Dick Butkus Sees “Golden Opportunity” for Illinois Recruits to Turn Illini Around

dick butkus

Shakespeare famously said “past is prologue,” and Dick Butkus is hoping that the Illini football program can repeat the glorious history that he helped make. In the inaugural Illinois Athletics Hall of Fame class, Butkus is as much a “this individual needs no introduction” as possible.

In Illini football lore, there’s Dick Butkus and Red Grange, and then there’s everybody else. The nation’s top linebacker, at both the high school and collegiate level, receives the “Butkus Award” each season, and that says it all.

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Exclusive: Dee Brown on Why He Left Illini Basketball, His Future Plans

dee brown

The immortal artist Paul Gaugin once said “one must do whatever is necessary to create.” Former Illini basketball great Dee Brown embodied that philosophy during his playing career, as he did whatever it took to create opportunities for both his teammates and himself on the offensive end.

He won the 2006 Bob Cousy Award (nation’s best point guard) his senior season, capping an Illinois career which included a national title game appearance, first team All-American status and a B1G Player of the Year Award. These days, Brown is again doing whatever is necessary to try and create the coaching career he seeks.

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Nick Anderson Has Potential Answer to Illini Basketball’s Chicago Recruiting Problems

nick anderson

Nick Anderson gave the first legitimate answer to the age old question that’s been plaguing college basketball in the state of Illinois for decades. The question is very cliche, yes, but it’s extremely shopworn because it’s also painfully true. This question is to Chicago and Illinois college basketball coverage what basing a film off a toy or comic book is to movie-making. Or the local college hoops equivalent of writing a song that rhymes “love” with “above.”

Sing along with me now- “all this great basketball talent in Chicagoland, yet none of the blue chippers stay home to play college ball, why? How do you change that?”

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Deron Williams Will Have a NBA Job Next Year, Says Dee Brown

deron williams

The future of Cleveland Cavaliers point guard Deron Williams remains in doubt.

Williams signed a one year, $410,733 contract with the Cavaliers, all of it guaranteed, but he becomes an unrestricted free agent July 1, 2017. His previous team, D. Will’s hometown Dallas Mavericks, paid him $9,000,000 in 2016-17.

After an absolutely abysmal NBA Finals performance (he finished with just five points on 2-of-16 shooting, 1-of-9 from three-point range and five turnovers in just 61 total minutes of action), many are wondering if Deron Williams will return at all to the league next season.

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Illini Basketball Coach Brad Underwood: “We Need to Have that Swagger”

brad-underwood illini basketball

Speaking ahead of the inaugural University of Illinois Athletics Hall of Fame Gala, Illini basketball coach Brad Underwood called on his team to have “that swagger.” Not just any swagger, but one befitting of the program’s all time ranking (#11) by the AP this spring.

Asked if history can be used as a recruiting tool, even with players who may be too young to remember the past glory days, Underwood responded:

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Ex Illini Signee Jeremiah Tilmon Arrested for Possession of Intoxicants by a Minor

jeremiah-tilmon

For the segment of Illinois basketball fans that believe losing out on Jeremiah Tilmon is a blessing in disguise, Monday brought news that they’ll eat up like a starving person sitting in front of a big steak.

The former Illini signee, who then later defected to Mizzou after both programs made coaching changes, was arrested this past weekend by Missouri University Police.

Here’s a tweet from Daniel Jones, who covers Mizzou basketball for the local newspaper in Columbia, Missouri.

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Illini Basketball Keeps Beefing Up Front Court By Adding Matic Vesel

illini basketball

Illini basketball has landed Matic Veselaccording to Derek Piper of Scout. While that phrase sounds like a marketing buzzword you’d hear at an information technology convention, or maybe a term used during a Naval mission debriefing, it is actually the name of a soon to be Illini basketball player.

This is great news too, and Illinois really needs to beef up their front-court. Depth is needed at forward and center so that Illini basketball coach Brad Underwood can rely on his preferred three guard lineups, and not be forced into often putting four guards on the floor.

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Illini Basketball: Brad Underwood Will Have to Play a Lot of Four Guard Lineups

josh whitman brad underwood illini basketball

As the often quotable, and sometimes verbally clumsy, former Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld infamously said-

“you go to war with the army you have, not the army you wish you had.”

It’s mid-June and Illini basketball coach Brad Underwood still has three open scholarships on his roster. He’s simply going to have to go to war in 2017-18 with the roster he has, not the roster he wishes he had. To be more specific, Underwood will have to enter the B1G battles with the wafer thin front court depth he has, not a deep, beefed up front court that he wish he had.

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Illini Basketball Draws Wake Forest in 2017 B1G/ACC Challenge, Evoking 2004-05

illini basketball 2005

Brad Underwood’s Illini basketball team, along with everybody else participating in the B1G/ACC Challenge, learned their draw today. Illinois will travel to Wake Forest, in a rematch of the famed 2004 contest that helped vault Illini basketball to the highest perch that the program has seen in recent memory.

On a historical “paint the hall orange” night, #3 Illinois destroyed #1 Wake Forest 91-73, in a contest that was actually way more lopsided than that final score would indicate.

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Deron Williams Takes Beating on Twitter During NBA Finals; Some of the More Clever Tweets

deron williams

The 2009 version of Deron Williams is kind of like the 2005 edition of Illini basketball- in reality not that long ago, but feels like ancient history.

As a University of Illinois alum, it’s painful to watch Deron Williams have such a brutal NBA Finals with the Cleveland Cavaliers. Especially since this is the first appearance of his career, and it may be his only one. He’s still scoreless in the series, and game three reached a new low point.

That’s really a shame because D. Will had a big game or two down the stretch and during the postseason.

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Illini Basketball Adds Much Needed Big Man to Roster

illini basketball state farm center

With Michael Finke the only guy on the roster over 6’10” and the very real prospect of a 6’7″ starting center in Leron Black, Illini basketball has to add size. While there’s plenty of work yet to do, the addition of UIC de-commit Greg Eboigbodin, certainly helps. He’s 6’9″ 220 and beefs up the depth chart at the four and the five.

Illini basketball coach Brad Underwood had four open scholarships, and the commitment of Eboigbodin reduces that number to three. Our friends at Writing Illini indicate that the former commit to the sister school is:

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Tim Beckman Still Unfit to Coach Says Simon Cvijanovic After Receiving $250,000 Payout

tim-beckman-illini-football-cviajnovic

Former Illini football leader Tim Beckman is still out of coaching, and it doesn’t appear that he’ll be returning any time soon. The former Illinois and Toledo Head Coach likely won’t get a gig this upcoming season and he’s definitely not ready for one, claims an individual who helped lead to his demise.

Former Illini offensive lineman Simon Cvijanovic, probably more than any other single individual (outside of Tim Beckman himself) led to the University dismissing the former coach one week before the 2015 season began.

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