Illini Wonk
Saturday, October 28, 2006
  Illinois Basketball Recruiting is bad for Wonk's Heart
Wonk can't take this anymore. By "this" Wonk is referring to the last 12 months of Illini basketball recruiting. First it was Sherron Collins spurning the Illini for Kansas. That was followed by Eric Gordon committing to the Illini, taking us all on a roller-coaster and then picking the Hooisers.

And now, Derrick Rose. Why mention Rose? Didn't he rule out the Illini in August? Yes. Sort of. The Illini weren't on the August list...but they are on the November list. Rose put Illinois back on a list of three that includes the Memphis Tigers and the Indiana Hooisers. He even took an official visit, coming to the Orange & Blue Scrimmage last night with his brother and Simeon guard Deon Butler and was joined by Simeon coaches Fred McClinton and Marcus Alderson. For some photos, go here.

The Illini poured it on. Get the full story from Clyde Travis in the Sun-Times. Apparently, Rose will announce his decision one week from today at a press conference in Burbank.

Okay, bloggers, IB posters, conspiracy theorists, et. al. What can these latest developments possibly mean? Why the Orange shirt? The orange & blue shoes? Why visit Champaign if you've already made up your mind and plan to announce in one week? Where's the Prozac?

As Mark Tupper eloquently blogged: I’m sure most Illini fans will be afraid to climb back on this roller coaster when they haven’t stopped vomiting from the up-and-down ride on the last one piloted by Eric Gordon.

Tupper (wisely) advises that no one get their hopes up, believing this could just be a ploy to make Memphis jealous. Comments from Rose's high school coach make the visit sound like a courtesy. Illinois Prep-Bullseye says the about face borders on "shocking" and insists that it was NOT a publicity stunt and that the trip to Champaign [was] a lot more than just a mere courtesy visit.

What do you think?
Thursday, October 26, 2006
  The "Freak" Midnight Madness Dunk
It's possible you'd heard of Brian "The Freak" Randle's dunk over Stephen Bardo during Illini Madness. One beat reporter even called it the highlight of the night. In case you've only heard of it, I thought you might like to see it:

Wednesday, October 25, 2006
  Rich McBride to Miss Four Games

It's a mystery no longer. The University of Illinois suspended Senior Illini Guard Rich McBride for the preseason and the first four games of the regular season. Coach Weber, who had plenty of time to think about his statement, had this to say:

"We are disappointed in Rich's decision making," Illini coach Bruce Weber said. "But most importantly, it's important that we help Rich. This has been a difficult but valuable life lesson for Rich, as well as his teammates. Hopefully it will be a lesson for many others as well. Rich is on track to graduate following the completion of an internship next summer, which is very important to him and his family."

Mark Tupper blogs that his biggest penalties are yet to come in the form of taunts from opposing fans. Wonk says this is Big Ten basketball. If you can't handle a little razzing from the fans, try the Mid-Continent or some other conference where they don't have fans.

So, what do you think about the punishment? Too harsh? Just right? Too lenient? Be sure to voice your opinion here and in the poll at the top of the right-hand column of Illini Wonk.
Thursday, October 19, 2006
  Will Carlwell help the Illini forget about you-know-who?
In today's Chicago Daily Herald, Lindsey Willhite offers some advice to Illini fans: Stop obsessing over Eric Gordon’s decision to attend Indiana and start obsessing over 6-foot-11 freshman center Brian Carlwell. Wonk couldn't agree more. The only other time I want to talk about Gordon is the reception he's going to get from the Orange Krush during his first visit to Assembly Hall.

Here are some quotes from Willhite's article. First about getting in shape:

...during Illinois’ six-week conditioning program that preceded the start
of practice, Carlwell shed 15 pounds.

Carlwell's length:

Carlwell is so long, he owns a 9-foot-2 standing reach. Yao Ming’s reach is
just five inches more.

That should lead to a few blocked shots, eh? Could Deon Thomas' career record of 177 be in jeapordy? Willhite's commentary:

If I didn’t know better, I’d guess Bill Russell is Carlwell’s grandfather
or great uncle or somewhere else on his family tree.

Bill Russell? Didn't he win two NCAA championships? Nothing like setting the expectations on the high side. Bruce Weber:

“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

Not the most eloquent quote to come out of Weber's mouth, but I think he means that in a good way. Could Brian Carlwell help Illinois fans forget about the one who got away? Only time will tell.
Sunday, October 15, 2006
  Bye Bye Eric
Well according to all the signs that were out there this past summer, it was bound to happen.

Highly touted SG Eric Gordon will announce that he is now going to play for Indiana.
It seems the only ones who have been in denial over this whole episode are the Illini Faithful.

Mark Tupper gives us his views on his weblog:

Gary Parrish of CBS wades in on the issue of whether or not it was ethical for new I U head coach Kelvin Sampson to woo Gordon after Eric had verbaly committed to IL

All in all it will probably move Eric into the same stratus as former Iowa recruiter and assistant coach Bruce Pearl who upset so many Illinois fans when he tried to muddy the waters after Deon Thomas decided to play for the U of I.

About the only good that could come out of this is if Derrick Rose, who is a PG not a SG, suddenly feels that he will not have to share the limelight and commits to IL.
Thursday, October 12, 2006
  Let the Illini Madness Begin!
That's enough pig's time for round ball! Tomorrow night, the Illinois Fighting Illini Men's Basketball Team will tip-off the year by hosting Illini Madness on Friday night at the Assembly Hall. Head Coach Bruce Weber has been looking forward to it for many months. For those of us outside Champaign, we will be able to watch the festivities at the official site.

Neil Milbert at the Chicago Tribune wonders what this year's team will look like without Brown and Augustine. Illini Wonk will take it one step further and ask how the team will do having lost four NBA draft picks and a CBA All-Star over the past two seasons? According to the Daily Illini, there are no shortage of players ready to make an impact.

For those who attend, leave your comments below...
Thursday, October 05, 2006
  Rich McBride: Du-oh!
Do you think Rich McBride would like a "do-over" right about now? Definitely not the way you want to start your senior year. What do you think this will do to McBride's season? The Illini?
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