Illini Wonk
Friday, February 18, 2005
  Word of the day: Unselfish
In Illini news, the word of the day is unselfish. Here's a few examples:

Bowling Together

Apparently in stark contrast to the theory of Robert Putnam, Sports Illustrated finds that the Illinois basketball teammates like to bowl together. The SI article, titled No room for 'I', celebrates the fact that the Illini do everything as a team, both on and off the court (and employs almost every other play-as-a-team-cliche out there). The quote from Weber is: "We don't have THE star...We have balance, we have unselfishness, and that makes us more of a team."

Brown? He's Unselfish

In the Chicago Tribune, columnist Rick Morrissey writes: If anything is certain besides death and taxes and the survival of Dick Vitale's vocal cords even in the event of a catastrophic nuclear attack, it's this: Illinois isn't going to have a letdown. Further on in the article, he writes: A letdown? It's not going to happen. Illinois is good enough to win the national championship, which doesn't mean a whole lot until the Illini do it. But it does mean that there's nothing fluky about them. And it certainly doesn't hurt that their path to an NCAA title could be local, from Indianapolis to Rosemont to St. Louis.

Why are they not going to have a let down? Could it be...unselfishness? Here's what SI sees: Most of all, you see unselfishness. Two things about Dee Brown illustrate that. He thinks so highly of teammate Deron Williams that he sometimes wears a Williams jersey around campus. My favorite point guard, Brown says of Williams. And knowing it bothered Luther Head to be the first starter to come out of every game for a rest, Brown suggested to coach Bruce Weber that he take a seat first. How many college kids with an eye on an NBA career do things like that? Just about none. You're lucky if you can find a high school kid that team-oriented. Meanwhile, in Chapel Hill, N.C., people still wonder whether North Carolina has gotten over last season's selfish ways. Tar Heels coach Roy Williams sometimes is one of those doing the wondering.

Williams? He's unselfish

In a profile by Steve Batterson in the Quad-City Times, Deron Williams says “There isn’t a guy who wants to be a superstar on this team. We all want to be one part of the total package, and I think that’s one reason we are so unselfish. It doesn’t matter to any of us who scores the points, as long as we score enough as a team to win the game.”

Powell? He's Unselfish

In a recent story from Marlen Garcia in the Chicago Tribune, Roger Powell Jr. was asked if he was worried about his mini-slump that he broke out of last night against Penn State. Powell's response: "If you're not scoring but you're playing defense and getting people open and your team is winning, you have to be happy with that," he said. "If you're mad, that would be kind of selfish."

Yeah, but what do the Badgers think?

After the Illini beat the Wisconsin Badgers for the second time this season, Alando Tucker told Jim Paul of the Associated Press (story here) "None of them are selfish. They all share the ball," said Tucker, who led the Badgers with 24 points. "They don't care about who scores. That's something you look for in a great team."

Weber? Not so unselfish

From the Fort Wayne News-Sentinel: Purdue coach Gene Keady got a call from Illinois coach Bruce Weber earlier this week about what gift the retiring Keady wanted. The top-ranked Illini will honor Keady before their March 3 game in Champaign, Ill. “He asked me what I wanted for a present and I said I wanted a W,” Keady said. “He said he couldn’t do that. People are so selfish that way.”

Well, not even a perfect team can be perfect.
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