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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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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Purdue Dominates Second Half in Win at Illinois, Boilers Seniors Own Illini Counterparts

purdue-cheerleader

A college basketball game like this, the one in which the Purdue Boilermakers absolutely took over the Illini in the second half, as their seniors played like seniors: guys who learn, develop and focus on progress. On the other side, the Illinois seniors regressed to historically epic proportions.

But enough on that for now, believe me we’ll have plenty on all that later.

For now, I encourage you to check out the work of Travis Miller, from Hammer and Rails.com

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Naimsith Award List Narrowed Down to 30

jared sullinger

The Atlanta Tipoff Club announces today the 2010-11 Naismith midseason list of the top 30 men’s basketball talent in the nation. After three months of phenomenal college basketball play, several players are distinguishing themselves as reflected in the list.

The midseason 30 list was compiled by the Atlanta Tipoff Club’s Board of Selectors, which based its criteria on player performances from the 2010-11 college basketball season. The Naismith Trophy will be awarded at the 2011 NCAA Men’s Final Four in Houston.

Through the power and ease of text messaging, fan voting will account for 25 percent of all of the final results – more than any other national college basketball award.

Here’s the full list of the midseason nominees

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Why do the Illini have so Little Fight on the Road?

ready for the dance illini

Following yet another disappointing road loss at Northwestern, Illinois Head Coach Bruce Weber talked about what he’s tried to fix their 1-4 in conference play road woes.

“We tried lineup changes, they all want to start, but step up and be a starter, make the plays. Billy (Cole) said it, we got to start the game with shutouts, we got to be determined, we can’t let a team, especially on the road, just jump on us,” he said of his woefully under-achieving Illini team.

It would help if the senior class started living up to their potential, but it was sophomore, Brandon Paul, who gave the media a soundbite Illini Nation would like to hear.

“It’s tough, we keep talking about the same thing, and people get mad, people talk about it, but actions speak louder than words, we got to do something about it,” Paul said.

Very true. It’s Groundhog Day, just like Weber said last Saturday, as the team keeps repeating the same mistakes all over again. Had they bothered to show up for the first 5 minutes of the games at Penn State, Indiana and Northwestern, they easily would have won all three. The final margin of defeat was so small that had Illinois not utterly sleep-walked out of the gate they could be 8-2 instead of 5-5 in Big Ten play right now.

By Paul M. Banks

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Can this Illini Team, specifically the Seniors, Ever Wake Up?

bruce weber demetri mccamey

“We have had people talk to them, and we did everything except electric shock [therapy] to get them going,  Illini coach Bruce Weber said about his college basketball team. “They have to jolt themselves from the inside. We have to be determined and not let a team, especially on the road, jump on us.”

Weber made this comment after his Illini team lost at Northwestern; despite beating the same exact team by 25 points just less than a month ago.

For whatever reason, the Illini can’t seem to put together any type of consistent effort and heart into their play this season; but this problem has actually persisted for the past three seasons.

During those past three years, the Illini have been led by a trio of seniors –center Mike Tisdale, power forward Mike Davis, and point guard Demetri McCamey. This trio looks dubiously poised to finish their collegiate careers with zero NCAA Tournament wins.

That’s a rare feat in Champaign- four years without a tourney win, and it’s unfathomable that a trio with six All-Big Ten selections combined will be a class that “accomplishes” this.

Why? In four years, they just NEVER learn from their mistakes.

By Paul M. Banks

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Where Have You Gone Illini PG Demetri McCamey?

bruce weber demetri mccamey

He was having an All-American second team, All-Big Ten first team type season. At least up until his unhappy visit to Happy Valley. Illini senior point guard Demetri McCamey went (a then uncharacteristic) sub-50% from the field, and committed five turnovers to match his five assists. The Illini lost to Penn State, and the McCamey/Illinois college basketball season slide began.

During the course of his Illini career, McCamey has been criticized for his shot selection, his lack of defense, his immaturity and even his attitude. But in ’09-’10 he learned to carry this team on his back, scoring or assisting on an overwhelming majority of the Illini team scoring.

Sometime between last season to the beginning of this season, McCamey went from being just good to really great. But for the past month or so, he’s been very mediocre at best. And that’s even a stretch.

By Paul M. Banks

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Northwestern Closes Out Illini, Illinois Road Woes Continue

In the second battle between Chicago’s two Big Ten college basketball teams, the outcome was drastically different from the first. Just how much of a disparity?

It would be like comparing the body composition of Illini Center Mike Tisdale (7-1, very svelte) to that of Jersey Shore star Nicole “Snooki” Polizzi (4-8, very squished).

In their first meeting in Champaign, Illinois crushed the Northwestern Wildcats 88-63, in a game that was even more lopsided than that final score reads.

But here at Welsh-Ryan Arena, the ‘Cats knocked off the Illini 71-70. Northwestern Head Coach Bill Carmody was asked if the home/road difference is truly worth 26 points?

“It was to them,” he answered.

By Paul M. Banks

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Illini Crush Penn State, McCamey’s Final Battle with Talor

Two all-star senior point guards meeting for the final time…unless of course they square off in the Big Ten Tournament. But during the four years that Demetri McCamey manned the one for the Illini, and Talor Battle served in the same role for the Nittany Lions, Battle won the war 5-4. This is a substantial aberration, because Illinois has an all-time 22-10 advantage in the series versus  their Big ten rival, if you subtract the last four years.

Both point guards know what it’s like to shoulder an enormous burden on their teams. Especially in 2009-10, these guys were their teams, as Battle led PSU in scoring, rebounding, assists, minutes and steals. Last year McCamey scored or assisted on an exceedingly high and somewhat disturbing percentage of the Illini scoring.

By Paul M. Banks

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Chicago’s Gene Pingatore to Coach McDonald’s All-American Game

gene-pingatore

You might have seen Gene Pingatore, Coach of St. Joseph High School in Westchester, Illinois in the 1994 documentary “Hoop Dreams,” which followed two high school students with dreams of playing in the NBA.

Or perhaps on the Big Ten Network, catching up with former players: 2010 College Basketball Player of the Year and second overall pick in the NBA Draft Evan Turner from the Ohio State Buckeyes; or Illinois Fighting Illini senior point guard Demetri McCamey, a likely first round NBA pick this June.

Now you’ll see him lead the Boys West versus Bob Cimmino Jr. of Mount Vernon High School. The prep head coach in New York will lead the Boys East team.

The four coaches who will lead the top high school talent in the country during the 2011 McDonald’s All American® Games on Wednesday, March 30 at the United Center in Chicago were selected today (The teams will be announced February 10th). Dorothy Gaters of Marshall High School in Chicago will lead the Girls West team while Mary Klinger of Rutgers Preparatory School in Somerset, N.J. will coach the Girls East team.

By Paul M. Banks

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