Thursday, October 19, 2006

Brian Carlwell

There has been a lot of talk as to whether one of Illinois' two freshman, Brian Carlwell and Richard Semaru, should redshirt this year in order to preserve some eligibility while working on developing their skills. Part of the argument for this is that Illinois has Pruitt, Arnold, Jackson, and Carter (and you could probably include Randle since he sometimes plays the 4 position) returning and there are only so many playing minutes to go around.

Most people believe that if one of the two freshman is to redshirt, it will be Carlwell due to Semaru's ability to step out and hit the outside shot. At this point, I can't tell you whether it would be in the best interest of Carlwell or Semaru to redshirt or even if it would be in the best interest of the team. But I can tell you that for anyone who is just assuming that Carlwell will redshirt this year, you may want to reconsider those thoughts after reading today's Daily Herald article from Lindsey Willhite on why Carlwell should be the talk of Illini fans. If you don't have time to read it, here is what stands out to me:

“Brian Carlwell down the road — and I’m not sure if it’s going to be this year, one year, two years — he could be somebody that I’m not sure anyone in my memory of Illini basketball has been like that,” Weber said. “Because of his athleticism.”


There’s one other thing about Carlwell that Illinois fans will grow to love immediately, if not sooner. Like fellow Proviso East alum Dee Brown, Carlwell just has that certain aura about him. It’s hard to catch him in a moment where he’s not smiling, laughing or making others laugh. “Always,” Carlwell said. “That’s just the way I am.”


Tuesday, October 17, 2006

Kelvin Sampson Says He's Not Interested in Players Who Have Committed Elsewhere

Read this story in the Louisville Courier-Journal today by Rick Bozich. Pay close attention to this quote:

Sampson cannot discuss recruits, but he did tell me yesterday he is not interested in players who have committed elsewhere. "That's not what we're about," he said.

Excuse me? And the reporter (who is supposed to be impartial) doesn't press Sampson on this?

I would have at least like to have known if Sampson was able to say that with a straight face.

Put aside the Eric Gordon situation for a minute and check out the following two links and tell me Sampson is not interested in players who have already committed to other schools:

CBS Sportsline:

Also, Gordon isn't the only Big Ten commitment Sampson is recruiting. He's also trying to convince Iowa recruit Beas Hamga, a 7-0 Cameroon native with Bloomington, Ind., ties, to consider the Hoosiers. Sampson's no saint.


As for rumors that Walter Offutt could still change his mind and sign with another team, he laid those to rest. A recent report said new Indiana coach Kelvin Sampson was working Offutt to stay in state but the guard said that's not going to happen. He even is skipping an upcoming AAU event on the IU campus to show his devotion"The (unwritten) rule is that once you commit to a school no one else is supposed to recruit you but everyone knows it doesn't work that way," said Offutt


Friday, October 13, 2006

Positive News

Eric Gordon is gone. If Bruce Weber is smart, he will hold another funeral at the beginning of Midnight Madness tonight...this time for Illini Nation. It worked for the players when Bill Self left. It can work again for the fans.

So what next?

Michael O'Brien of the Chicago Sun-Times is first out of the gate with the scoop (and some positive news) on what the coaching staff may be thinking. Losing Gordon is rough but Weber is not dumb. He had a contingency plan in place all along.


Wednesday, October 11, 2006

Reason #2 Why Eric Gordon Will Love Playing at Illinois

Dear Eric Gordon,

We realize that although you gave Coach Weber (who runs a guard-oriented motion offense) a verbal commitment to play basketball at the University of Illinois, you have decided to check out Indiana since they have a new coach (who runs a stagnant ball-control offense that focuses on big men).

Ok. We don’t like that but we’ll accept it.

That said, you obviously still need help making your decision to keep your commitment to Illinois. We think we can help.

We assume that anyone with your God-given basketball ability wants to play in the NBA. We don’t blame you.

So it only makes sense that you choose to play for the team and coach who will prepare you to fulfill your NBA dreams, right?

Well, for evidence that Bruce Weber is better than that guy Indiana hired at developing NBA talent, all you have to do is attend the NBA game in your hometown of Indianapolis this weekend.

You see, three-fifths of the starters (Deron Williams, Dee Brown and Roger Powell) on Illinois’ team that made it to the National Championship game (the same team that only lost two games the entire season) will be playing for the Utah Jazz against the Pacers Saturday at Conseco Fieldhouse.

This is your chance to get a firsthand look at the talent Bruce Weber puts in the NBA. By the way, the other two starters on that team-Luther Head and James Augustine-play for the Houston Rockets and Orlando Magic.

So, as you’re sitting in Conseco, think about how good the Illinois alumni look in NBA jerseys and remember who got ‘em there. And don’t forget to also think about how many guys that new coach at Indiana has put in the NBA too.

The choice is simple: If you want to be featured on Sportscenter and have people make movies about you like the one below, stay with Illinois. If not, go to Indiana.

It’s that simple.


Friday, October 06, 2006

Illinois has Juice

It's amazing what one game will do. All of a sudden Juice Williams is the man.

ESPN is up with a story on the Illini Freshman Phenom QB here.

This was my favorite part of the story:

The 6-foot-2, 220-pound Williams is out of the Vince Young/Troy Smith mold -- a mobile athlete who can turn trouble into triumph in the blink of an eye.

All looked lost when he dropped a shotgun snap at Michigan State, but instead Williams kept his eyes downfield as he reached for the ball, then found it and lofted a 69-yard touchdown pass to Jacob Willis.

(AP Photo/Al Goldis)

Williams has already thrown three touchdown passes of 65 yards or longer, the most by any quarterback in school history.

Yes, more than Jeff George, Jack Trudeau, Tony Eason, Dave Wilson or Kurt Kittner.

When was the last time we got a positive article about our football program????

The Chicago Tribune profiles Juice and IU QB Kellen Lewis today as well.

Finally, I enjoyed ESPN's Bottom 10 this week too. Illinois is not even on the waiting list and check out No. 5...especially the logo (hint: it has to do with the famous fine-inducing flag plant).


Thursday, October 05, 2006

The Flag Plant

Illinois and Michigan State were fined yesterday following the flag-planting scandal that is illustrated very well above. In case you hadn't heard, llinois was a huge underdog and went into Spartan Stadium Saturday and pulled off a gigantic upset on MSU's homecoming.

Our players got revenge for MSU running up the score during last year's game in Champaign and decided to punctuate it by planting the orange and blue in the middle of the field. As you can see from the video, Michigan State's players didn't like that too much.

Too bad. They should have won the game if they didn't want us planting our flag in the middle of their field.

By the way, what does the Big Ten do with all that money we pay them in fines?


Tuesday, October 03, 2006

Welcome Paul Klee: New News-Gazette Illini Basketball Beat Writer

The News-Gazette has a new beat writer covering Illini hoops. His name is Paul Klee. All two of you Swiss art buffs out there who happen to follow Illini basketball, don't get too excited. It's not this Paul Klee.

No, this guy covered SIU hoops before coming here. He replaces Brett Dawson, who left the News-Gazette to fulfill his lifelong dream of covering the inferior Kentucky Wildcats for the Louisville Courier-Journal.

You can read Klee's first two blog entries here and here. (Some good stuff about Dee, Deron and Roger in the latter.)

Welcome to the world of Illini hoops (and now football) Paul!

And while you're at it, can you see what you can do about getting the higher-ups at the News-Gazette to allow free access to the sports section of their website? Just about every other paper in the world has free access...


Can We Please Hear Some Good News?

Yesterday I hit my limit for bad news. It wasn't quite as bad as 9-11-01 but it stunk.

Here is why:

Reason #1

Reason #2

Reason #3


Sunday, October 01, 2006

Hey! We've Got the Same Conference Record as Iowa, Wisconsin and Penn State!

The Illini won their first Big Ten football game in a long time yesterday (since 2004).

How sweet it was. We got revenge for Michigan State running up the score on us at Memorial Stadium last year (61-14).

Just how did we go about getting revenge? We won this year in East Lansing. According the Chicago Tribune: "a stunned homecoming crowd of 71,268."

In fact, our guys caused quite a scuffle at midfield after they tried to plant the Illini flag in that big ugly "S." But they were just getting revenge apparently for MSU's actions last year at Memorial Stadium.

MUST SEE: Check out the locker room celebration here: (don't worry, it's not X-rated). A few things to note: Brasic could be whining in the corner, instead he's the head cheerleader. Also, the players know the words to "Illinois Loyalty!" Way cool!

Mark Tupper now wonders: "How many can they win?"

There's no doubt in my mind Juice Williams could be the next Dee Brown. The sky is the limit for this football program. But for now let's focus on winning the next two guys: Indiana (with Eric Gordon in attendance) and Ohio.

By the way, who knew Jerry Glanville was the defensive coordinator for the University of Hawaii football team?


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