Illini Basketball Adds Wing Mark Alstork; Rayvonte Rice Comparisons Apt

mark-alstork

Maybe Illini basketball will play four guards/wings this season instead of just three?

Illinois made another “splash hire” today with the addition of Wright State graduate transfer Mark Alstork. The 6-foot-5 wing/two guard/off the ball guard averaged 19 points, 4.7 rebounds and 3.5 assists last year. He also knocked down 39% of his 3-point attempts.

Here’s a neat little video of his decision:

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Three Illini Football Players Arrested on Armed Robbery Charges Get Kicked Off the Team

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Last year’s Illini football team was quite bad, and early projections and prognostications don’t see the team getting much better in 2017. At least the 2016 unit was a good group of guys off-the-field. Early on at least, we cannot say the same for the 2017 edition; at least not on this day in the preseason.

Three Illini football players, Darta Lee, Zarrian Holcombe and Howard Watkins, were arrested on charges of home invasion and armed robbery, we learned on May 9th.

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Purdue Basketball at Marquette the Gavitt Games Headliner? Maybe Wisconsin-Xavier?

vince edwards purdue basketball

Purdue basketball returns to the Bradley Center, the site which witnessed the Boilermakers clinching a Sweet 16 berth, this past March. Purdue will face Marquette in the Gavitt Tipoff Games, otherwise known as FOX Sports’ answer to ESPN’s B1G/ACC Challenge. The schools sent out the Gavitt Games info just now, although it’s somewhat moot today, given how the schools handed over the news to a TV network four days ago.

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DePaul vs Illini Basketball is Officially Finally Happening Again This Season

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The DePaul Blue Demons have not played Illini basketball since 1957. It’s safe to say that the two schools don’t really like each other a whole lot. Well, detente is here because the two programs will face off this season in the Gavitt Tipoff Games, otherwise known as FOX Sports’ answer to ESPN’s B1G/ACC Challenge. Illini basketball will host the Blue Demons Friday November 17th in Champaign.

The schools sent out the Gavitt Games info just now, although it’s somewhat moot today, given how the schools handed over the news to a TV network four days ago.

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Illini Basketball Lose Jeremiah Tilmon to Mizzou: Bad News and Good News

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Now Illini basketball FINALLY has closure on the Jeremiah Tilmon recruitment, and as Tom Petty once famously told us “the waiting is the hardest part.” Like a member of the opposite sex who isn’t actually interested in you but gives you a lot of attention, and their phone number, Tilmon vacillated on Illinois.

Three times he wavered on his commitment to Illini basketball, and as F. Scott Fitzgerald famously said “action is character.”

Illini basketball and Jeremiah Tilmon was just simply not a match that was meant to be, as the East Saint Louis big man will now take his talents to Mizzou.

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NBA Mock Draft Second Round 5/16/17

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Here is The Sports Bank’s 2017 NBA Mock Draft.  Outstanding trades have not been taken into account with the second round. Also, if you’re into NBA Draft Lottery conspiracy theories, you’ll want to read the feature piece linked here.

(Updated: 5/15/17)

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Mike Tirico to Host Inaugural Illini Athletics Hall of Fame Gala

mike tirico

It was just announced minutes ago that NBC Sports personality Mike Tirico will host the inaugural University of Illinois Athletics Hall of Fame Gala. The event, honoring the first ever Illini sports Hall of Fame class, will be held in Stanley Hall at the Field Museum of Natural History (1400 South Lake Shore Drive, Chicago) with a cocktail reception at 6:30 p.m. followed by the dinner and program at 7:30 p.m (tickets are $250).

It is black tie optional. Many of the big names being enshrined in the 2017 Illini Hall of Fame class are expected to be in attendance, but it is not known at this time which specific former athletes will be there and which ones will not be.

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Jacksonville Jaguars Add More Illini Flavor by Drafting Dawuane Smoot

dawuane smoot

In the Jacksonville Jaguars organization, the man at the very top is an Illini grad.

As of Friday night, so is the newest member of the club- Defensive end Dawuane Smoot.

The 6-3, 264-pound tackles-for-losses machine was selected with the fourth pick in the third round of the 2017 NFL Draft in Philadelphia. Smoot was selected by the Jacksonville Jaguars with the 68th overall pick.

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Mark Smith a Huge Get for Illini Basketball, but Who Will Play Up Front?

mark smith

Last night, Mark Smith officially became the first state of Illinois prep Mr. Basketball to join Illini basketball since 2010 (Jereme Richmond). Let’s hope for the sake of everyone involved that Smith’s career, and life after college basketball, works out better than Richmond’s did.

Mark Smith is a four-star prospect is now ranked No. 52 by Rivals, No. 74 by 247 Sports Composite and No. 76 by Scout in the top 100 for the Class of 2017. He’s a 6-4 guard from Edwardsville who recorded a career-high 45 points in a sectional final win over Ottawa on March 10.

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2017 NFL Mock Draft 4-27-17 FINAL Edition

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Time for another 2017 NFL mock draft update….and we’ve already updated our 2018 NFL mock draft twice!

The Sports Bank is the only independently owned, mom and pop on the internet with a mock draft for the top four American professional sports leagues. Be sure to check out our 2017 NBA mock draft, (NBA round two), 2017 MLB mock draft and 2017 NHL mock draft coming soon.

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Illini Football: Is Carroll Phillips a 3-4 OLB or 4-3 Will in the NFL?

carroll phillips

Illinois football had a very rough season in 2016, but that doesn’t mean they won’t have a strong presence in the 2017 NFL Draft.

Two Illini defensive ends, Dawuane Smoot and Carroll Phillips, will certainly hear their name called in this draft, it’s just a question of where. Illinois finished 105th in the nation (out of 128 teams) in rushing defense and that of course raises some issues about the run stuffing capabilities of all members of the Illini defense.

On the opposite of the spectrum, Illinois finished tenth in the nation in tackles for a loss. 

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Illini Basketball Hires Assistant with Strong, Crucial AAU and Chicago Ties

illini basketball state farm center

In life, who you know is infinitely more important than what you know and this old adage certainly reigns supreme in the recruiting world.

That old maxim is certainly a macro level theme of the John Calipari 30 for 30 “One and Not Done,” which premieres tomorrow night (review at this link, exclusive with the director at this link, preview info and trailer at this link), but another more micro level lesson in the documentary certainly applies to the Illini basketball news that was announced today.

The lesson being, assistant college basketball coaches are judged primarily by what they can do on the recruiting trail.

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