Illini Basketball MVP Thus Far: Sam Maniscalco

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Where would the Illlini be without Sam Maniscalco? What would become of their point guard situation if the three time team captain at Bradley, All-Missouri Valley second team pick wasn’t eligible after his transfer this season? Illinois didn’t play very well, but they did make it three straight wins in the Big Ten/ACC Challenge, and snapped a three-game skid vs. Maryland in the event. It also makes it two in a row versus the Terrapins as Illinois beat them in Madison Square Garden in the Coaches vs. Cancer classic.

The illini won 71-62, largely because of Maniscalco who scored a game high 24 on 6-11 shooting, 5-8 from three. But what the stat book doesn’t show is how critical Sma’s buckets really were. One triple gave them their first lead since the opening minute 42-41 down the stretch. Another trey stretched the lead to 7 inside 8 minutes to go giving Illinois their first semblance of breathing room in the game. And when the Terps cut the lead to 5 with under a minute left, Maniscalco drove to the whole and got a huge bucket.

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Illinois over Illinois State in Cancun Tourney Title PARTY!!! WOO-HOO!!!

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It was an all Land of Lincoln title game in the 2011 Cancun Challenge title game. The Illinois Fighting Illini fell behind the Illinois State Redbirds 49-48 down the stretch but rallied in the end and hung on to win 63-59.

The Moon Place Resort in Cancun, Mexico houses a very small gym which was the setting for the Illini claiming a tournament victory. The cold prairies of Bloomington and Champaign, IL are a very different setting from the warm beaches of Cancun; and these college kids came there for business, to play college basketball, not to drink and sunbathe.

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How’s the Illini Point Guard Situation Coming Along?

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Heading into this season, the Illinois Fighting Illini had some questions to answer at “the one.” Two games in, they still do.  Demetri McCamey, as inconsistent and polarizing as he was, provided minutes and some sense of stability.

The situation was helped this offseason when Bradley transfer Sam Maniscalco became eligible. He provides a steady veteran hand while PG of the future Tracy Abrams gets his feet wet. Brandon Paul and D.J. Richardson can bring the ball up in times of need as well.

And looking ahead in recruiting, the Illini recently added Michael Orris.

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Need a Basketball Fix? Illini Scrimmage in Assembly Hall

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The Illinois Fighting Illini will depart in a few days for an Italian tour that is reminiscent (to me at least) of the film “The Talented Mr. Ripley.” Well, probably no identity theft, fraud and homicide, but the scenery and travel destinations are similar.

Before the tour, which includes a scrimmage against West Virginia at a NATO Air Force Base, the Illini welcomed fans (team partisans) waving fans (cooling devices) into their air conditioningless home, for a good ole-fashioned summer scrimmage.

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Illini Hoops Adds 2 New Players: Maniscalco and Langford

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University of Illinois Fighting Illini officially announced Wednesday the addition of two new players to their college basketball program. Devin Langford of Huntsville, Ala. signed a national letter of intent on the first day of the spring period while Bradley University transfer Sam Maniscalco, a badly needed true point guard, signed a tender of financial aid.

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Bradley University Grants Sam Maniscalco His Release


Updating yesterday’s story on Bradley point guard Sam Maniscalco’s possible transfer, Bradley University has granted the senior his realease and given permission to ten schools to talk to him about his services for the upcoming season.

Under the rules of the NCAA’s graduate school waiver, Maniscalco is allowed to transfer and play next season without sitting out a year as long as, at his new school, he transfers into a graduate program that is not offered at Bradley. [Read more…]

Is Bradley’s Sam Maniscalco Transferring to Illinois?


The University of Illinois has spent most of the week preparing for the Big Ten Tournament in Indianapolis.

Off the court on Thursday, however, they may have gotten the best news that they’ll get before Selection Sunday. [Read more…]