Sunday Morning: Illinois Fighting Illini Basketball News for Aug. 29 to Sept. 4

This week in Fighting Illini basketball: the McDonald's All-American Game is coming to Chicago (Illinois freshman Jereme Richmond shoots in the 2010 game); ESPN announcer Doug Gottlieb (#44) likes the prospects of the 2010-2011 Illini; and Dee Brown (with thumbs up) is going to camp with the Dallas Mavericks.

Got a text message from my cousin yesterday after the football team’s loss to Missouri, asking in jest when the basketball season starts?

October 24th is the Orange and Blue Scrimmage, though the football team played better than expected (at least in my opinion) and may be slightly better than people are giving it credit for.

Before Writing Illini analyzes yesterday’s 23-13 defeat in the Arch Rivalry game either today or tomorrow, here’s a break from reality and look at what’s been going on around the men’s basketball program in the last week or so.

CURRENT ILLINI PLAYER NEWS

#32 Demetri McCamey and #3 Brandon Paul

Draft Express had an interesting feature this week detailing the top 10 NBA prospects in the Big Ten Conference, with Illini senior point guard Demetri McCamey listed #8 and sophomore guard Brandon Paul at #10.

TOP NBA DRAFT PROSPECTS IN THE BIG TEN, PART TWO

#24 Mike Davis

AOL!Fanhouse had a really cool piece on a college basketball starting lineup of lightly-recruited players (2 stars or less), with Illinois senior power forward Mike Davis making the list and moving to the 5-spot.

WHO NEEDS RECRUITING? NOT OUR TWO-STAR OR LESS ALL-STAR TEAM

ILLINI BASKETBALL TEAM NEWS

The News Gazette’s Paul Klee addressed a lot of important topics on the Illini basketball team in an engaging weekly chat that’s worth reading if you haven’t already.

ILLINI BASKETBALL CHAT

The News Gazette’s Jim Rossow is certainly an optimist, predicting that the Illini will go 27-4 in 2010-2011. Last week, Writing Illini broke down the Illini schedule and had the hoops team finishing 25-11 after losing in the second round of the 2011 NCAA Tournament.

HOW DOES 27-4 SOUND?

Rossow’s predictions already show that the optimism surrounding the Illini basketball team is really high, as further evidenced by Doug Gottlieb’s surprising prediction that Illinois will win the Big Ten Conference. I have Illinois finishing third, behind Michigan State and Purdue, but would love to be wrong in this case.

DOUG GOTTLIEB PREDICTS ILLINI WILL WIN BIG TEN

BIG TEN BEST CASE/WORST CASE SCENARIOS

ILLINI BASKETBALL COACHING NEWS

Head Coach Bruce Weber

At Friday night’s Cincinnati Reds-St. Louis Cardinals game in St. Louis, Weber threw out the first pitch along with Missouri forward Laurence Bowers.

BOWERS WARMS UP IN BULLPEN

Weber and several other Big Ten head coaches chimed in on the conference’s new divisional alignments, essentially saying that two divisions are not necessary for basketball.

BIG TEN BASKETBALL COACHES OPPOSE DIVISIONS

After last Saturday’s tragic shooting death of Darrell McKinney, the 15-year-old brother of 2011 Illini recruit Mycheal Henry, Weber and his coaching staff were trying to get an exemption from the NCAA to attend the service. Since Henry has yet to sign with Illinois (he has verbally committed to the school), it would have been a violation of NCAA rules for the coaching staff to attend the funeral. No word on whether Illinois got the exemption. Police are still investigating the shooting, which took place at a block party with the late McKinney apparently not-the-intended target.

ILLINOIS SEEKS OK TO ATTEND RECRUIT’S FAMILY FUNERAL

ILLINI BASKETBALL RECRUITING NEWS

Nnanna Egwu

After recently having surgery for a herniated disc in his back, St. Ignatius center and 2011 Illinois verbal commitment Nnanna Egwu is recovering well, according to this update from the News Gazette’s Cody Westerlund.

EGWU ON THE MEND

FORMER ILLINI PLAYER NEWS

#11 Dee Brown

Two powerful personalities will soon meet in the Lone Star State, with Dallas Mavericks’ owner Mark Cuban confirming that Illini great Dee Brown has been invited to the team’s training camp with a non-guaranteed contract and opportunity to win a roster spot.

DEE BROWN TO COMPETE FOR SPOT ON MAVERICKS

#13 Jeff Jordan

Former Illini and current UCF guard Jeff Jordan’s recent trip to Las Vegas with his younger brother and new teammate Marcus is under investigation, specifically as to why Marcus Jordan was at a Las Vegas nightclub despite being under the age of 21.

JORDAN’S VEGAS TRIP UNDER REVIEW

COLLEGE BASKETBALL NEWS

2011 McDonald’s All-American Game Coming to United Center

For the first time since 1982, the boys and girls McDonald’s All American games will be played in Chicago, at the United Center on March 30th to be exact. Don’t be surprised if a couple of Chicago-area players are invited to the game, including Perspectives’ Anthony Davis (verbally committed to Kentucky), Morgan Park’s Wayne Blackshear (verbally committed to Louisville) and possibly the aforementioned Mycheal Henry.

CHICAGO PICKED TO HOST 2011 MCDONALD’S ALL-AMERICAN GAMES

CHICAGO TO HOST MCDONALD’S GAME

Michigan State Guard Korey Lucious Charged with Drunken Driving

Michigan State junior guard Korey Lucious was charged with OWI (Operating While Intoxicated) last Monday. Lucious was a key contributor for the Spartans during their run to the 2010 Final Four, hitting a game-winning shot against Maryland and stepping into the starting lineup after star guard Kalin Lucas suffered a season-ending injury.

MICHIGAN STATE STAR FACING DRUNKEN DRIVING CHARGE

Here are a couple of stories on college basketball schedules that mention the Fighting Illini.

DUKE GETS THE BEST OF THE TRIANGLE’S NON-CONFERENCE HOOPS GAMES

ILLINI IS HIGHLIGHT OF WMU HOOPS SCHEDULE

Addressing the Anthony Davis Controversy

The insufferable Gregg Doyell of CBSSportsline.com appeared on a Kentucky radio show last week, saying that Illinois head coach Bruce Weber was the source of recent allegations in the Chicago Sun-Times that the recruitment of the aforementioned Anthony Davis was up for sale. Doyell went on to call Weber a dork, which begs the question of whether a man who is in 40s and wears a haircut like this (see bottom picture) should be talking.

GREGG DOYEL: BRUCE WEBER BEHIND ANTHONY DAVIS STORY

GREG DOYELL ON JOHN CALIPARI AND THE ANTHONY DAVIS ACCUSATIONS

Let’s call this for what this is: Doyell has had a problem with Illinois ever since this piece in 2007. And the fact that he refers to Kentucky head coach John Calipari as “Cal” in the above interview shows how much – make that little – credibility he has.

→  ATTENTION ILLINOIS MESSAGE BOARDERS – YOUR ENTIRE PROGRAM STINKS

Alright.

Later this week, Writing Illini will conclude its Illinois Basketball Summer School series on D.J. Richardson and begin to work on Brandon Paul.

Until then.

Topics: Anthony Davis, Assembly Hall, Bill Cole, Brandon Paul, Bruce Weber, Crandall Head, D.J. Richardson, Darrell McKinney, Dee Brown, Demetri McCamey, Doug Gottlieb, Illini Basketball, Illinois Basketball, Jeff Jordan, Jeffrey Jordan, Jereme Richmond, Korey Lucious, Laurence Bowers, Marcus Jordan, Mark Cuban, McDonald's All-American Game, Meyers Leonard, Mike Davis, Mike Tisdale, Mychael Henry, Mycheal Henry, Nnanna Egwu, U-of-I Basketball, University Of Illinois, Wayne Blackshear

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