PEORIA, Ill. (WMBD/WYZZ) — Zek Montgomery says this year his feet are firmly planted where they should be.

“For me, I know when I mess up I start to get in my head a little bit,” said Montgomery. “Now I’ll just be where my feet are. It helps a lot.”

Montgomery has been on solid footing this year.

He’s moved from a role player averaging about three points and two rebounds a game as a freshman last year to being a regular starter averaging nine points and nearly four rebounds this year.

The transformation began last summer.

“This offseason I wanted to improve my game and be more of a factor for my team,” said Montgomery. “I wanted a bigger role. During the summer, I stayed and lifted to prepare for the season.”

His coach thought Montgomery’s offseason work could lead to big things this season.

“He really didn’t go home (after the spring semester),” said Bradley coach Brian Wardle. “He knew he had to get stronger, physically build up his toughness. He has done that. He’s playing confidently now.”

Confident may be the best word to describe the 6-foot-6 guard. He’s confident enough to be on the floor in crunch time and Bradley is confident enough to ask him to make big plays with the game on the line.

“It helps my game knowing I’ve got confidence to go out there and play the right kind of basketball for my teammates” Montgomery said. “Now I can do it at a high rate. Coach (Wardle) believing in me makes me want to do it more.”