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


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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Illini Basketball Community Shouldn’t Worry About New Assistant Orlando Antigua


(UPDATE: Illini basketball announces two more additions to Brad Underwood’s staff, including one with impressive Chicago recruiting chops, as he’s the former head coach of AAU powerhouse Mac Irvin Fire)

We often fear what we don’t know, as knowledge is the opposite of fear.

Quite often attack mode is the primary instinct we take in response to what we do not know and hence don’t understand. The backlash against the hiring of new Illini basketball assistant Orlando Antigua fits this motif as those bashing him, don’t even know him.

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Illini Basketball Recruiting Gets Huge Boost By Adding John Calipari’s Right Hand Man


Wednesday was a massive news day for Illini basketball as it saw the program landing Orlando Antigua, John Caliparis former right hand man, as an assistant coach. It also saw the top rated recruit in their incoming freshman class, Jeremiah Tilmon, de-commit, just two days after he overtly posted a message of commitment to the program on social media.

Additionally, less than 24 hours before both of these events it was learned that former Illini coach John Groce had landed his next job, at Akron. While Tilmon may still end up at Illinois when all is said and done, it appears highly unlikely that will be the case.

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Jeremiah Tilmon and a Brief History of Illini Basketball Five Star Recruiting Drama


You’re in. You’re out.

You’re in. You’re out.

You’re in. You’re out.

That’s a brief, but extremely accurate synopsis of Illini basketball recruiting five star prospects this past decade. Jeremiah Tilmon, who Scout ranks as the #18 overall player in the nation, just yesterday re-tweeted his original tweet committing his future to Illini basketball. That’s a very teachable moment, as it strongly reminds us never to read too much into Tweets.

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Ex-Illini Coach John Groce Heading Back to the MAC

john-groce illini basketball

Move over Mark Morrison because it’s Return of the MAC, or at least return to the MAC for former Illini basketball coach John Groce. The former Illinois head man, who was dismissed two days after the Illini were eliminated from the B1G Tournament is returning to the Mid American Conference, and the same exact state, but this time with a different school.

According to Jeff Goodman, who works for a NCAA basketball broadcast rights holder, John Groce will be the next head coach at Akron. Groce came to Illinois from Ohio, where he went 34-30 in MAC play.

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Michael Porter Jr., Nation’s Top Recruit, Talks Illini Rivalry, Braggin’ Rights Game

michael porter jr

Michael Porter Jr. is so much more than just the 2017 edition of basketball’s “next big thing.” He’s helping to revive a moribund college basketball rivalry, and breathe new life into a once proud but currently abysmal program. The Gatorade Player of the Year and Naismith Preps Award winner is also dating a famous actress, Madison Pettis, with over 1.5 million followers on Twitter.

Porter was also the main attraction at McDonald’s All-American Game Media Day, with the media swarms around him much larger than those surrounding all the other blue-chippers.

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NBA Mock Draft Second Round 3/25/17

nba draft logo

Here is The Sports Bank’s 2017 NBA Mock Draft.  Outstanding trades have not been taken into account with the second round.

(Updated: 3/23/17)

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2017-18 Illini Basketball Very Early Season Preview

illini basketball jamall walker

On to the Brad Underwood era now.


There is no need for a NIT recap and/or analysis, or an unnecessary and elongated intro here. Let’s just dive right in to the way too early 2017-18 Illini basketball season preview.

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