McCamey, Davis coming back to Illini

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mike davis

By Paul M. Banks

University of Illinois juniors Demetri McCamey and power forward Mike Davis withdrew their names from the NBA Draft today. The duo will return to Champaign-Urbana for their senior Fighting Illini season. With a legitimate threat of a NBA lockout in 2011, pretty much every junior in the nation who was at least half-way decent optioned to test the waters this spring. And as long as they didn’t hire an agent- no harm, no foul.

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Illinois Demetri McCamey’s NBA Potential

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By Paul M. Banks

When it comes to Illini junior point guard Demetri McCamey, perhaps his Coach Bruce Weber can describe him best. “If you study him over the course of time, he has very good games and a tendency not to be real consistent, this goes back way to high school and AAU and that’s where he’s got to mature. He has the big one and then average, average. He needs to be more consistent if we’re going to be a very good team because he can do things that other people can’t do,” Weber said this season.

Last season McCamey was the Illini’s leading scorer and became the man the team went to when a last second game winning shot was needed. As evidenced by his buzzer beater at Northwestern, he started to become a clutch player. The third-team All-Big Ten selection led the Illini in scoring and was second on the team and fourth in the conference in assists, He also led the Big Ten in assists during conference play, and finished second to Kalin Lucas in the league in assist/turnover ratio.Illinois Penn St Basketball

But his game still needs polish which I discussed with both him and Coach Weber extensively during the season. His shot selection is sometimes suspect: “When my little brother says it than I know everybody notices, my little brother told me I was settling for too many threes, so I got to get back to attacking the paint like I used to,” McCamey said.

His work ethic needs improvement and his defense can often be non-existent. However, he’s also the Illini player with the most athleticism and star potential. On a team that will be ranked in everyone’s top 25 next season, that’s quite a compliment. “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 said.

McCamey is often criticized, by Coach Weber and Big Ten announcers alike, for his work ethic, but Demetri says he’s dedicated to edifying and bettering himself…

“A student of the game, that’s the only way you’ll get better. It’s all about making the right decision and every possession is worth something. Coach McClain and I watch film, I like to come in and watch film. If I’m at home, my roommate Alex {Legion} and I- that’s all we do is watch college and NBA basketball.”

And for excelling in the role of true point guard/go-to guy-“It’s not just scoring for me, especially on the defensive end and becoming a leader, being more vocal- don’t yell at guys, pick your spots and be a true leader.” Demetri is often candid about how he has to improve his defense, but I asked him what else he needs to improve?

“Standing up a lot and watching instead of attacking, sometimes I rely on my teammates too much when I can just push the ball and make plays happen instead of just trying to wait for them to happen. It’s being aggressive all the time and take every play like it’s you’re last and make the right decision,” he responded.

Current Bull and NBA Rookie of the Year Derrick Rose is a friend of McCamey’s and someone that he’s talked about modeling his game on.“He’s a wonderful player. I played against him all the way since 7th grade, he knows me, I know him and I know I’ll be in the same boat and playing with passion if I just listen to everybody, because they’re only trying to help…No matter how young you are, you can be a real good player. We used to be enemies on the court, now I’m a fan, maybe one day I’ll get to where he’s at.”

If Demetri matures into a consistent player, the Illini could make a deep tournament run in March and Derrick Rose could possibly see another Windy City friend in the NBA in 2010 or 2011.

2010 NBA Draft Prospect Profile: Mike Davis

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By Paul M. Banks, Walterfootball.com

Mike Davis (6-9, 210, F) was one of the most improved players in the Big Ten Conference last season. He was second on the Illini in scoring and third in the Big Ten in rebounding last winter. He led the conference with nine double-doubles and 11 double-digit rebounding performances on the season.

The second-team All-Big Ten selection by coaches (Third-team pick by media) also made the Big Ten All-Tournament Team and improved his scoring average by about nine points this past year.

Davis will need to make similar strides this year if he hopes to consider leaving school after his junior year. Currently, he looks like a solid middle second-rounder in 2011.

However, the potential is certainly there for Davis’ stock to shoot up. Critics claim he lives and dies by the baseline jumper, but his shot selection and offensive decision-making are some of his best qualities, evidenced by his finishing third in the Big Ten in field-goal shooting at 53.3 percent (171-321).

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If he can continue to develop a triple-threat game, he will be able to beat more opposing defenders with his little half-hooks and turnaround jump shots. His defense isn’t bad either, and this upcoming season will give him a chance to showcase it for “Association” scouts.

The Illini were a surprisingly good team last year, but they lost their best (and one of the league’s best) defenders in Chester Frazier. Coach Bruce Weber has spoken about Davis being a go-to-guy in the future, especially on the defensive end, and someone will have to step up and guard the opposing team’s best scorer like Frazier did last season. Davis will need to be that guy.

To read the rest click here

http://www.walterfootball.com/nbadraft2010profilemdavis.php

Illini’s Mike Tisdale- Have Any Pro Potential?

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By Paul M. Banks

If there’s one truth about the NBA Draft, it’s that any 7 footer with average-or- better athleticism is a bonafide prospect. Illinois junior Center Mike Tisdale (7’1”, 235) may seem like a project at times, but he is certainly on the radar screen of NBA GMs for 2011, if not 2010. An honorable mention All-Big Ten selection by coaches and media, he was one of the league’s most improved players, finishing fourth in the Big Ten in field goal shooting and second in the league in conference play FG percentage. He was the team leader in blocked shots, ranking fifth in the Big Ten.

He doesn’t do all his work inside either, as he possess very nice form on his jump shot. In a sound trashing of the Michigan Wolverines, Tisdale stepped out and knocked down a couple big treys, prompting opposing coach John Beilien to tell the media: “I didn’t know he could do that. I didn’t know he could Pittsnogle us.” Beilien was referring to the former WVU icon he once coached Kevin Pittsnogle who ( according to a New York Times feature last March) is now well over 300 pounds, out of basketball and lives in a double-wide.

Tisdale should be available to avoid that fate as long as he gets his head right. After the Illini suffered their first loss of the season, he explained why he wasn’t a big factor. “Tough match-up you could say, quicker, stronger, it was tough for me. I didn’t have quote the confidence I should have.” Exactly. Just like trying to pick up girls, it’s all about confidence.  His coach Bruce Weber, described Tisdale’s psyche:

“Needs to be more confident as a person,  and he can’t decide beforehand, he over-analyzes, over-thinks things and then he makes decisions ahead of time, and then if it doesn’t go right, right away he kinda gets on his heels and starts hanging his head.”ashleytisdale

Weber discussed the steps “Tis” is taking to improve his body and mind.

“He does come around the office more than anybody. A lot of guys come in when they have good days, they don’t come in when they have bad days. He listens, he’s coachable, he’s just a young kid and sometimes gets down on himself. He probably beats on himself more than anybody,” Weber said.

Tisdale is also well known for the overly publicized 6,000 calorie a day diet that the program has put him on, in the hopes that he will gain some weight and become a bulkier post presence. When I look around in a room full of sports writers, I think they share his diet. If Tisdale gets big enough to bump and grind with the big boys, he’ll obtain the consistency that he lacks now. Becoming more sure of himself would help too.

He was the team’s leading scorer in 11 games, more than any of his teammates. Over one five-game stretch, he averaged 19.0 points while shooting 58.8 percent.

On the other hand, he was a useless waste of space in the NCAA tournament and was about as intimidating as Ashley Tisdale in a crucial conference test at Wisconsin.

Still, it looks like he’ll be a mid 2nd round pick in 2011, because his career arc (at this early stage at least) is reminiscent of former Illini big man Robert Archibald. He was never an actual star, but was serviceable, if not solid, enough to be drafted 31st overall by the Memphis Grizzlies in 2002.