Frosh Jereme Richmond Should Crack Starting Five for the Illini



University of Illinois freshman Jereme Richmond (Waukegan, Ill.) has already accomplished something before he even begins his Illini career. Richmond made the USA Basketball U18 National Team, and played in the FIBA Americas U18 Championship.

Richmond became the first Illini on the U.S. U18 National Team since Deron Williams and Dee Brown in 2002. The frosh averaged 21 points and 11.4 rebounds during his senior year at Waukegan High School, earning Illinois Mr. Basketball honors and participating in the McDonald’s All-America Game.

He should find his way into the starting unit, perhaps at the three position, on an Illini team ranked #16 in the preseason USA Today/Coaches poll. Surely, he’ll at least handle some of the ball-handling duties when Illini senior point guard, and Wooden Award Candidate Demetri McCamey is off the floor.

By Paul M. Banks


“Coach talked about putting the ball in my hands a little bit, more to relieve pressure from Demetri, so ball-handling is important. Keeping my handle tight and making good decisions is important,” said Richmond at Illini Media Day.

Yes, it is important, and Richmond had 8 assists to go along with 11 points in the annual Orange-Blue scrimmage a couple days ago, so he looks the part so far.

Bruce Weber described what Jereme brings to the table and where he might fit.

“One he has a great feel for the game, he picks up things very easily. At this point, he’s been very coachable. At USA basketball or some of the major camps he attended, whether it’s Jay Bilas or Fran Fraschilla who worked with him at some of the Nike events, the first thing they’ll tell you is that he wants to learn. His versatility is probably his greatest strength in allowing him to play… At 6-8 ,with his ability to post up and pass you can have him as a point guard and also inside. I really think he can be a defensive stopper, it’s one of the things he learned at USA basketball.

The downfall or the thing he’s going to have to work on is what position? And can he learn everything? And I asked the coaches where can we start him?”

Passing is probably the biggest strength in Richmond’s game. And since the Illini have one of the greatest passers in the nation in McCamey, it’ll be fun to watch these two work of one another this winter.

“I think we’ll work together really well. In the college game my passing will come out more because different scoring opportunities will be lost because of great defensive schemes and things like that. I think it’s a good combination of knowing where guys like the basketball, what position they like to score in, and sometimes it’s just making a simple play rather than a flashy play,” Jereme said about his passing ability.

Richmond says his natural position is probably the three, even though he played down low quite a bit in high school.

“I played the post in high school because I was taller than everybody but there’s seven footers out here, so I kind of shrink the floor a little,” he said.

Paul M. Banks is CEO of The Sports , a Midwest webzine. He is also a regular contributor to the Tribune’s Chicago Now network, Walter, Yardbarker Network, and Fox

You can follow him on Twitter @thesportsbank

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