Kendrick Nunn Dismissed; Illini Basketball Makes Correct Call

kendrick-nunn illini basketball

This past winter, three Illini basketball players, Leron Black, Jaylon Tate and Kendrick Nunn, were all arrested on very serious charges and indefinitely suspended from the team. Depending on how the legal process would play out, all three could have potentially faced felony charges.

These serious issues all came on the heels of another player, Darius Paul, being kicked off the team last summer due to persistent legal troubles. Yes, it can be difficult to keep up with all the legal specifics of Illini basketball player court cases. Thus we’ve updated all three precarious situations for you.

Today brought closure to the status of Kendrick Nunn, thus resolving the third and final question.

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2016 MLB Mock Draft Version 1.0

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It’s version 1.0 of The Sports Bank’s 2016 MLB Mock Draft. TSB 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 NFL mock draft, 2016 NBA mock draft, 2016 MLB mock draft and 2016 NHL mock draft.

The 2016 Major League Baseball Draft is June 9th-11th. Let’s get started with the 2016 MLB mock draft.

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Illini Football: 2016 NFL Draft Return a Future Springboard?

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In 2016 Lovie Smith takes over an Illini football program that recently had a really good reputation as a NFL vocational development school. Then Mike Thomas came along; and hired Tim Beckman. For two years the NFL Draft then became an Illini football free zone. Illinois excelled in winning draft night up until 2014, as the program was then shut out in 2015 and 2016.

The Illini were among the best, if not the best in the Big Ten when it came to being a NFL Draft factory, which we covered in more detail here.

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Hardy Nickerson Big Get for Illini Football; Still Holes to Fill

hardy-nickerson

Hardy Nickerson gives the Illinois football program a tremendous upgrade over Tim Banks at the Defensive Coordinator position. You always hear about what a huge upgrade Lovie Smith is over Tim Beckman and Bill Cubit, and rightfully so. However you don’t hear all that much about Hardy Nickerson.

That’s because football media don’t write, talk about and feature their show around defensive coordinators very often.

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Illini Football Coach Lovie Smith Praised by NFL Network Pundits

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As Illinois Fighting Illini Football Coach Lovie Smith sells the program to recruits, his NFL pedigree will be a persistent theme. (We covered this in depth for RedEye on Thursday) Smith has been out of the college game for 21 years, but he takes over a program that had a really good reputation as a NFL vocational development school up until the last couple of years. Illini football excelled in winning draft night up until 2014, as the program was then shut out in 2015 and 2016.

 Fortunately for Lovie Smith, Illini football returned again to having a presence in the Draft this past weekend.

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Oakland Raiders 2016 NFL Draft: Mixed Bag, Mixed Opinions

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It’s hard to concisely summarize the fifth draft of Oakland Raiders GM Reggie McKenzie, because it was such a mixed bag. Their first round pick, Safety Karl Joseph of West Virginia was definitely a big reach, right?

Or was it?

Not really when you find a guy who fills a need to solidify the pass defense. We knew coming in that Oakland was going to prioritize DB, and that’s exactly what they did. Likewise with the two Big Ten Defensive Ends, Jihad Ward of Illinois and Shilique Calhoun of Michigan State.

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Oakland Raiders Drafting Jihad Ward Gets Mixed Reaction

jihad-ward

When Oakland Raiders made Jihad Ward their second round pick, 44th overall, tonight it drew some mixed reaction. Ward was projected to be a second-rounder by most draftniks, and the NFL Network’s Mike Mayock has consistently been talking about Jihad Ward as a second round talent since February. 

First off it’s pronounced juh-HODD, not jee-hahd as it’s spelled. Although it’s spelled the same, it’s not pronounced the same as a holy war being fought by ISIS. Twitter went nuts with this angle anyway.

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Jihad Ward to End Illini Football NFL Draft Drought

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Every Big Ten team had at least one player selected in the 2015 NFL Draft except for Illinois. In 2014, Illini football were also shut out of pro football’s selection party. In other words, the NFL Draft became yet another Illini free zone under the Mike Thomas regime like New Year’s Day Bowls, the NCAA Tournament’s second weekend, the NBA Draft, the McDonald’s All-American Game etc.

Well, scratch at least one of those big events of the list because DL Jihad Ward is set to end the drought. He’ll do it with authority too as he’s projected to be a potential second or third round pick.

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Illini Football: What Will Garrick McGee’s Offense Look Like?

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In answering a recruiting question posed to him after a recent spring practice, Illini football Coach Lovie Smith said:

“When you’ve done it at the highest level, you should have an eye for talent. I wanted our staff to have a strong NFL flavor to it, but with a good mix from college, too, and I think we have that.”

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Illini QB Wes Lunt is a Ticket Salesman; Aspiring Athletic Director

wes-lunt illini football

They say offense, most specifically passing offense, is what sells tickets. It’s not just a cliche.

Look at how the NFL has completely rewritten its rule book in order to facilitate new and bigger milestones in the passing record department. Conventional wisdom holds that Illinois Fighting Illini QB Wes Lunt will be a big part of getting people in the Memorial Stadium seats this fall.

Newly minted Head Coach Lovie Smith will attract them, but winning games, and doing it with panache, is what will make sure they stay for four quarters and also later return to Zuppke Field.

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Lovie Smith: Illini Football Spring Practice Halftime Report

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Lovie Smith has brought a level of excitement and interest to the Illini football program that we haven’t seen in many years. The Illinois football community believes and hopes that he can bring a level of consistent winning which hasn’t been achieved in Champaign since the John Mackovic era.

Lovie’s first spring practice period is now about halfway through, so let’s assess where things are at the stroke of halftime.

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Tim Beckman, Illini Football Settle Out of Court

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Tuesday brought another eventful and dramatic day at the University of Illinois. You’ll recall that former coach Tim Beckman was fired by ex Illini Athletic Director Mike Thomas eight days before the 2015 college football season began. Beckman responded with a statement that was very defiant and combative, as the former football leader sought a severance package that he believed he was due.

Today, Tim Beckman settled out of court with the University of Illinois.

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