I had some family in town this weekend and didn’t get to my weekly Illinois basketball update until tonight, but better late than never I guess.
I’m going to do this update a bit differently, breaking the news into player, coaching, recruiting and former Illini categories.
Included in this week’s wrap up are Demetri McCamey’s thoughts on attending the LeBron Shames (i.e. James) Skills Academy, Mike Tisdale getting named to the Team USA select team, and Bruce Weber being listed by Rivals.com as a coach on the hot seat (what a joke).
Illini Player News:
● Senior guard Demetri McCamey was in Akron last week, participating in the LeBron James Skills Academy after recently attending the Deron Williams Skills Academy. See what McCamey had to say about the experience, or read his quotes.
● Senior center Mike Tisdale was named to a select team of college players that will compete against the U.S. national team July 19-24 in Las Vegas and prepare these NBA all stars for an August tournament in Turkey. Here is the 20-player select team roster.
Illini Coaching News:
● Head Coach Bruce Weber was included on a list of ten college basketball coaches on the hot seat entering the 2010-2011 season, according to Rivals.com. Of course, this suggestion is based on a big if: if the Illini don’t make the 2011 NCAA Tournament, which doesn’t seem likely but who knows when trying to balance a roster of 4 contributing seniors and 3 highly-touted freshman. Even if Illinois does not make the 2011 NCAA Tournament, the idea of firing Weber is a joke. While he has struggled to get his players to buy in at times, Weber hasn’t had the most talent in recent years, due to recruiting problems that have been fixed, and deserves a couple of years to see what he can do with better players. Hopefully, this is much ado about nothing. Whatever the case, Purdue fans would certainly love to have Weber, a wonderful coach and class act who represents all that’s good about college basketball. Making up for its stupid inclusion of Weber as a coach on the hot seat, Rivals did have an interesting article on where the top programs find their coaches, if interested.
Illini Recruiting News:
● Weber was the focus of a USA Today story on early scholarship offers, which may come to an end if the NCAA accepts a proposal that would not allow financial aid offers until July 1st of the player’s junior year in high school. Of course, Weber’s recent recruiting success has revolved around offering early scholarships to players like Richmond and Crandall Head. Weber notably lost Glenbrook North’s Jon Scheyer to Duke, prompting his change in recruiting philosophy.
● RSCI recently came out with its final class of 2010 rankings, with Richmond ranked 24th nationally, incoming freshman center Meyers Leonard 29th, and Head 76th.
● Scott Powers of ESPNChicago.com wrote an article on 2011 Illini recruit Tracy Abrams, specifically on how the future Illinois point guard is using an old ankle injury as motivation during his senior year at Chicago’s Mount Carmel.
● Weber and his staff were working hard on the summer recruiting trail this week, checking out the Indiana Elite (specifically Kevin “Yogi” Ferrell) and other AAU teams during the Adidas Invitational in Indianapolis and also attending the Next Level Invitational in Milwaukee, Wisconsin.
Former Illini News:
● Lost among the James, Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh love triangle were other NBA free agent signings, including former Illini Brian Cook netting a 2-year, $2.5 million deal with the Clippers and Luther Head (the older brother of Crandall) reaching a similar deal in years and numbers with the New Orleans Hornets.
● All-time Illini rebounding leader James Augustine was in the summer league with the Utah Jazz starting strong with 20 points last Monday. Here are the breakdowns of Augustine’s other four games with the Jazz summer league team: Games Two, Three, Four and Five. All in all, Augustine started in four of the five Jazz summer league games, averaging 6.2 points, 4.2 rebounds, 1.2 assists, 0.4 steals, 0.6 blocks and 1.8 turnovers in 18.6 minutes per game. Augustine is also playing for the Atlanta Hawks summer league team, which begins play tomorrow night in Las Vegas.
● Dee Brown is playing with the Toronto Raptors summer league team, for which he scored 4 points (on 2-for-5 shooting), had 4 assists, made 1 steal and committed 2 turnovers during 19 minutes of Toronto’s 103-69 victory against the Phoenix Suns Saturday.
● After playing professionally in Israel during the last 2 seasons, former Illini forward Brian Randle is looking to bring his game to Europe next season. Randle was back on the Illinois campus this week, working out in scrimmage games.
● Former Illini Nate Mast and Victor Chukwudebe (both from the class of 2000) held a basketball camp at Parkland College yesterday. Mast is the head coach at Parkland while Chukwudebe was recently named the boys’ basketball camp at an Indianapolis high school.
● Happy birthday to Jerry Hester, the current Illini basketball radio analyst and one of my favorite Illini players on the 1998 Big Ten championship team. A product of Peoria Manual (along with former Illini Sergio McClain, Marcus Griffin and Frankie Williams), Hester turned 35 today.
Until tomorrow and the next Illini Tale of the Tape: Illinois at Ohio State.
Topics: Brian Cook, Brian Randle, Bruce Weber, Chris Bosh, Crandall Head, Dee Brown, Demetri McCamey, Deron Williams, Dwyane Wade, Frankie Williams, James Augustine, Jereme Richmond, Jerry Hester, Kevin Ferrell, Lebron James, Lebron James Skills Academy, Luther Head, Marcus Griffin, Meyers Leonard, Mike Tisdale, Nate Mast, Roger Powell, Roger Powell Jr., Sergio McClain, Tracy Abrams, Victor Chukwudebe, Yogi Ferrell