Illini Wonk
Thursday, November 10, 2005
  Will we ever tire of hearing about last season?
I don't think we will. I mean, before the 2004-2005 Illinois basketball season, I (and I'm not the only one) frequently mentioned the 1989 Flyin' Illini. I suspect we'll be talking about Deron, Dee, Luther, Roger and James for quite a long time.

Maybe that's why I enjoyed Brett Dawson's Tales from the 2004-05 Fighting Illini so much. I just can't get enough. Dawson starts his story in a locker room following the 2004 loss to Duke in the NCAA Tournament Sweet 16. He goes on to chronicle the 171 day season that saw the Illini spend months ranked #1, win the Big Ten regular season and tournament, tie an NCAA record with 37 wins and play in the championship game.

The book includes all of the on-court-highlights you don't want to forget. The rout of Wake Forest in Champaign...Jack Ingram's three-point barrage at Wisconsin...Dee Brown's one minute mauling of Michigan with three steals converted into seven points...Nick Smith's three-pointer to bury the Hawkeyes in Iowa City...The Shot...Roger Powell Jr.'s follow-up dunk against Louisville in the national semifinal...The Illini's comeback against North Carolina that fell just short.

But Dawson also gives you the peak behind the scenes that only a beat reporter for the Champaign News-Gazette could get...You'll learn...who's the best at NBA Live 2004...How Bruce Weber deals with the media...What an Illinois practice or pregrame or postgame is like...How the Orange Krush got into so many road games...The origins of "We Do this" and the jersey tug.

There's an entire chapter devoted to the "Three Amigos" and just reading about the Arizona game gave me goosebumps again. There were a couple of statistics I felt compelled to mention.

Number of mentions for 2
Number of mentions for Illini Wonk: 0

Illini Wonk doesn't feel too bad, though. The only blog Dawson mentioned was his own. Maybe in the next book he writes?

Anyway Illini fans, if you never tire of hearing about last season (and who doesn't) pick up this book and relive the highlights. Besides, we have an Amazon poll to influence. When I published this post, Dawson's sales rank was #87,871 and Blue Blood : Duke-Carolina: Inside the Most Storied Rivalry in College Hoops (with a foreword by Dick Vitale) was ranked #2,005. We need to buy a few of Dawson's and even this thing out. You're not going to let the ACC beat us again...are you?

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