Tre Demps Makes Chicago Bulls Summer League Roster

tre-demps

The Chicago Bulls announced their team which will participate in the 2016 Las Vegas Summer League.  This year’s #1 draft pick, #14 overall, Denzel Valentine out of Michigan State (the last pick in the lottery) headlines the roster, which includes fellow Spartan alumni Raymar Morgan.

Yes, the same Raymar Morgan who is balling with the Spartan Heroes (Michigan State Alumni) in “The Basketball Tournament.”

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Illinois Fighting Illini Demetri McCamey: His True NBA Draft Stock

Demetri McCamey Illinois

Ah yes, Demetri McCamey! Much has been written and said about the now former Illinois Fighting Illini point guard, who was essentially the face of that particular college basketball program for three years, and a starter for close to four.

He slowly but surely developed and matured during his time at Illinois, but never became a loud, vocal leader. He brought the ball up, but was never a “floor general;” it just wasn’t in his DNA. The Illini probably would have won a lot more games during his college career had Meechi been that kind of guy. The most glaring void we saw in Champaign-Urbana since 2007 is/was vocal on the court leadership.

McCamey kept telling the media during the first half of this past season what NBA scouts told him incessantly: “point guards are judged on wins, to get to the league you have to win.”

Well, the Illini did get their first NCAA Tournament win since 2006 last month, and Meechi was a big part of that. Unfortunately, it literally was the only thing Illinois won during McCamey’s time.

By Paul M. Banks and David Kay

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Illinois Fighting Illini 2010-2011 Recap, Early look Ahead to 2012

Bruce Weber Illinois

Inconsistency, lack of effort, and disappointing: those three words are as good as any when it comes to summing up the University of Illinois Men’s Basketball 2010-2011 season. For a team that was supposed to do great things this year, they had a very up and down campaign. After starting the season 10-1 (only loss coming in OT to Texas at Madison Square Garden), the Illini stumbled in the back half, and finished with a 20-14 record.

The biggest problems the Illini had were mental.

But it didn’t help that their point guard wasn’t able to be a true distributor in their motion offense. He had to do most of the scoring himself. Not having a dominant insidepresence hurt too.

The player who decided the Illini fate most of the time was makeshift senior point guard Demetri McCamey. When he played well, Illinois was a team that could beat anyone on any night. But when he was off, and he was off quite a bit in midseason, the Illini could lose to any one (see: 7-24 Illinois-Chicago).

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2011 NCAA Tournament: Southwest Regional Bracket Breakdown

kansas basketball

Warning: I will not be responsible if you copy these brackets and are out of your NCAA Tournament pool by by Sunday.  However, if you do listen to my college basketball wisdom and win some money, I want 20% of the pot or at least a shout-out on your twitter or facebook page.  Check out my East, West, and Southeast Regional Bracket Breakdowns.

By: David Kay
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Blame for Disappointing Illini Season Goes Well Beyond Senior Class

bruce weber demetri mccamey

In the bracket of non-existent, 2009-2011 Illini basketball leadership has got to be a #1 seed.

And I’m not singling out Coach Bruce Weber, or point guard/star player Demetri McCamey. I’m talking about the total team’s overall tendency to just NOT get things done together as a team. If Notre Dame is Gestalt, and a cohesive unit playing well beyond the sum of their parts, then Illinois is a bunch of underachieving square pegs in round holes.

Handling success instead of fearing of it, winning the close games, not being mental midgets in the face of adversity: these qualities have been missing the past two years. And ever since the Illini started dropping games to teams that are half as talented as they are, we media members started getting extremely critical of both Weber and the seniors.

No wonder Weber described the internet as a “mean place.” But let’s say he’s right.

Let’s say the criticism of the seniors is unwarranted and undeserved. Where else can you point the finger?

By Paul M. Banks

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TSB’s Big Ten Basketball Postseason Awards

jared sullinger jajuan johnson

You can have an endless debate about some of the candidates for the Big Ten basketball post-season awards.  JaJuan Johnson, Jared Sullinger, and Jordan Taylor are all worthy of being named Player of the Year.  A solid case could be made for Ohio State‘s Thad Matta, Purdue‘s Matt Painter, and Wisconsin‘s Bo Ryan winning Coach of the Year honors.  The Sports Bank panel of five voters (David Kay, Paul M. Banks, Peter Christian, Nick Grays, and Justin Mertes-Mistretta) has chimed in on their picks and handed out some post-season hardware.

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A Musical Take On Illinois’ Senior Day


It’s been a long road not only for Illini sports fans these last 4 years, but for the four Illinois seniors who have presided over the darkest off-the-court times in recent memory. Let’s not forget it’s also one of Illinois’ worst on the court stretches as well.

If the Illini miss the tournament this season, this senior class will be the first group of seniors to miss more than two NCAA tournaments since 1982 — essentially, since prior to the Lou Henson era.

If that doesn’t deserve a depressing walk through my MP3 player, nothing does. [Read more…]

Casting My USA Basketball Writers Association Awards Ballot

jared sullinger

A secret ballot? Nah, when it comes to college basketball, I’ll shout my opinions and evaluations from the mountain top. I’ve covered a lot of teams both in the Big Ten and the Big East this past season: Illinois, Northwestern, Notre Dame and DePaul, so let’s begin.

We start by choosing my District: V. of course, covering Ohio, Illinois, Wisconsin, Michigan, Minnesota and Indiana, or as well call it The Sports Bank territory. Here’s who excelled in representing the Great Lakes/Upper Midwest.

By Paul M. Banks

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Illini Stayin’ Alive for NCAA Tournament Berth


Well you can tell by the way they use their walk that…well, they haven’t played themselves out of NCAA tournament contention yet.

Was that all just an excuse to lead in with that smarmy photo of Disco John Travolta? Yes. Yes it was.

But it still needs to be said that, after 29 games, the Illinois Fighting Illini men’s college basketball team still is hanging around the NCAA tournament picture.

And even better, their case for a bid continues to get stronger. [Read more…]

Illinois 81, Iowa 68: Rapid Reaction

Illinois basketball

It was a college basketball game that highlighted one of the main reoccurring themes of the Illinois Fighting Illini season. Every time they had a big lead, they just couldn’t find a way to step on their opponents’ throat.

The “killer instinct,” or “closing speed” just was not there. It seemed like every time they went up 15, the margin was back to five or less before you knew it.

The 81-68 Illini win certainly was a game of runs in the first half as the Illini 10-0, then Iowa went  11-1, followed by ILL 16-2, then Iowa 11-5 over the final five minutes to close half.

And up until the 6:02 mark in the second half, when Demetri McCamey hit a dagger to put the Illini up 17, this Big Ten brawl constantly shifted back and forth between non-contest and close game.

By Paul M. Banks

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Five Worst Moments of the 2010-11 Illini Hoops Season

Bruce Weber Illinois

The Illinois Fighting Illini came into this year with across-the-board top 15 preseason national rankings. Yet here they are receiving no votes at all (deservedly so) in either poll for the past few weeks, under .500 in conference, and squarely on the NCAA bubble.

In other words, grossly underachieving and not even remotely close to meeting expectations. And it’s not just this year’s expectations. The current nucleus (Mike Davis, Mike Tisdale, Demetri McCamey) have been starting for three straight years. So one would expect them to peak this season…so much for that! Throw in a recruiting class that was highly regarded on a national college basketball level, and this WAS the year Illini fans have been looking to since 2008.

Kind of depressing isn’t it? Go here for more on that. It’s a very emotional description of how soul-sucking this season has been for the Illini fan base. What follows is a more anecdotal and objective description of the same soul-sucking season from hell.

By Paul M. Banks

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College Hoops 101 (2/14/11)

badgers mascot

While I was covering Super Bowl 45 in Dallas, I went nine days without watching a complete college basketball game.  When I got back from the Lone Star State, I was literally in the fetal position shaking profusely.  As a result, this edition of College Hoops 101 covers the past two weeks and is a slower week due to my needing to catch up on sleep.

If you are unfamiliar with College Hoops 101, it is a weekly feature here at The Sports Bank that runs every Monday and breaks down everything you need to know going on in the world of college basketball.  I will look back at the previous week and peak ahead to some of the key match-ups in the next seven days.  Click here for my latest bracketology.

By: David Kay
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