Da’Monte Williams: Our Legally Required Frank Williams Themed Feature Story

da'monte williams

All hard core fans of any given team are familiar with this standard broadcast archetype-

When your team is on national television, the announcers espouse an anecdote/factoid/talking point that is news to the national audience, but completely old hat to you. Illinois basketball will not likely have a lot of nationally televised games, but every single one of them will reference something every local fan has already heard a zillion times:

Illini freshman Da’Monte Williams is the son of Illinois legend and former All-American Frank Williams.

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Illini Basketball Target, 5-Star Prospect Ayo Dosunmu Announcing Thursday

ayo dosunmu

The wait is just about over and perhaps a metaphorical weight will be lifted for Illini basketball fans. The Ayo Dosunmu decision date and time is set. It’s down to just Wake Forest and Illinois (who coincidentally play each other in this year’s B1G/ACC Challenge) for the services of Ayo Dosunmu.

His college announcement will be this Thursday at 7 p.m. central at the Jordan Brand store on 32 S. State St.

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Illini Basketball: What Mark Alstork Brings to the Table

mark alstork illini basketball

Illini basketball fans will see a ton of newcomers on their team this season. It’s definitely a season of transition with a new coach, new staff and a ton of new players. One newcomer however, Mark Alstork, brings a sense of familiarity because he’s very reminiscent of a recently graduated star player- Rayvonte Rice.

Alstork will even be wearing his old number, #24, this season. 

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Mark Smith Prepared to be the Face of Illini Basketball Renaissance

mark smith illini basketball

From 2002-2006, Illini basketball led the nation in total wins, highlighted by a 37-2 (then tying the single season victories record) national runner-up campaign in 2005. In the 12 years since, Illinois has a total of just three NCAA Tournament victories, and they’ve broken the school record for single season losses not once but twice.

However, it’s a new era of Illini basketball now, as this team welcomes a new head coach in Brad Underwood, a new staff and six new players. Underwood has a track record that indicates he could be the man who turns the program’s fortunes around. If that is the case, there will be an individual player that people in the future will look back upon as a turning point recruit.

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Illini Football Has Same Primary Problem as Chicago Bears: Quarterback

chayce crouch

All the glorious ties and shared proud traditions of Chicago Bears and Illinois Fighting Illini football were highlighted tonight. It’s the inaugural Hall of Fame weekend at the University of Illinois, and the three biggest names being enshrined are Dick Butkus, Red Grange and George Halas.

All are legends in Bears and Illini football lore, but recalling their glory days isn’t enough to distract you from the current mess in front of us. The past 24 hours have shown us that the Bears and Illinois are once again closely related, but this time it’s a serious problem they share- the QB1 position.

Right now, both teams are severely restrained by a really inferior starting quarterback.

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Illini Football vs Nebraska Cornhuskers: Game Preview, Prediction

peanut-tillman-illini-football-jaylen-dunlap

The last time these two teams met in Champaign, it was one of the oddest Illini football games in recent memory. Illinois emerged victorious that mid-October evening in 2015, but only after a series of extremely bizarre and unexplained phenomena:

The spread shifted several points on the morning of game day, the reliable and seasoned veteran QB Tommy Armstrong didn’t kill the clock when he had obvious, ample opportunities to do so, Illinois ran the same exact passing play to the same corner of the end zone, throwing it to the same guy over and over again on the final series, Nebraska kept bailing them out with pass interference penalties.

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Rick Neuheisel on Infamous Illini Rose Bowl Playboy Mansion Party Tale

rick-neuheisel

Rest in Peace Hugh Hefner. The legendary publisher with a very complex legacy passed away today at the age of 91. Here’s a link to the Washington Post’s story on his passing

In honor of Hef, we re-run this story from summer 2016:

Rick Neuheisel somehow already knew where we were going with our question. We didn’t need to mention the infamous urban legend, because he brought it up first, without being unprompted. Kudos to the former UCLA quarterback and current CBS Sports College Football Analyst for knowing exactly what we were truly asking about.

You’ve heard the narrative:

the 1983 Illini, 10-1 and ranked #5, heavily favored over an unranked 6-4-1 UCLA team, partied too hard at the Playboy mansion with Hugh Hefner the night before the 1984 Rose Bowl, and that’s why the team was obliterated 45-9 by the underdog Bruins.

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Infamous Illini Football Playboy Mansion Story: Fact or Fiction?

jack trudeau illini football

Rest in Peace Hugh Hefner. The legendary publisher with a very complex legacy passed away today at the age of 91. Here’s a link to the Washington Post’s story on his passing

In honor of Hef, we re-run this story from summer 2015:

This legendary Playboy mansion tale we’re about to re-examine again is either  a.) the worst kept secret in Illini football history or

b.) the biggest lie ever told in the history of the program

This “urban legend” from 32 years ago is the perfect topic of discussion for a bye week, and especially during a bye week of a season that looks and feels rather gloomy. If you want a brutally honest assessment of what’s ahead this year, I suggest you check out this offering from the Champaign Room; SB Nation’s Illini community. 

jack trudeau

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TSB Show 9: Akiem Hicks, David Diehl, Vince Wilfork

illini lovie smith podcast illini

TSB Show is back and it’s better than ever, with an extremely action packed and very concise edition. TSB Show 9 covers a ton of ground, and it’s not “sticking to sports.” We have Chicago Bears Team Captain Akiem Hicks, New England Patriots legend Vince Wilfork and New York Giants, Illinois Fighting Illini legend/current NFL and college football announcer David Diehl.

Let’s run down all the topics we covered:

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Lovie Smith Quite Critical of Donald Trump’s NFL Trolling

lovie-smith

When you say “events over the weekend” in the sports world, people almost certainly know what you’re talking about. If you phrase that phrase and tack on “in football,” then they definitely know exactly you’re talking about

Illini football Head Coach Lovie Smith met the media yesterday for his weekly news conference, and he was not shy about expressing his opinions on President Donald Trump waging verbal war against the NFL, and the National Football League responding.

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ESPN College Gameday: How it Went From Transcendent to Unwatchable

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To pinpoint what’s so wrong with ESPN College Gameday in 2017, there are a couple different places from which you can start. You can begin with ESPN’s horrible bungling of the Jemele Hill and Robert Lee situations, and go from there. The same principle, that of “let’s try to never hurt anyone’s feelings ever, no matter what the cost, because hurt feelings means upset sponsors” applies across the board.

ESPN should have never apologized for what Jemele Hill said about Donald Trump.

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Illinois Football: Mike Epstein Emerges at RB as Homecoming Trip Approaches

mike epstein

Google Illinois football player Mike Epstein, and one of the first links to emerge is the Wikipedia bio of the 1960s-1970s Major League Baseball pitcher. Until you actually click on the biography, and read the very first sentence, you won’t believe the nickname this gentleman had during his MLB playing days; which spanned eight years and five different clubs.

Mike Epstein the former first baseman won a gold medal with USA baseball at the 1964 Summer Olympics in Tokyo.

In other words, he’s a very accomplished athlete, and Mike Epstein the Illinois football player could well be on his way to carving out his own legacy too.

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