Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Bruce's Boys

The men's basketball season is just underway, and the Illini are off to a 2-0 start. But with the "new attitude" that Bruce is trying to instill, we no longer see names on the backs of the Illini jerseys. We still have a lot to learn about this team.

So just who are the 2008-2009 Fighting Illini? First, the starters:
1 - Trent Meacham, redshirt senior. A local guy who went to Dayton before transferring home to Illinois, Trent is a shooter. He is off to a solid start so far,but as the competition gets more serious, Trent will need to find his shot under pressure.

3 - Chester Frazier, senior. Yes, this is Chester's last season. At point guard over the last couple years, Chester has tried to duplicate the energy of Dee Brown, and while he's not quite there, you can appreciate his effort. He has a tendancy to get out of control, but he can rebound better than most guards and aggressively go to the basket.

24 - Mike Davis, sophomore. In this young season, Mike has earned a starting spot over Calvin Brock. His athleticism was on full display against Texas A&M-CC, with 20 points and 14 rebounds.

32 - Demetri McCamey, sophomore. Last year he showed what he was capable of when he scored 31 points against Indiana. Let's hope he develops into a consistent threat this season.

54 - Mike Tisdale, sophomore. The tall, lanky center from small-town Illinois has a bit more meat on his bones this year, which he will need once the conference season starts.

Then there are guys we expect to see quite a bit of over the course of the season:
13 - Jeff Jordan, sophomore. Jeff walked on to the team last year, and was rumored to be the most athletic guy on the team. The thing is, when he's on the court, the camera usually spends equal time on his dad, if he happens to be in the stands. And though the stats may not match, there may be a bit of a family resemblence...

23 - Dominique Keller, junior. A juco transfer, Dominique came to help the Illini build their strength under the basket. He was ranked #18 among junior college players by, and fans can look forward to seeing what he can do in D-1.

25 - Calvin Brock, redshirt senior. Calvin has experience and potential that should make him a key contributor in his final season. He has been inconsistent, which may be part of the reason he's coming off the bench right now, but he is fun to watch when he's on.

50 - Richard Semrau, redshirt sophomore. Injuries and health have been major issues for Richard thus far in his Illini career, but he will be expected to back up Tisdale this year.

And perhaps the most anticipated player of the year:
33 - Alex Legion, sophomore. Alex started his college career at Kentucky, but after one semester with former Illini assistant and current Wildcat head coach Billy Gillespie, Alex transfered to Illinois. The Detroit native is known as a shooter -- something the Illini desperately need -- and he will be eligible to play in mid-December, after sitting out the required year after transferring.

It's still quite early in the season, and this team has quite a bit of youth, but Bruce Weber teams can easily play above their potential. That sure would be nice to see this season.

Go Illini!


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