Sunday, December 31, 2006

Tupper Has the Rx...

...for what ails the Illini here.

Tribune's Bob Sakamoto has an interesting look back at high school sports in '06 here (numerous Illini references).


Saturday, December 30, 2006

Uncalled For

Click on this link and scroll down to the post by "benyboy." Absolutely stupid.
Note: visit Inside Illini's Game Thread Forum your own risk during a game (mostly the risk of lowering your own IQ.)


Do We Need Another Funeral?

Check out this quote at the end of this Lindsey Willhite story:

The night’s apparent theme? Some signals are getting crossed up between Weber and his players.

“I just think we’ve got to do what he says and be coachable,” Smith said. “He tells people every day what to do, and it seems like every day we fight him in practice …

“We’ll take two steps forward and then not listen to him and take three steps back.”

Remember when Weber took over for Self? The players wouldn't listen and Weber ended up having to hold a mock funeral to get them to pay attention. What's it gonna take this time?

This team isn't as talent-starved as some folks would have you believe. They need to buckle down and pay attention to coach. Sure, Weber does need to land some blue chippers if we're gonna make it back to the Final Four; but the players need to start paying attention if we're gonna start putting up respectable showings against teams like Xavier.


Make-Good Post on McCamey

We need something to hang our hat this morning so how about '07 Illini recruit Demetri McCamey's play of late. The Sun-Times' Michael O'Brien has good stuff here. (Tood bad we didn't get Turner.)


The Rusty Scupper

There is a restaurant in Chester Frazier's hometown of Baltimore called the Rusty Scupper. Hmmm...Rusty Scupper...kinda describes the team that had "Illinois" printed across their jerseys last night.

I think I woulda rather watched this than that game.


Friday, December 29, 2006


Thanks to everyone for their responses via e-mail and the comment section regarding our scouting report on Tisdale. It also led to some great discussion on the IB and Inside Illini here and here.

Tonight is Xavier. Tupper has the latest injury report here and Jim Rossow has the skinny on what's in today's News-Gazette sports page regarding the Illini here. Btw, Jim, how about lifting the online subscription fee for your paper? I think you're the only paper in America that still has such a thing.


Tuesday, December 26, 2006

The Mike Tisdale Scouting Report

Illinitalk took the opportunity to watch Mike Tisdale-I mean Riverton-play Lincolnwood tonight in the Carlinville Holiday Tourney.

My wife, brother-in-law and father-in-law are all alums of Lincolnwood so my family was doing its best to root against Tisdale, which was tough because he's heading to the U of I next year and we are all die-hard Illini fans.

Riverton won 61-54 and Tisdale scored 30 points. Lincolnwood didn't go down without a fight, though, leading through most of the first half before Riverton tightened up the defense on their guards and shut down the long ball. Anyway, here is my scouting report on Tisdale (with some help from my father-in-law and brother-in-law):

-Seems to have good court awareness. When the defense collapsed on him, he had the presence of mind to kick the ball back out to the perimeter for a wide-open shot by one of the Riverton guards.

-Seems to have very good footwork. He moved very well without the ball tonight, which will be key in Weber's motion offense.

-Very aggressive tonight. Wasn't afraid to take the ball to the rack and hammer it home (see photo above) with authority. Had some very nice dunks (where other guys just would have laid it in gently).

-Good stroke from short range. Has a nice touch on his floater (see photo above).

-Seemed to have a very good attitude (unlike some seven footers we've had).

-Obviously needs to put on meat. My father-in-law said he thinks Tisdale put on about 30 pounds of muscle since last season. I believe it after seeing photos of him last year. Still, he'll need to bulk up in a major way if he doesn't want to be pushed off the low block in the Big Ten. I'm sure he'll find this out very quickly when he's assigned to guard Pruitt or Carlwell in practice next year.

-Not quite as quick up and down the court as some other big men I've seen. Here again, Weber's conditioning program will be key.

-Seemed to struggle from the line tonight. My father-in-law pointed out he'd fit right in on this year's Illinois team (obviously we still have the end of the Mizzou game on our minds).

The wild card, as my brother-in-law pointed out, is that Tisdale hasn't really been tested against the size of guys he'll be going up against next year. I think the tallest player to guard him tonight from Lincolnwood was six foot, which makes it tough to get a good read on his potential.

His positives are definately good and the negatives that we saw can definately be improved (especially if his attitude is good). My best guess right now is he'll redshirt next season, bulk up, get a year of practice against Shaun Pruitt under his belt and come ready to contribute in two years. I can see him providing valuable minutes off the bench at that point and hopefully by his senior year he's going the Luther Head route for player development and not the Nick Smith route.


Saturday, December 23, 2006

My Jaw is on the Floor

Look at this and this.

Update: Inside Illini's Kedric Prince has more here.


Friday, December 22, 2006

A Win and More Injuries

The injuries to this team are maddening. Tupper has the latest in his blog in addition to where Bruce is on Christmas shopping and how he plans to spend the next few days.


Thursday, December 21, 2006

More on Football Recruiting

Good Tribune story on Martez Wilson here by Teddy Greenstein.

A few excerpts:

Wilson, the top-rated player in the state, chose Illinois over glossier programs such as Notre Dame, USC, Ohio State, Michigan and Miami.


Wilson, a 6-foot-4-inch, 235-pounder whom ranks as the nation's No. 2 defensive end, covers 40 yards in about 4.5 seconds. He's a a two-way threat at receiver/defensive end and the top player in Illinois. He picked the Illini over suitors like Michigan, Ohio State and Notre Dame.


Recruiting analysts say that if Illinois earns commitments from Wilson and from Bloomington Central Catholic's Josh Brent, a 6-3, 280-pound defensive tackle, head coach Ron Zook, whose team has won two games each of the last two seasons, and the school could be on its way to a top-20 recruiting class.


"Illinois is the recruiting story of the year," recruiting analyst Allen Wallace said. "It's remarkable and it shows what a tremendous recruiter Zook is. It's insanely difficult to recruit elite talent to a program that has that kind of record. It can be done, but kids have to feel very strongly that the coach is not selling them a bill of goods.

"He's not going after 'sleeper' guys. These are guys who are being recruited by schools that normally make BCS games. Usually that holds a lot of cachet with superior recruits."


U-G-L-Y Win

71-60 over Idaho State. Serious Braggin' Rights hangover for the Illini tonight.


The Broadcast Crew

I'm listening to the Idaho State game on what I'm pretty sure is the Illini Sports Network. In addition to Jerry Hester (who has improved greatly on the air, btw) is Lou Henson. It's great to hear Lou's voice and analysis. He'll always be a beloved part of Illini hoops. Just wish he could have gotten that title with the Flyin' Illini.

As for the game, it's a little too close for comfort. We were up only two coming out of the half. Typical let-down game after a big win just two nights ago.


Martez Wilson to Illinois

Yet another gold-plated recruit for Ron Zook. When we are competing against schools like THE Ohio State University, Notre Dame, USC, Miami and Michigan and winning, it's a good sign for the football program.


Idaho State

They are not to be overlooked, especially with the current injury bug. For those wondering who in the world they even are, click here. They are located in Pocatello, Idaho, (I've never been there but I'd bet it's beautiful) and their mascot is the Bengal. I couldn't find any message boards...


Wednesday, December 20, 2006

Two More Things About Last Night...

1. Steve Bardo did the color commentary on ESPN. For being a former Illini, he came across as very fair in his analysis, giving both teams props. Btw, be sure to check out Bardo's website here. And...he even has his own blog here.

2. For those who were at the game, does anyone know who won the cheerleading contest? This may seem like a small thing but our cheerleaders are serious athletes and don't get many chances to compete against other schools. The Braggin' Rights game gives them that opportunity.

For those who don't know, every year during a time-out or halftime, each guy cheerleader from each school holds up one of the gals high in the air (I'm not sure what the pose is called). The last one left standing wins. Usually the crowd goes wild and as each duo drops out the intensity picks up as those who drop out crowd around the duos who are left, cheering them on.

So...anyone know who won?


Good Morning

It's a good morning. We needed the win last night against a quality non-conference opponent.

Here's a list of 151 articles to choose from about the game.

Of note to Illinitalk last night:

-Chester played very well. Still room for improvement but the soph did great against the press. It didn't bother Illinois very much, if at all.

-We continue to be amazed at how well-coached this team is. (That was part of the reason for beating the press.)

-Shaun Pruitt reminds me of Sheldon Williams.

-Warren Carter better not be hurt bad. I've never seen a team get this banged up.


-Jamar for three. Enough said.

Btw, Sun-Times covers the Zooker's plunder here.


Tuesday, December 19, 2006

Protection for Juice

I know it's almost time for Braggin' Rights to start but I just had to post this from the football front: more good news for the Zooker. When we're beating out other Big Ten teams as well as traditional powers like Nebraska for players, it's a good thing.

Plus, the O line needs improvement so Juice is running all over the field by choice and not because he has to avoid being swallowed up by some linebacker. Welcome Jack Cornell!


Border State Showdown

Tonight will be the first time in several years that I won't be viewing the Braggin' Rights game live but I will be there in spirit. Last year Chief and Skinny Sweet Cheeks joined Oskee Mom Mom and me for this game and, while we were hoping to make it a yearly tradition, circumstances didn't make it possible this year. However, we will all be in front of our respective TV's and we hope each of you are too. Braggin' Rights--Illinois has had them for six years running. Will the trend continue? Tune in tonight when Illinois and Mizzou tip off at 8 p.m. CST on ESPN. Don't Miss It!!!

Preview from the Chicago Tribune

Preview from the Chicago Sun-Times

Preview from the Daily Herald


Monday, December 18, 2006

Legislative Hearing in Champaign (The Chief Issue)

We mentioned a while back that Congressman Tim Johnson and Speaker Dennis Hastert had introduced a bill in Congress (HR 5289) known as "The Protection of University Governance Act of 2006." The bill was introduced in response to the NCAA's intrusion on the local autonomy of its member institutions (specifically, the bill was at least partially triggered by the NCAA's ruling on the Chief and symbols of other universities).

While the bill did not pass in the 109th Congress and will have to be re-introduced in January, Congressman Johnson led a field hearing on the issue in Champaign this past Friday. The News-Gazette provides a summary of the hearing, who testified, and what was said. We will continue to keep you posted on this situation as events warrant.


Belmont and Mizzou Part 2

Illinois won the Belmont on Sunday. Oh wait, I am sorry they won AGAINST Belmont. I know, I know--give the Belmont Bruins a little respect. But hey, it's Monday and I am a little wound up. More coverage can be found here and here for those of you who are interested.

Next up is the annual Braggin' Rights game against Mizzou on Tuesday. Illinois has dominated this matchup in recent years but Missouri has a new coach and an improved team. It may be a tougher game but I am looking for another Illini victory.


Sunday, December 17, 2006

Belmont and Mizzou

Good to see Good Hope Orange is back from an awful head cold.

We haven't even gotten past Belmont yet and people are already writing about Mizzou.



The question is: Will Lickliter stay?


NBA: Land of Spoiled Brats and Stupid Behavior

I refuse to watch the NBA for this reason:


Saturday, December 16, 2006

Maybe Chief has a point...

For those of you who read Chief's earlier post asking if perhaps Tom Lemming might be a little biased against the Illini, here is more food for thought. Most of the things I have read by Lemming seem to be good overall and I have typically been okay with his positions. However, between his quote in the article Chief pointed out and the insinuation in the quote below, it makes you wonder...

CSTV recruiting analyst Tom Lemming says rival coaches have "taken notice of the aggressiveness of Illinois' coaches. They're starting to wonder: With Illinois' [won-lost] record, how are they doing it? Zook has put together an outstanding recruiting staff, but in my 26 years I haven't seen a staff do this well without doing well on the field."

Here is the article about Zook's recruiting that the quote is taken from.

On the flip side, you have to love this information from Tim O'Halloran of recruiting analyst Tim O'Halloran says Illini freshman Chris James, a receiver from Morgan Park, has been influential in attracting fellow Chicagoans. "There definitely seems to be a groundswell of Public League kids wanting to go to Illinois together and make something happen," he says. "I can imagine some of the other schools aren't real happy."



This story in the Tribune provides continuing coverage of questions about whether providing a list of media contacts to a recruit's coach in preparation for an upcoming announcement by said recruit is an NCAA violation. I don't think there is anything to be overly concerned about in this case but when it comes to the Illini, never underestimate the potential pettiness and potential vindictiveness of the NCAA.


Who is Belmont Anyway?

Illinois' opponent tomorrow should not be taken lightly. They played Arkansas-Little Rock tough a couple days ago and made the Big Dance last year. Seems like a nice school...located in Nashville, TN.

Hopefully this will be a good game to get the finals week rust off before Braggin' Rights.


Friday, December 15, 2006

Kelvin Sampson's at it Again

Check this story from the Indy Star over the weekend:

Despite getting feelers from new Indiana University coach Kelvin Sampson, Warren Central junior Walter Offutt said he isn't going to waver from his oral commitment to Ohio State.

Then check this quote from this story (posted one month earlier):

“Think about a kid that’s committed to another school – we don’t do that,” Sampson said. “Coaches don’t recruit kids that are committed to other schools…I think this situation was certainly unique and I hope it doesn't happen again."



Tom Lemming

Either the guy isn't into details or he's biased against the Illini.

I'm referring to this quote in this story:

''Illinois just came in and took him away,'' Chicago-based recruiting analyst Tom Lemming said. ''Everybody does it, but if the people who were complaining from Illinois are truthful when it happened with Eric Gordon, then they should probably give [McCray] back to Florida.''

Comparing the McCray recruitment to the Eric Gordon recruitment would be fair...if McCray had not decommitted.

Except that's what he did. Gordon did not.

Therefore Lemming's quote is comparing apples and orange. The only question I have is: did he do it on purpose or it he just ignorant?

And by the way, why didn't Herb Gould, Steve Tucker or one of the sports editors at the Sun-Times point that out in the story? It's a fact and that's what reporting is supposed to be. More bad sports journalism, my friends...


Demetri McCamey in the Blogosphere

This kid is a stud.

Nice plug for our boy Jereme who we mentioned earlier today:

Jereme Richmond is one of the best in the class of 2010, which includes my little brother, DeAndre. I've seen him play a lot, and I'm glad he will be joining the Illini family because he is a good player. He's also very cool and a good person to be around. I think this will help Illinois out a lot because they haven't landed the No. 1 prospect in Illinois in a while, although they always get good recruits.


Jereme Richmond

This guy is a stud. I can't believe it took this long for someone to write something this comprehensive (although I would have liked even more about his background, this is a good start).


Thursday, December 14, 2006

D'Angelo McCray to Illinois

This recruiting class is gonna be sick.


Ron Zook Gets Credit Where Credit is Due

Sun-Times gives him a nice plug today for recruiting Florida's players. Urban Meyer has a classy quote in here too and Zook shows some media savvy by taking the high road at the end. Can't wait to see what he brings to Illinois.


Some More Blog Insight

Someone posted this on the IB. Illinitalk has a soft spot in its heart for Illini bloggers.


Wednesday, December 13, 2006

In the Immortal Words of Dick Enberg: "Oh my!"

Did this animal have to pass through security?


The Domers Are in a Bad Mood...With Good Reason

Our football team has been so bad for so long that I haven't paid much mind to the folks who root for that team from South Bend. Until now.

Our possible haul of recruits on the gridiron has our Irish friends fuming. Top that off with this little tidbit I found in ESPN's preview of their bowl game against LSU:

Notre Dame beat one ranked opponent this season (Penn State) and hasn't won a bowl game since beating Texas A&M 24-21 in the 1994 Cotton Bowl. The Irish have lost eight bowl games since then, including a 34-20 loss to Ohio State in last season's Fiesta Bowl.

Yikes! That's a serious drought. And it has the potential to get longer. As Illini fans well know, the New Orleans Superdome is not the easiest place to try and beat LSU on New Year's Day.


Tuesday, December 12, 2006

Freshman Year Nightmare

What a crummy way to start your college basketball career. Semrau will be back though. They said he was a beast in Ohio in his high school days.



Merry Christmas early, Illini fans.

Update: Here is my favorite graph from this story:

Wilson, a 6-4, 232-pound defensive end/wide receiver, is rated as the No. 15 player in the nation. He canceled a trip to Ohio State last weekend to visit Illinois and also canceled a home visit with Notre Dame coach Charlie Weis on Monday and a trip to Michigan next weekend.


Someone Get Weber Tylenol PM

He's losing sleep over the team.


Monday, December 11, 2006

Brumby Goes Native

The world of Illini fans was altered in a major way this morning...some might even argue the apocalypse is upon us.

John Brumbaugh broke from the Scout network because he was tired of reading about what food Eric Gordon ate everytime he sat down to dinner. He's got Illiniboard back on its own (old format and all). The Scout site looks the same. Kinda similar to the way it was three years or so ago.

The more things change...


Sunday, December 10, 2006

Dee and Deron Talk About Gordon

Their comments are priceless. Read on recruits.


Bruce Pearl

He was pathetic when he cheated for Iowa and he's pathetic now.


UIC Game Wrap

Tribune has it here. Randle at full strength is very good news. He came off the bench and had nine points and nine rebounds in just 16 minutes.


The Onion on the BCS

Can't believe I didn't catch this earlier. It's hilarious...with a nice dig at Notre Dame to boot.


Saturday, December 09, 2006

Who Scheduled These Guys Anyway?

Bruce Weber after the UIC game: “If we win, it’s a relief,” Weber said. “If we lose, it’s a crisis.”

Second that emotion. Can we please lose Bradley and UIC from our schedule and play someone decent at the United Center? Thank goodness next year it's 'Zona. (Can we keep the refs in solitary before that game so they can't hear anything coming from Lute's mouth?)

In any case, got the win today and Randle looked good. Tupper has the wrap here.


Randle's Got Game

And he'll show us today.....our guess is for about ten minutes. It's gonna take a while for the team to gel now that everyone is back (except for Semrau). But having everyone healthy is a good sign. Now just hope no one else gets hurt!


Friday, December 08, 2006

Shunned: Alabama Football

This is what happens when you fire a guy like Mike Shula who I think won something like 10 games last year. Serves the Tide right.

By the way, some editor at the Sun-Times jumped the gun a little.


McCamey Blogs

This is pretty cool. Shout-out to the Sun-Times for posting a blog entry from the next Deron Williams.


Thursday, December 07, 2006

Can Zook Get Some Credit if Florida Wins?

Gotta love ESPN's Bottom 10. They do have an interesting stat though: Zook recruited 20 of Florida's current players to Gainesville. (He's pulling in the recruits to Champaign too--me thinks we will be bowl-eligible in '08, if not before.)


Weber Earns #200

My guess is there will be 200 more at least. Sun-Times has the story here.

Jamar going 5 for 5 from beyond the arc is a nice way for him to return.

And, per this graph:

But the Illini, who are glad to have a good health-care plan, aren't out of the infirmary yet.

Does the U of I athletic department have a health plan that pays the bill for these injuries? I've always wondered that.


Wednesday, December 06, 2006

Football Recruiting

Illinois is knocking on the door to the Rivals Top 25. Can Zook recruit for the basketball program too?


The Injury List

This story is a preview for tonight's game but it reads more like a "New England Journal of Medicine Special on Sports Medicine Injuries."


Deron Williams

The dude is a stud. Check out this feature in today's USA Today. You don't get this kind of love in a national paper unless you're turning some heads.

P.S. I believe Weber coached him or something.

Here are the two best excerpts:

Williams broke into the starting lineup nine games into the season but lost the job before Christmas after butting heads with Sloan.

"I thought he wasn't working as hard as he should have been," Sloan says.
Even today, Williams doesn't buy into that. "I've always worked hard," he says.

He called his former coach, Illinois' Bruce Weber, looking for direction.

"He was mad at Coach Sloan, and Coach Sloan is hard on rookies," Weber says. "After he did all his crying and whining, I said, 'You're not going to win. Jerry Sloan is the Jazz. He's a Hall of Famer, so you better figure it out.' "


Williams is a ferocious competitor. Ask Jazz rookie Dee Brown, who played with him at Illinois. The two compete at everything — Monopoly, video games, pingpong. "He's been dominating at pingpong," Brown says. "He's raised his game."


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