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Sam McLaurin

Sam McLaurin

Coaching in China | U.S. Basketball Academy | Class of 2013

What Sam McLaurin wouldn’t give right now for a heaping helping of French toast from his favorite Champaign breakfast joint.

Sadly, Sam’s Cafe does not deliver to the place the one-year Illini big man now calls home — Zhengzhou city, China, where McLaurin serves as program coordinator and head coach at the United States Basketball Academy.

“My time in Champaign-Urbana was a year to remember,” says McLaurin, a Coastal Carolina graduate transfer who played one year for Illinois (2012-13) and left C-U with a master’s degree in recreation, sport and tourism.

“The best spot off-campus was Sam’s — a little hole in the wall but a nice local environment. The owner, Sam, is wonderful guy. The French toast there is the best French toast I’ve ever had in my life.

“Me and my roommate ate way too much of that on Sunday mornings. We always ate a plate of French toast with a side of eggs and bacon.

“We would also ask for an additional order of French toast for the road.”