Monday, July 24, 2006

EJ and Rose

For those of you looking for some news on Eric Gordon and Derrick Rose, here is a quick update.

For those of you have been following the recruitment of EJ and suffering from some recent angst, hopefully today's article in the Chicago Sun-Times will ease any concerns you may still have. The most important thing to come out of the article is this: "I am going to be going to Illinois," Gordon said, as he reaffirmed his commitment on Sunday. "I thought about Indiana for a minute, but I am staying with Illinois."

As for Rose, where he ends up is still to be determined. Here is what EJ had to say about the possibility: "I'd like to keep playing with Derrick, but that is his decision."

There are some positive signs for the Illini. Gordon and Rose are currently playing together in the Big Time Tournament in Las Vegas and continue to play extremely well with one another. Their performance on the court in this tournament as well as in last week's certainly has to make Rose think about how much fun and success they could have playing together at Illinois.

In the past, Rose and his brother, Reggie (who is handling Derrick's recruitment), have stated that they want to announce a decision by the end of August and/or before school starts. Hopefully, that is still the case. To my knowledge, Illinois is the only campus Rose has been to at this point. I think Illinois fans have a lot of reasons to be optimistic, especially after the events of the past two weeks. You can never predict how these things will play out, but right now I think Illinois is in about as good of position as they can be in. Until then, let's keep cheering for EJ and Derrick to have continued success playing together and let's hope they decide to team up for the orange and blue.


Friday, July 21, 2006


It's Friday and the football and basketball teams aren't playing so we thought we'd have a little fun and cover some topics that aren't necessarily related to our beloved Illini but are very interesting nonetheless.

First, check out this link on Deadspin about ESPN's very own Screamin' A. Smith and his attempt to submarine Cubs manager Dusty Baker on his show. The Tribune even picked up the story.

Major props to Deadspin for getting Cub blogs Goat Riders of the Apocalypse, Bleed Cubbie Blue and View From The Bleachers some major pub! case you are lacking some serious motivation today, check out this link (Dilbert would be proud). We highly recommend taking a look at the demotivation posters and giving them as gifts to your co-workers. And if you can get away with watching them on the job, their videos are awesome too.


Tuesday, July 18, 2006

Tupper gets hitched

The Illini sports scribe hasn't been around for a while. Now we know why.

Tupps, if you want to send us a photo of you and your new bride, we'd be happy to post it here!


Sunday, July 16, 2006

Derrick Rose Profile

Excellent article in the Chicago Tribune today that gives a profile of Derrick Rose and includes comments from him. I really enjoyed this article and hope you do as well. Sometimes we get so caught up in recruiting and wanting players to come to Illinois, that it is easy to forget that these guys are just high school kids and are trying to survive being teenagers!

There is nothing new in the article in terms of where Derrick may choose to attend college (assuming he goes to college) but I think the article is encouraging from the aspect that it sounds like he will be the one to make the final decision. He also said he could make his decision at any time--it just depends when he feels like it. He seems like a good young man and I hope we see him in Orange and Blue. Based on how he and Eric Gordon played together at the Peach Jam this weekend, it would be an amazing year or two for Illini fans if they end up playing together in Champaign. I am glad Coach Weber was there for the tournament and that he was one of the few coaches to stick around for the championship game as well.


Saturday, July 15, 2006

The Utah Fighting Illini

Check out the Utah Jazz website this morning and click on "Jazz win." Perhaps if the NCAA forces Illinois to get rid of the Chief, he can dance at halftime of Jazz home games.


Thursday, July 13, 2006


"What is left when honor is lost?"
—Publilius Syrus, First Century BC, Maxim 265

Back between my freshman and sophomore years of college, I had the opportunity to attend and participate in a session of The LeaderShape Institute. LeaderShape's vision is to "improve society by inspiring, developing, and supporting more people committed to lead with integrity."

The program focuses primarily on young men and women but I think it would be well worth the money if Indiana University were to choose to cover the tuition cost to send their new head basketball coach, Kelvin Sampson, to one of LeaderShape's weeklong seminars. Based on recent events surrounding Illinois recruit, Eric Gordon, and the points raised by the Chicago Tribune in this article and this article, I think it could be extremely beneficial to Coach Sampson. Of course, Indiana could save that money if Coach Sampson would learn to follow the examples of the coaches you are about to see quoted in part two below. These quotes are regarding the coaches' views on whether or not coaches should continue to recurit athletes who have already made a verbal commitment to another school.

Here is one perspective:

Kelvin Sampson, Indiana: Sampson can accept phone calls from recruits but he is banned from recruiting off-campus and making calls because of NCAA sanctions from his tenure at Oklahoma. He declined a request to explain his philosophy on recruiting prospects who have committed to other schools.

Dan Monson, Minnesota: "They're 16, 17 years old," Monson said of recruits. "The process is a lot of times recruiting the parents as well as the student-athlete. In my instance I did it, I felt justified. Am I proud I did it? No. Do I want to ever do it again? No. But to say it doesn't happen or never would happen again isn't reality."

Mike Brey, Notre Dame: "Kids are pulling the trigger too quickly," Brey said. "I personally think tampering is at a minimum and you see much more knee-jerk reactions because the kids are in the middle of a firestorm. By the time we get to make our phone call, they're worn out from everything else."

Here is the other (right) perspective:

Bruce Weber, Illinois: But too often he sees other staffs simply being relentless in their pursuit after the fact. "It can become a disaster. You would hope a friendship with a coach, or being in the same league or a rivalry would be a factor in preventing some people from recruiting kids who have committed. But I guess some people were raised differently."

Jimmy Collins, Illinois-Chicago: "It's scandalous and unethical, but there's not a lot you can do about it. It happens a lot. The other schools should back off, but it's such a back-stabbing, shark-eating profession that I know they don't."

Jerry Wainwright, DePaul: "I'm old school and if indeed our profession wants credibility, if some other coach gets a commitment from a kid, you give credit to those people and move on because there has to be ethics. Continuing to recruit a kid is something we never do." He also added that he would like to see prospects sign national letters of intent at the time they make a decision. But he would regret "having to legislate integrity."

Mick Cronin, Cincinnati: Cronin said he wouldn't get involved unless the player told the other coaching staff first. "We elect to take the oral commitments, it's part of what we do," Cronin said. "It's never going to be an exact science. But it's a problem--you promise a spot to a guy and you stop recruiting other people."

Tom Izzo, Michigan State: No direct quote from Izzo but Izzo called Weber over the 4th of July weekend to empathize after he heard through the coaching grapevine what was happening with Gordon. The problem has ripped apart enough recruiting classes that Weber said the Big Ten coaches discussed possible solutions at their most recent meeting.

Well, there you have it. Recruiting is a difficult part of the business that is high level college basketball. It could be less difficult and remove a lot of the sleaziness, however, if all coaches could learn to exhibit the ethics and integrity of guys like Collins, Izzo, Wainwright, Weber, and Cronin. So what do you say Coach Sampson (and Monson and--to a lesser extent--Brey)? Should I get you an application for the LeaderShape Institute? I promise I will put in a good word for you to let them know that you badly need the lessons they teach. Drop me an email at Illinitalk and let me know.

Until later, GO ILLINI!!!


Monday, July 10, 2006

If you don't read anything else today... sure to read this.

More on the Gordon recruiting saga later.


Monday, July 03, 2006

Deron, Dee and now the Rev: Utah Illini?

Rumor has it former Illini forward Roger Powell signed a contract to play ball for the Jazz this summer in the Rocky Mountain Revue.

Former Illini guards Dee Brown and Deron Williams will also be playing...for the Jazz.

Suppose the Jazz like what they see and add Powell and Brown to their rosters. I would be hard-pressed to root for any other NBA team.

For more information on the Rocky Mountain Revue, including tickets, click here.

By the way, hats off to Deadspin for pre Fourth of July tribute.


Sunday, July 02, 2006

Demetri McCamey, Eric Gordon and Derrick Rose

Here is the status of Illinois recruiting: Highly sought after, consensus top 100, if not top 50, 6'3" 190 lb. point guard Demetri McCamey committed to Illinois Friday. Brett Dawson broke the story and put Illini fans' minds at ease over the future of the point guard position at Illinois.

Many compare McCamey to Deron Williams . If this is true, many fans will be happy and so will Eric Gordon. The Illini's prize recruit out of Indianapolis (what used to be only Hoosier recruiting territory) can rest assured he will have someone to dish him the ball and set him up as he showcases he phenominal skills.

All this has not stopped Eric Gordon from still going after DerrickRose. Check out this Indy Star article today to see Illini Recruiter-in-Chief Eric Gordon's strategy to get Mr. Rose to come to Illinois. All I have to say in response is Bruce Weber=coaching AND recruiting genius and Hoosier fans better look out as the Illini have invaded their state.

Finally, Mark Tupper has a nice column today about the latest state of play in Illini hoops recruiting.

All this is very good news for the future of Illinois basketball.


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