. Cubelo hit Cockburn with a bounce pass that went between the legs of Drexel’s drop defender, right into Cockburn’s hands, and turned into a big dunk. You can watch the highlight here:

Curbelo has been pulled out of the lineup at times by head coach Brad Underwood for his turnovers, but it clearly hasn’t curtailed his ambition. This would have been an infuriating turnover to Underwood, but Curbelo saw an opening and placed the ball just right.

Here’s Curbelo’s magic in three screenshots:

Illinois won the game, 78-49. The Illini are going to be FUN to watch during this tournament run. Hopefully Curbelo’s magic is just getting started.



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