Tuesday, April 12, 2005

Moving On

I think I am going through withdrawal now that the basketball season is over. It was truly an amazing experience to be at the Final Four to watch the semi-finals and final. I am not going to lie to you. The end result on Monday hurt--a lot. It was certainly black Tuesday for me on the 6th. However, I don't think it was just the loss that got to me. I think it was the fact that we have to say good-bye to a team that I absolutely loved watching and writing about. I know some of the guys will be back and there will be other teams we enjoy in the future but I think this was probably my favorite team ever, of any sport, of college or professional. Even more of my favorite than the great Bulls teams of the 90's, and for me that is saying a lot.

I know it has been more than a week since I last posted but that time has provided me with some perspective. While the end result on Monday was certainly not what I or any Illini fan was hoping for, I am very proud of our team. I know there have been a lot of "what ifs" mentioned out there but we cannot change the outcome so instead let's celebrate what the 2004-2005 Fighting Illini accomplished.

In my opinion, this was the best Illinois basketball team ever. I know some people out there may disagree and it is difficult at best to compare different eras but it is hard to argue with the numbers and end results. The team tied the NCAA record for most victories in a season finishing with a 37-2 record. They made it to the Championship game fo the NCAA tournament and were so close to pulling off the victory. No other team in Illinois history has accomplished that. Beyond the numbers, they simply played as a team and were fun and entertaining to watch. I loved the 1989 team, but I believe this 100th Year Illinois basketball team was the best and my favorite.

With basketball season over, the Chief and I will still be publishing here on Illinitalk. We will focus on recruiting, what happens with Illini players in the NBA draft, football, and possibly other Illini sports and happenings. We may not publish as often as we did during the basketball season but please check back because we aren't going anywhere. We will still be blogging and, of course, getting ready for the 2005-2006 basketball season.

In closing, let me finish with a few brief comments. First, congratulations to Coach Weber and the entire Illinois basketball team for having such a wonderful season and givng us something that will be remembered forever. As Coach said, it certainly was special. Second, we wish the seniors--Luther, Roger, Jack, Nick, and Fred--the best of luck and thank them for all of their contributions to Illini basketball and to the University. As for Deron and Dee--ONE MORE YEAR, ONE MORE YEAR! In all seriousness, we would love to have them both come back but should one or both of them decide to move on to pursue their dream of playing in the NBA, we certainly do wish them luck. We know all of the members of this year's team who move on will represent the University well wherever their future endeavors take them. Besh wishes and may God bless.

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