Sunday, August 17, 2008

The Coming Year of Illini Basketball

With the loss of Jamar Smith for this season, I am looking at a tough year ahead for the Illini in basketball. Many fans seem to be optimistic about a tourney team, but I see this as another rebuilding year. Here's a look at my starting five as the season opens, and the others rotating in:

Starting Five

Rotating In


The problem with this team in the early season, is the guards are defensive-oriented, with the best scorer being McCamey. Guard play could improve when Legion is available in December, assuming he is in the rotation for considerable minutes. In the meantime, we can watch Chester Frazier play shooting guard for the Illini.

The front court is very inexperienced, and one of the main things to watch is how the big men develop, since we do seem to have some potential in guys like Tisdale, Davis and Cole. Winning could be further complicated by troubles in rebounding, particularly blocking out on the defensive end. I am projecting Keller as a starter, mainly because he has the body of a big man who can rebound. If the front court has troubles rebounding, don't be surprised to see Coach Weber play four guards, adding Meacham to the line-up of Frazier, McCamey and Brock. At least we won't have to worry about getting down the court to guard against the fast break...

1 comment:

frankthetank said...

With Jamar gone, I think it will be extremely difficult for us to make the tourney unless Alex Legion is a wunderkind. We'll be a solid defensive team again, but our offense is most likely going to be worse than last year (if that's even possible). Shaun Pruitt was at least a solid (if inconsistent) post player, so with him now gone, there's an inexperienced front court (as you've pointed out) to go along with lackluster guards on offense outside of McCamey (with Legion coming on later in the season). Certainly, I'm hoping for better this year, but realistically we're holding serve until the 2009 recruits come in.