Illini Wonk
Thursday, April 13, 2006
Hello Illini sports fans. I have accepted Illini Wonks offer to post here from time to time.
(By the way rumor has it that he and his wife have recently had their 3rd child. I want to wish the whole family congratulations.)

I am no expert on Illini basketball. I do have a love for the game and the team.
Recently I asked Wonk what his opinion was on the 2006-07 season. He suggested that I ask you, the fans, myself so here I am. Since this is my 1st time please be gentle with me. ;)

There are a lot of questions about next year's team. Here is my version of the top 10 list. In no particular order:

1. Who will be the starters?
2. What does the depth chart look like to you?
3. Will Semau be red shirted?
4. Is Hicks still a walk on or is he going to be on scholarship?
5. Do they need to add depth to the SF position?
6 How did the incoming Illini look to you this year?
7 Will Leon Freeman make the grades and make the team?
8. Who do they need most to step up and take a leadership position?
9. Should they leave the 13th scholarship position open in 2006-07 in hopes that they can land Eric Gordon?
10. What questions do you think need to be addressed?

1. I am not real sharp on some of these players so I may have made a few mistakes but from what I gather here is what the roster is next year.

G Min PointsRebdsAst
33 Rich McBride G 6-3 205 SR. 33 30.0 10.0 1.8 2.1
42 Brian Randle F 6-8 215 JR. 32 26.7 8.5 5.4 1.5
31 Jamar Smith G 6-3 175 SO. 32 19.2 8.0 1.7 1.3
55 Shaun Pruitt F-C 6-10 240 JR. 33 19.4 6.2 5.1 0.5
41 Warren Carter F 6-9 215 SR. 32 12.3 4.8 2.8 0.5
44 Marcus Arnold F 6-8 245 SR. 32 11.1 3.5 2.4 0.1
34 C.J. Jackson F 6-8 265 Fr. 1 1.0 2.0 0.0 0.0
25 Calvin Brock G 6-5 185 SO. 17 6.4 1.4 1.6 0.4
3 Chester Frazier G 6-2 190 SO. 27 13.4 1.3 1.7 1.9
2 Chris Hicks G 6-2 190 SO. 11 1.7 0.9 0.1 0.1
Brian Carlwell C 6-10/245 FR
Richard Semrau PF 6-9/210 FR
Trent Meacham G 6-2 190 So
(Bold are my guess as to the starters.)

2. My look at the depth chart:
SG Mc Bride/ Smith/ Brock
PG Frazier/ Meacham/ Hicks
SF Randle/ ???????
PF Carter/Arnold/ Jackson/ Semau
C Pruitt/ Carlwell
It sure looks like the team is a bit heavy in the center and power forward department and a bit thin in the small forward or shooting forward position.

3. I personally think someone is going to be red shirted next season as it is too hard to get all the players enough playing time and it isn't going to be Carlwell.
Arnold, Brock, Jackson, Meacham and Randle have already sat out for a year. Carter and Mc Bride are going to be Seniors. Pruitt and Frazier probable starters. Smith is still going to be filling Mc Bride's old position as the shooting guard off the bench. And then there is Hicks. There is no reason to red shirt a walk on.
So that would leave Carlwell or Semau and my vote goes to Semau at this time.

4. It seems to me that Hicks will remain a walk on player with the team.

5. They could use another SF but with Randle playing 30-35 min it isn't going to be critical. When he is out Weber can go small by bringing in Smith or he can put in a "Jumbo Package" by having an extra big man on the floor. Should Randle be injured they will have a bit of a problem.

6. I have not looked at the details very closely but I think both Carlwell and Semau had solid seasons this past year.

7. I would like to see Freeman on the team in the fall but I think he needs a year at a Jr College to help him get his grades up a bit.

8. It looks to me like Randle will be the key to the team next year. He was a co-captain on this year's squad and his defense was usually a major factor in the games that they won.

9. While it is tempting to hold the spot open for Gordon there are no guarantees that he will want to play for IL. If Freeman can step it up then I think they should take him. If not Weber should hold the position open for a solid player in 2007-08. He can't simply put a warm body into the slot just because it is empty. And he certainly can't run around acting like he NEEDS Gordon as that would send the wrong message to future prospects. I like Weber's attitude. He tells the kids that IL would like to have them play for the team but the team doesn't need them.
Well that is all for me. I would like to see your comments. Tell me where I made my mistakes. More than likely I will be able to take it.

Editor's note: Eric Gordon's name in this post is actually referring to Derrick Rose. Gordon is virtually a lock to be at Illinois in 2007. The recruiting battle for Rose is ongoing.
Wednesday, April 12, 2006
  Who will join Luther & Deron in the NBA?
Dee Brown and James Augustine have started focusing on the NBA. They both have agents and are working on different aspects of their game in preparation for the NBA draft. Dee is working on his outside shot and James is trying to bulk up and perfect his mid-range jumper. Both are hoping to Join Deron Williams and Luther Head in the big league. Stay tuned to Illini Wonk for a preview of their draft prospects.

Speaking of those two, dedicated reader Jake alerted us to a photo from Monday's game. Man, I'm going to miss these four recent Illinois basketball players.
Tuesday, April 04, 2006
  That was a Final Four?
I have one simple question for you. It can be answered by you with a "yes" or a "no." Here it is:

Was that the worst Final Four you've ever seen?

Maybe it even had something to do with this.
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