Friday, May 25, 2007

Rivals Ranks 2007 Recruiting Classes

The Illini class of 2007 is ranked #29 in the country based on the latest listing on Rivals.

This seems low for this class, but you never know.

Thursday, May 24, 2007

Go Directly To Jail

Jamar Smith is now in jail, having pled guilty to a felony DUI. He is expected to serve a two week sentence for his crime. Coach Weber had little to say about his future prospects, but the stories do shed light on his shooting slump last year. While the popular theory was that he couldn't hit shots because of his bad ankle sprain, a better theory is his diet of "A pint of Jose Cuervo tequila three times a week and marijuana." It is amazing he was able to get out of bed to go to practice, let alone shoot a basketball. And this alcohol consumption is going into a thin body without much weight. Not to mention free throw shooting with the shakes. Articles on this story:

Daily Illini


I have been of the opinion that Weber should try to keep Smith on the team, but given these revelations of his addictions to alcohol and drugs, I would let him go. He might have a chance to resurface at Bradley or some other mid-major.

Sunday, May 20, 2007

Deron Williams scores career-high 34 on Spurs

Although the Jazz lost game one, Deron Williams showed why he is one of the top point guards in the NBA this year, scoring 34 points in this losing effort. Deron had 9 assists as well, and was the outstanding player of the game in my opinion. Boozer, Okur and Kirilenko had sub-par games, but the toughness shown in the fourth quarter bodes well for Utah in this series. Game summary

Dee Brown did not play today for the Jazz.

Interview with Roger Powell

The Utah Jazz cut Roger Powell during the season, and probably wish they had his scoring ability in the playoffs, since he led the NBA Development League in scoring in his time with the Arkansas Rimrocks. An interview with Roger Powell about his plans is here.

Roger won an award for sportsmanship as well, discussed here.

Roger was also named honorable mention on the All NBA Development League team, article here.

Dee Brown ready for Conference Finals, Spurs

Dee Brown's neck is still stiff, but he is ready to play in the Conference Finals against the Spurs. Here's an article with an update on Dee.

Saturday, May 19, 2007

Utah (Illinois) Jazz to play Spurs

The Spurs won their second round of the playoffs last night against Phoenix, and move on to play Deron Williams and Dee Brown of the Utah Jazz. Some say that Tim Duncan and Tony Parker will be too much for the Jazz, who feature D-Will and Carlos Boozer as key threats. After watching most of the Jazz Warriors series, I'm not sure. The Jazz are tough, balanced, and play disciplined basketball for Coach Sloan, so I am giving them a good chance to upset the Spurs. The Williams Parker match-up will be interesting to watch for Illini fans. Williams outplayed Baron Davis overall in the recent series, even though most "experts" expected Davis to walk all over the second year Jazz guard. The Jazz have good size, so it will be interesting to watch them match up in the post.

Matthew Humphrey likely to commit soon

Matt Humphrey is a 6'5" shooting guard from Hales Franciscan in Chicago, rated 4 starts by the recruiting services. My sources indicate he could be the first verbal commitment for Illinois' 2008 class. Other rumors have mentioned that Liggins or Shumpert might be the first ones, but this is the latest. Weber has lots of offers out to top prospects, so it will be interesting to see who wants to commit first.

Further information on him is here.

Tuesday, May 15, 2007

Dee Brown is back playing for Jazz

It was nice to see Dee Brown back playing for the Utah Jazz tonight, as they closed out the second round series against the Warriors. Dee Brown looked like he has recovered from his neck injury. Deron Williams had a tough night for a change, but the Jazz still won.

Great Scout Story on Illini Recruits 2008 and 2009

Here is a nice story covering the Illini recruiting of prospects from the 2008 and 2009 classes. While there have been no commitments to date from these classes, the coverage tends to be optimistic on Illini inroads and outlook for these classes. It will be exciting to watch what happens with the 2008 class, which could be spectacular.

Sunday, May 13, 2007

Deron Williams and Jazz put away Warriors

It was another great night for Deron Williams, who scored 20 points tonight and had 13 assists as the Jazz defeated the Warriors in game 4, 115-101 in Oakland. Boozer, Fisher, Williams and Co. had the Warriors so frustrated that Baron Davis hit Derek Fisher with an apparent blind-sided elbow to the head that shook him up for while. (Let's see what the league does after they review the replay...did not look accidental to me.) Later, Okur goes in for the dunk and Richardson makes a flagrant foul and is ejected from the game. The boxscore explains the cheapshots by the Warriors, with Baron Davis outplayed again by Williams, and Richardson struggling to get 7 points in 33 minutes tonight.

Dee Brown must still be injured since he did not play again tonight.

Thursday, May 10, 2007

Dee Brown going to Oakland, Day-to-Day

According to the Salt Lake Tribune, Dee Brown is going to travel with the Utah Jazz to Oakland, CA. He is apparently OK, and is wearing a neck brace and getting treatments for his neck. He may play again later in the series, but right now is consider day-to-day.

Terrence Jennings Now Lists Illini as Possible School

Illinois now listed in his top three schools, the list has changed since this video was made.

Wednesday, May 9, 2007

Illini Scholarships (Available by Year)

Weber enjoys Utah Game

There was a nice story in the Tribune today about Bruce Weber's visit to Salt Lake City to watch the Utah playoff game starring Deron Williams and Dee Brown. It is a nice boost to Weber's program to see all five guys doing well in the NBA or developmental league.

Tuesday, May 8, 2007

Weber going after Trey Thompkins

According to a new story in Scout, Bruce Weber has changed his recruiting tactics and is now going after a top notch recruit named Trey Thompkins.

Thompkins is a 6'8" 220 pound power forward, who is currently ranked by Scout as the sixth best power forward in the country. He is also blessed with a five star rating in Scout. Profile is here.

Rivals Recruit Rankings for Class of 2008

Rivals has their newest rankings for class of 2008 recruits and quite a few possible Illini recruits are listed in the top 150:

Terrence Jennings - #9
DeAndre Liggins - #18
Darius Miller - #29
Iman Shumpert - #41
Michael Dunigan - #59
John Brandenburg - #63
Dashan Harris - #69
Scott Suggs - #72
Matt Humphrey - #74
Stan Simpson - #83
Josh Crittle - #95
Verdell Jones - #102
Paul Williams - #127
Lewis Jackson - #139

The above list is courtesy of the Illinois Loyalty board. The Rivals listing is free and is located here.

Monday, May 7, 2007

Deron Williams and Dee Brown help Utah roll over Warriors

Deron Williams showed why he is one of the top point guards in the NBA tonight, scoring 31 points and handing out 8 assists in Utah's playoff win over the Golden State Warriors. Deron played against Baron Davis for much of the game and held his own against the outstanding point guard. Dee Brown actually played some important minutes during the game and scored 6 important points, including a fast break layup against two defenders to tie the game late. Dee looked solid as a backup for Deron and played with Deron at some points to give Utah more quickness against the fast-breaking Warriors. I expect Dee Brown will see more action in this series due to his quickness and excellent defense against Baron Davis.

After some stellar plays by Deron and Dee, the TNT cameras showed Illini Coach Bruce Weber in the stands enjoying the game. He must be really proud to see two of his three guards on the floor for the Jazz.

Saturday, May 5, 2007

Deron Williams moves to second round against Warriors

Ex-Illini guard Deron Williams helped get the Utah Jazz to the second round of the playoffs tonight, with 14 assists and 20 points in the game. Carlos Boozer was the big scorer for the Jazz, with 35 points and 14 rebounds. It was another disappointing loss for Houston, with the efforts of Yao Ming and Tracy McGrady just not enough.

It will be interesting to see how the Jazz match up with the Warriors, who have been very impressive during the playoffs this year, sporting a ultra-quick line-up by going small. The Jazz seem like they enjoy playing an inside and outside game, so hard to tell who will have the upper hand.

Friday, May 4, 2007

Rising Stars of 2008, Rivals Update

DeAndre Liggins is now a five star recruit according to Rivals, which means a top 25 player. Illinois was recruiting him early, so maybe this young man will change Bruce Weber's basketball program with a verbal commitment this year.

Wednesday, May 2, 2007

Scout moves Alexander to Four Star Status

Well, Rodney Alexander is now shown as a four star recruit on the Scout website, so the Illini class of 2007 is looking better today. It is almost certainly a top 25 class now with two recruits rated four star (McCamey is the other. If Watkins is changed to four star, we have a really strong class for those people who follow the stars.