Illini Need a Closer!


By Paul M. Banks

Remember the Bulls glory years, when Michael Jordan was the finest late game finisher? When somebody had to be the team’s go-to guy and knock down the big shot, MJ was the Bulls’ assassin. The 21st ranked Illini lack this quality- a true ‘balla” to close games out, a star carrying this team on their back when necessary.

I asked Head Coach Bruce Weber if the team’s current leading scorer and most athletic player, Demetri McCamey can be the guy- “Our team doctor mentioned to me before the Michigan State game, the one thing we don’t have is someone who can just take it over and make a play when we need it, Alex {Legion, Weber’s highest rated recruit} jumped up and made some shots against Michigan St. but if one guy would made a couple plays in gut check time, we could have found a way to win that thing. I think he {McCamey} has the potential. He’s got to learn the game: how to use screens, how to play without the ball, and if he could do that he could be the guy. He passes well, shoots the three, he’s got a big body and can pull-up,” Weber responded.

Another reporter followed up my question by asking “if not McCamey, then who?” Weber reiterated that it could be Legion, the transfer from Kentucky or forward Mike Davis. “I’m not sure right now, I think Alex has the potential to make big shots because he can just jump up and shoot it over people and maybe Mike Davis can continue to develop a triple-threat game so he can beat somebody by doing his little half-hooks and turnarounds, but Demetri has the most potential no doubt,” Weber answered.

Currently, Illinois (18-5, 6-4) is nationally ranked: 17th in RPI, 16th in Sagarin, 23rd in the AP and 21 in the Coaches poll. They appear to be a #5 or #6 seed come tournament time. Illinois has great balance -four different players: McCamey, Davis, Mike Tisdale, and Trent Meacham are or within a point-per game of being the team’s leading scorer- and resembles the 1998 team, who used balanced offense to go 13-3 and win the Big Ten, but imagine what they could be with a true closer? Their struggles on offense the past three games accentuate the urgency.

See more of Paul M. Banks’ work at the NBC Street Team, the Washington Times and The Sports Bank

Comments

  1. paulmbanks says:

    Legion kind of sucks so far

  2. maybe Mitch Williams has some college eligibility left…

  3. The Statue of Harold Baines says:

    Or Brad Lidge!

  4. David Palmer says:

    I think Kyra Sedgwick might be available.

Trackbacks

  1. [...] this: “I like Demetri a lot as a player. I think he has a chance to be a great point guard and do some special things there, I’m really excited about the next two classes we have coming in, I think we’ll be back [...]

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