It's easy to find Illinois center Meyers Leonard in the NBA draft projections. Just look in the middle of the first round. It was harder to locate Leonard when the Big Ten all-conference teams were announced Monday. He's down there in the fine print under honorable mention in voting from both the league's coaches and media. Potential doesn't play well when it comes to all-Big Ten voting.

CHAMPAIGN -- It's easy to find Illinois center Meyers Leonard in the NBA draft projections. Just look in the middle of the first round.

It was harder to locate Leonard when the Big Ten all-conference teams were announced Monday. He's down there in the fine print under honorable mention in voting from both the league's coaches and media.

Potential doesn't play well when it comes to all-Big Ten voting.

Leonard didn't talk to the media Tuesday, so it's unclear if the snub from the Big Ten coaches left an impression on him, but Weber admitted he was "surprised'' the Big Ten coaches didn't give Leonard more respect because "every team gears their defense toward stopping him.''

No. 9 Illinois (17-14 overall, 6-12 in the Big Ten) faces No. 8 Iowa (16-15, 8-10) in a first-round Big Ten Tournament game Thursday (10:30 a.m., BTN) at Bankers Life Fieldhouse in Indianapolis.

Weber was the first to inform Leonard of the all-conference list, then he tried to put a chip on the shoulder of the 7-foot-1 sophomore from Robinson who is expected to jump to the NBA after the season.

"You have something to prove,'' Weber told him. "Go to Indianapolis, help us be successful. You finish on great note and make all-tournament. The only way to make all-tournament is to win. You have to play more than one game.

"It's something I've told them all the time. The guys that make all-conference come from the teams that have success.''

Northwestern forward John Shurna (first team coaches and media), Penn State guard Tim Frazier (first team coaches, second team media), Iowa guard Matt Gatens (second team media, third team coaches) and Illini guard Brandon Paul (third team coaches) were the players chosen from teams in the bottom half of the league standings.

Leonard ranked 16th in Big Ten play in scoring (13.4 points per game) and third in rebounding (8.3). Perhaps the league vote had more to do with Leonard's maturity and Weber's battle to motivate the big man.

"He's got all the physical abilities,'' Weber said. "It's the understanding of how hard it is, how hard you have to work. It's putting in the time and effort.

"That would be the thing Meyers has to do when he makes that decision.''

Former Illini guard Deron Williams "put way more hours into basketball to maintain and stay (in the NBA) than even to have a chance to get there,'' Weber said.

When it comes to the NBA, "It's not about getting there, it's staying there,'' Weber said.

John Supinie can be reached at Johnsupinie@aol.com. Follow him on Twitter at @JohnSupinie.