Illini, Gophers, DePaul College Hoops News: 5-10-11


Minnesota cheerleader

It may be college basketball’s  offseason, but a lot of news surrounding teams in the Big East and Big Ten broke in the past couple of days. Whether you’re a fan of the Illini, DePaul or the Gophers, pay attention!

illini logo

I Bless the Rains down in Africa…sure as Kilimanjaro rises like an Empress above the Serengeti

Illinois Coach Bruce Weber announced Monday the signing of Ibrahima Djimde (pronounced EE-bruh-hee-muh JIM-day) to a national letter of intent.

Djimde, known as “Ibby,” is a 6-9, 250-pound power forward from Mali, Africa. He currently attends Huntington Prep Academy in Huntington, W. Va., under the direction of head coach Rob Fulford. Djimde averaged 10 points, eight rebounds and three blocks as a senior for a talented Hunting Prep squad that compiled a 25-3 record against a national schedule. Djimde scored a season-high 25 points against Kestrel Heights (N.C.).

Djimde’s signing brings the total to seven new players on the 2011-12 roster for the Illini. He joins guard Tracy Abrams (Chicago, Ill./Mount Carmel High School), center Nnanna Egwu (Chicago, Ill./Saint Ignatius College Prep), guard/forward Mycheal Henry (Chicago, Ill./Orr Academy), forward Mike Shaw (Chicago, Ill./De La Salle Institute), guard/forward Devin Langford (Huntsville, Ala./Lee High School) and guard Sam Maniscalco (Chicago, Ill./Bradley University).

It’s a good thing they have all this personnel coming in, because not only do they lose a highly publicized senior class, but they have zero juniors. So these 7 kids will try to fill the holes you’d get from two departed classes in one year.


The DePaul Blue Demons will head overseas later this summer for a 10-day excursion in France titled “In the Footsteps of St. Vincent.” While in France, the Blue Demons and fans will visit Paris, Toulouse and Nice and play four games during the tour that runs Aug. 11-21.

Unlike other college basketball overseas experiences, the DePaul men’s program will be immersed in the history of St. Vince dePaul – the namesake of DePaul University – and also use the opportunity to integrate the incoming recruiting class on and off the court. The student-athletes will take a course titled “The Life and Times of Vincent dePaul” to prepare for the trip and after crossing the Atlantic Ocean they will walk in the footsteps of St. Vincent dePaul.

“This is a great opportunity for our incoming class to get integrated into our program on the court, in the classroom and with our returning players,” said DePaul head coach Oliver Purnell. “We’re very excited for August to arrive and take advantage of this great opportunity.”

NCAA regulations allow DePaul to conduct 10 days of practice prior to leaving for France and the overseas trips are allowed once every four years. Purnell and his staff welcome six freshmen to Lincoln Park next season and the trip will allow the newcomers practice and game experience prior to the start of the 2011-12 academic year.

The six-player rookie class includes Macari Brooks (Richton Park, Ill.), Montray Clemons (Baltimore, Md.), Jamee Crockett (Crete, Ill.), Shane Larkin (Orlando, Fla.), Charles McKinney (Evanston, Ill.) and Derrell Robertson (Mendenhall, Miss.).

Tentative Tour Itinerary—August 11-21, 2011 (subject to change)

11         Depart Chicago O’Hare

12         Arrive Paris & City Tour

13         Tour Paris

14         Sightsee Paris & Game #1

15         Sightsee Paris & Game #2

16         Arrive Toulouse

17         TBA & Game #3

18         Arrive Nice

19         Tour Monaco

20         Sightseeing Nice & Game #4

21         Depart Nice & Arrive at Chicago O’Hare


Legacy Device

Looks like we reported this wrong, as did every other media outlet in the universe.

Minnesota junior forward Ralph Sampson III has announced that he has withdrawn his name from consideration for the 2011 NBA Draft and will remain at the University of Minnesota for his senior campaign.

“We want to welcome Ralph Sampson III back to the Golden Gopher basketball program,” said Golden Gopher Head Coach Tubby Smith. “One thing the NCAA allows players to do is test the draft waters and having done that and also by consulting with his family he came to the decision to return to Minnesota. He is coming off a good junior season and I think having gone through the NBA workouts will only help him as we head into next season.”

Sampson III will enter his senior campaign with career averages of 8.2 points, 5.2 rebounds and 1.7 blocks per game in 97 career games (87 starts). He is 202 points shy of becoming the 37th player in Minnesota history to amass 1,000 career points. In doing so, he will also become one of 18 players to finish a career with at least 1,000 points and 500 rebounds and one of five players to finish with at least 1,000 points, 500 rebounds and 150 blocks.

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

He does a regular guest spot each week for Chicagoland Sports You can follow him on Twitter @thesportsbank and Facebook

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