Thursday, March 03, 2005

Gracias Seniors

Tonight is Senior Night at the Assembly Hall as the Illini take on the Purdue Boilermakers in their final home game of the season. It could also be the last time Bruce Weber coaches against Gene Keady on the opposite sideline. (Unless Keady pulls a Tom Davis and gets a position at a school like East Southeast Central Missouri State Tech and Illinois schedules them in the future.)

In any case, the pro writers have a number of articles today on the Illini seniors here, here and here.

Here are our thoughts on each senior player:

Luther Head: Most improved player by far on this team. We always knew he had it in him if he could focus. He's got mad hops and can shoot the lights out. We will miss seeing him running around with his shirt untucked...we've always wondered if that drives the coaching staff crazy. Our guess is his crisp passing and high scoring takes the minds of the coaching staff off his mild wardrobe malfunctions.

Roger Powell: His commitment to core spiritual beliefs translates to commitment to being better on the court...this is apparent when he is undersized on the defensive end yet still produces an outstanding game. We will miss the Rev.

Nick Smith: Chainsaw. A reporter's dream. Like Weber, pretty much says what's on his mind and plays with his emotions on his sleeve. We hear he's smart. Hope he uses it to make some dough when he graduates because also hear he needs a car with more leg room.

Jack Ingram: Stuck with us when his coach didn't. That's commitment...and smarts, which we hear translates to the classroom and an electrical engineering major. Has stepped it up huge in his senior season and become vital off the bench. Scrappy like Lucas Johnson. Who will ever forget his two 3-pointers at Wisconsin?

Fred Nkemdi: If you don't know his story, be sure to read the stories above. Here is an excerpt from the Daily Herald:

"Probably one of my best memories was the day I made the team," Nkemdi said. "Like three days after the tryouts, they gave me the call. I didn't think they were going to call me. When they called me, it was just the greatest feeling."

Nkemdi, who plans to attend law school next year, insists his greatest moment remains the first time he donned his Illinois jersey.

Thank you Fred! Gracias seniors!

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