It’s Sunday Morning, and here’s some news you may have missed around the Illini basketball team and college basketball in the last week, including Jerrance Howard no longer considering UIC; Jay Price, Brandon Paul and Tyler Griffey taking a European vacation; Brian Cook talking Mike Tisdale; Mike Shaw visiting the UI campus; and the parents of highly-regarded Chicago prospect Anthony Davis suing the Chicago Sun-Times for a controversial story claiming that his recruitment was for sale.
Sophomore D.J. Richardson surprisingly has been a bit lost in the shuffle this summer amidst the news of Demetri McCamey and Mike Davis declaring for the drat and returning to school, Mike Tisdale playing with the Team USA Select Team, and a much-heralded freshman class arriving in Champaign. CentralIllinoisProud.com provided an update on Richardson’s summer.
Richardson’s fellow sophomores Brandon Paul and Tyler Griffey will headline 10 college basketball players who will play for the Global Sports Academy in an August 12-20th tour of Europe. Illinois assistant coach Jay Price will coach the team, which will play three games in Belgium and two in Germany. Here are some related stories.
Speaking of Griffey, Suburban Journals featured a solid profile story on his freshman season at the UI and his summer progress.
Former Illini star Brian Cook recently signed a two-year deal with the Los Angeles Clippers. The News Gazette’s Paul Klee featured Cook last week in an interesting story about his basketball career, from his time in Champaign to his seasons spent with the Los Angeles Lakers.
Cook also told Klee that he believes Tisdale will be the key player for Illinois this season.
The pairing for the 2K Sports Classic Benefiting Coaches vs. Cancer were set on Thursday, with Illinois drawing Texas on November 18th at the world-famous Madison Square Garden. On November 19th, Illinois will face either Pittsburgh or Maryland.
The Illini are certainly getting pumped up for a tough non-conference schedule and a loaded Big Ten, thanks to strength and conditioning coach Jimmy Price.
Apparently, Dick Vitale likes Illinois’ chances in 2010-2011, while Dime Magazine lists the Illini as 1 of 5 teams with something to prove.
Illini head coach Bruce Weber apparently is quite the speech giver, firing up the Illini team when talking to them about its potential next season. Griffey and Davis were certainly impressed, at least according to their Twitter accounts. From @tylergriffey and @illiniballa24, respectively:
Coach Weber gave us shirts that had the #Houson2011 final four logo on the front. Like Inception, watch us turn this dream to a reality!
Today coach gave us a one of the best speeches and just showed us how much confidence he had in us!. I’m ready for the season now!! #Hou2011
Illinois assistant Jerrance Howard seemed like a great candidate for the open UIC job before announcing that he’s not going anywhere, which is spectacular news to Illini fans who follow the program’s recruiting religiously.
Retiring UIC head coach Jimmy Collins is forever appreciated by Illinois fans for helping put together the Flyin’ Illini team of the late 80s. The News Gazette recently took a trip down memory lane when Collins was hired by the Flames prior to the 1996-1997 season.
Former Illini assistant and interim DePaul head coach Tracy Webster is back in the Big Ten (well, not yet), as an assistant at Nebraska.
Indianapolis power forward Brandon Dawson verbally committed to Michigan State last week, which certainly was as blow for Purdue but hopefully will mean good things for Illinois’ recruitment of Chicago De La Salle senior Mike Shaw, who was on the UI campus Wednesday. Shaw has been recruited heavily by Illinois, Michigan State and DePaul, with an announcement on his college intentions seemingly soon.
Rock Island’s Chasson Randle and Iowa’s Josh Oglesby are two other Class of 2011 Illini recruiting targets that Illinois fans are closely watching. While Randle wasn’t on the campus visit with Shaw, Orr’s Mycheal Henry and Whitney Young freshman Paul White, he is expected to visit the UI later in the fall. Randle has Illinois, Purdue and Stanford in his final 3 schools. As for Cedar Rapids’ Oglesby, he cut his list down to 4 schools, with Illinois included among Iowa, Minnesota and Arizona State.
I’d be remiss not to talk about Chicago Perspectives’ Anthony Davis, a power forward who has come out of nowhere to be ranked one of the top high school seniors in the country. While Illinois is no longer in the running for Davis, a Chicago Sun-Times story and several other outlets this week indicated that Davis was heading to Kentucky. Davis has said that he knows where he is going, but hasn’t made his decision known yet. The Davis recruitment hardly ends there. The original Sun-Times piece mentioned rumors that Davis’ recruitment was available to the highest bidder, a claim that the University of Kentucky did not take kindly too. Here is the whole controversy, which has gotten to the point where Davis’ parents are suing the Sun-Times and its reporter Michael O’Brien.
It will be interesting to see where this controversial story turns next.
With that said, have a great weekend.