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.
#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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
ILLINI BASKETBALL RECRUITING NEWS
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.
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.
#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.
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.
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.
Here are a couple of stories on college basketball schedules that mention the Fighting Illini.
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.
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.
Later this week, Writing Illini will conclude its Illinois Basketball Summer School series on D.J. Richardson and begin to work on Brandon Paul.
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