Jereme Richmond Doesn’t Play in Illini Loss at Wisconsin

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Despite the presence of two nationally ranked teams, exciting and entertaining college basketball this was not. The game being played in this Big Ten basketball contest was like the slush, snow, ice and stagnant dirty water outside the Kohl Center- slow, hard to navigate, sludge and drudgery.For the Illini at least, there was never any flow.

As unexciting as the first meeting (won by Illinois 69-61) was, this was even more wallowed in mire. The #20 Badgers got revenge on the #16 Illini from their first encounter 76-66, despite shooting just 1-12 from behind the arc in the first half.

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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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Frosh Jereme Richmond Should Crack Starting Five for the Illini

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University of Illinois freshman Jereme Richmond (Waukegan, Ill.) has already accomplished something before he even begins his Illini career. Richmond made the USA Basketball U18 National Team, and played in the FIBA Americas U18 Championship.

Richmond became the first Illini on the U.S. U18 National Team since Deron Williams and Dee Brown in 2002. The frosh averaged 21 points and 11.4 rebounds during his senior year at Waukegan High School, earning Illinois Mr. Basketball honors and participating in the McDonald’s All-America Game.

He should find his way into the starting unit, perhaps at the three position, on an Illini team ranked #16 in the preseason USA Today/Coaches poll. Surely, he’ll at least handle some of the ball-handling duties when Illini senior point guard, and Wooden Award Candidate Demetri McCamey is off the floor.

By Paul M. Banks

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