Illini Hoops Want More Defense Behind Leaders Richardson, Paul

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One of the biggest reasons the Illini fell well short of preseason expectations last year was their lack of defensive heart and intensity. It isn’t like a Bruce Weber coached team to not defend, and last year Illinois lost way too many games because their inability to get stops down the stetch and in crunch time.

Especially on the road, Illinois would dig deep holes for themselves right off the bat. Later, they would score enough to catch up, but their failures on the other end kept them from closing the gap.

This season Weber wont have to deal with the constant motivational issues with Demetri McCamey and Mike Davis, psychological issues with Mike Tisdale and off-the-court isseus with Jereme Richmond. In a sense there’s addition by subtraction. Illini best defender, D.J. Richardson is back, and he along with Brandon Paul, the other only juniors on a team with no seniors, will be expected be the leaders.

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Illini DJ Richardson’s AWESOME Trick Shot! Sportscenter top Video!

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Last night, the Illinois Fighting Illini absolutely mangled the Northwestern Wildcats in a game that was decided minutes after the tip. The Illini shot the lights out from both inside and outside the arc. But that was nothing compared to this trick shot Illinois sophomore guard D.J. Richardson hit from the concourse in between the A and B sections of Assembly Hall.

It’s really like those old Michael Jordan-Larry Bird commercials “off the scoreboard, off the floor, nothing but net,” and it needs to be seen to be believed. And it made Sportcenter’s top plays last night. (Deservedly so)

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D.J. Richardson, Illini Need to Bring More Defense to the Table

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As you might have noticed Thursday night, given you watched the #13 Illinois Fighting Illini in their 90-84 OT loss to #22 Texas in the 2K Challenge college basketball tournament benfitting Coaches vs. Cancer, Illinois has some problems stopping people.

Sure the Longhorns went seven minutes without a field goal down the stretch, but that was more due to leading scorer Jordan Hamilton being benched with four fouls than anything Illinois did right. Giving up 45 points in the first half, and letting the Horns hook ’em in the first couple overtime minutes is not what a top 15 team does.

Head Coach Bruce Weber has said repeatedly this team will be as good as they defend, and as good as their seniors. So far the Mike and Mike Show (Tisdale and Davis) haven’t locked-down on the defensive side. Weber has said Davis must be a defensive stopper. He’s also said sophomore guard D.J. Richardson, the Big Ten Freshman of the year, is the team’s best defender.

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Video Exclusive Illini Freshman D.J. Richardson

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By Paul M. Banks

Meet Illini freshman guard D.J. Richardson, a very highly touted recruit. Watch the video below

To watch the exclusive videos of Dominique Keller and Alex Legion click here

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