Thursday, May 26, 2005

Football Recruiting

Ron Zook came to Illinois with a reputation as a great recruiter. He is on the verge of proving that it is a well-deserved reputation. Nothing is a done deal yet but he has Illinois in the running for what are considered 3 of the top 5 recruits in Illinois. If he pulls this off, it will be a huge boost to the Fighting Illini football program. For details, see this Tribune article.


Wednesday, May 18, 2005


Great post by Tupper on his blog today regarding Jon Scheyer. You can get there from our main page or by clicking here. As you will probably guess from my earlier posts, Illinitalk is in complete agreement with Tupper on this one.

Okay, that is it--I am done writing about Jon Scheyer (and all of you should be done talking about him). It is over and time to move on to bigger and better things.


Rick Morrisey does it again

In reading all of the coverage this morning on Jon Scheyer's decision to attend Duke, I found that no article or column tops this gem from Rick Morrissey. Perspective people, perspective. We have said it on this blog before and we will continue to say it. I think Morrissey gets it and so yet another shout out to him.

For those of you who are looking for other coverage on Scheyer's decision you can check out the following:

Tribune coverage

Sun-Times coverage

Rick Telander Column

Daily Herald Coverage

I don't think there is much more I can say that isn't covered in one of the articles or columns above but here are a few closing thoughts. I think the important thing to remember is that this kid has wanted to go to Duke ever since he was a little kid so this was a big mountain to climb from the beginning. Illinois made it very close. It is okay to be disappointed that we lost out on a very good in-state player but there are other good ones out there that Illinois is still recruiting and that could be great for the program.

Keep in mind that Coach Weber has only been at Illinois for two years. Recruiting is all about relationships and those take time to build. If we are having this same discussion two years from now, then maybe there is cause for concern. However, I don't think we will be. We have already landed one top recruit and I truly believe that after the season the Illini had and the style of play Coach teaches, we will land more. I like Coach Weber and I believe he can recruit. Perhaps more importantly, he can develop players and he can coach. Give him some time and I think Illini fans will be well rewarded.

Go Illini!


Tuesday, May 17, 2005

News-Gazette: Scheyer to Duke

The Champaign-Urbana News-Gazette is reporting that Jon Scheyer will attend Duke.

This hasn't exactly been a good week for journalistic integrity so we just hope the News-Gazette verified its source and isn't pulling a "Newsweek" on us so we can move on.


Scheyer to announce his decision today

Jon Scheyer will hold a 4:00 p.m. press conference today to announce whether he will be attending Illinois or Duke. Prior to that, he will be calling Coach Weber and Coach K. this morning to inform them of his choice/decision. The Tribune seems to have the best article about Scheyer and the recruiting process so you can read their story here. I am also providing a link to the Daily Herald article since they feel more strongly that Scheyer is headed to Duke. I don't like it but it is newsworthy so I am providing the link.

Illinois or Duke? We get the answer to that question today. I sincerely hope that we will here him say Illinois but the popular opinion is that it will be Duke. I think the most important thing as Illini fans is that no matter what the decision is, we must keep it in perspective. If he chooses Illinois, that is great. He will be a great piece of the puzzle as we try to build a program that consistently competes for a championship. If he chooses Duke, there are other great recruits that Coach Weber is pursuing and we can turn our attention to them. One more thing--I know some people may believe that this should be a slam dunk for Illinois since Coach Weber's brother is Scheyer's high school coach. However, don't forget that Chris Collins also went to Glenbrook North and he is the person recruiting Scheyer for them. Both schools have a so called "inside track" no matter which place he chooses, someone is going to be disappointed. Well find out today and keep you posted.

In other news...

Very brief mention of Deron Williams in this Sam Smith column (look under the sub-section called layups).

Illinois Football and Men's Basketball now have a new radio home in Chicago. Broadcasts for these two sports are moving from WSCR-AM 670 (the Score) to WIND-AM 560. Click here for more details.


Friday, May 06, 2005

Dee Planning to Declare for the Draft (but don't worry too much)

According to several reliable sources, Dee Brown is planning to declare for the draft but not hire an agent. I know that this is the same route Deron Williams took before he proceeded to hire an agent, but this is a different situation. Don't look for Dee to do the same thing as Deron. Coach Weber and others (and of course Dee) view this as a way for him to test the waters, go to some pre-draft camps, and get a better feel of what NBA teams think of him.

At the moment, he is viewed as a likely second round pick, which would not give him a guaranteed contract. By going to the pre-draft camps, it is possible he could raise his stock, but more likely he will learn what NBA teams would like him to improve upon. He can then come back to Illinois for his senior season with that in mind and work to prove he is worthy of a first round pick in next year's draft.

Needless to say, if Dee were to declare for the draft, it would be a huge loss for the Illini. While it will be difficult for next year's team to match what was accomplished this year, Illinois will be a much better team with Dee than without him. In addition to what he brings on the court, Dee has truly become the face of Illini basketball and having him around for another year should be nothing but positive for the fans, the media, and hopefully recruiting.

Illinitalk fully expects Dee to be back next year. While we wish him luck at the pre-draft camps, we are also a little selfish in that we want him back for another year at Illinois. In the long run, we think it is probably in his best interest as well--it is much better to be a first round pick than a second round. Reportedly, Dee is still 99% sure he will return to Illinois for his senior season. Let's hope that is true and that we can all enjoy having a great college player around for another season. Go Illini!

P.S. On a purely personal note, the Illinette turned 2 months old this week and went to the doctor for a checkup and her first round of immunizations. She now weighs 14 lbs. and is 24.5 inches long! I am such a proud papa!


Monday, May 02, 2005

Weber Rips One Away From Matta

So much has been made lately among the Illini faithful of Thad Matta's recruiting class at tOSU, while dissing Bruce Weber. Frankly, the handwringing among the Illini "faithful" has been slightly tiresome. Bruce Weber proved that to be true once again (this guy is gonna make a career out of showing up his naysayers).

The Illini got a verbal committment from Richard Semrau this weekend. In case no one noticed Semrau is a top-ranked recruit who hails from Buckeye country. You can read more about it here.

Sarcasm Alert
Apparently, Semrau was also considering Wake Forest, North Carolina, Kentucky and Florida. It really stinks to be recruiting against these bottom-feeders of college basketball. It's even worse to take a top-ranked recruit from Thad Matta's state.


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