December 2004

December 2004

Bleill: Illini seniors grab Tigers by the tale

St. Louis

As a prep star in Valrico, Fla., Illinois center Nick Smith didn''t know the Braggin'' Rights from the Miranda rights.

Some return home after evacuations

PARIS, Ill. – Barbara Carter was sharing experiences with neighbors at the Crestwood School around noon Wednesday after being evacuated due to a chemical spill near her home in the Payne subdivision.

"There was a pretty good rap on the door," said Carter, 80. "They briefly explained that there had been a train derailment and that we needed to leave. Then a firetruck with a bullhorn came along and told everyone to get out immediately."

Who''s that Illini?

I played for the Illini from 1945 through 1948 after starring at Elgin High School. I captained UI''s team as a senior and also was the MVP. Only Dike Eddleman scored more points than I did during the 1947-48 season, a campaign in which I earned second-team All-Big Ten honors. When it came to shooting free throws, none of my teammates shot as well as I did. I stayed in basketball after leaving Illinois, playing in the NBA for three seasons, then I coached prep ball at Evanston High for 25 years. Today I live in Glenview and celebrate my 78th birthday.

Zook adds Big Ten help

Reggie Mitchell, who helped Michigan State land prized recruit Charles Rogers, was hired as an assistant by new Illinois coach Ron Zook.

A running backs coach and recruiting coordinator for the Spartans, the 43-year-old Mitchell is the fifth assistant on Zook''s staff.

Tiger tangles

Tonight''s Braggin'' Rights game is the 24th since Illinois and Missouri took their series to St. Louis. A look back at the first 23:

Who''s that Illini

I was one of the University of Illinois'' famed Whiz Kids, lettering four seasons over a six-year span. Like many of my teammates, I served in World War II and fought in the Battle of the Bulge. Only 10% of us survived that deadly battle. On the court, I was known as a brilliant floor leader and as the team''s most tenacious defender. The first two Illini teams on which I played won back-to-back Big Ten titles under Coach Doug Mills. After graduating, I played 118 games in the NBA and scored 726 points. I died in 2000, and today marks the 82nd anniversary of my birth.

Groups fighting agency layoffs

SPRINGFIELD – Bill Wengelewski has worked as a natural resources coordinator at Starved Rock State Park for seven years, leading guided hikes, impersonating a 17th-century French voyageur and teaching 20,000 students and countless members of the public about history, ecology, snakes, rocks, insects, trees and wildlife.

"Much of what I've done has been hands-on things that the teachers themselves are unable to do," he said. "We're talking about science and math scores dropping. I'm frustrated because here I am teaching science in a hands-on way, and that's not valued."

Mizzou unable to escape woes on, off the court

ST. LOUIS – The 2-ton burden Quin Snyder carries around now was in its infancy a year ago.

Yes, the Missouri coach had an upsetting loss to Gonzaga on his early-season resume.

Tate: Missouri, coach look to keep their guard up

"What we need is some of the dust Santa Claus tosses on his reindeer."

– Mizzou coach Quin Snyder

Tirtiaux making impression

NORMAL – Tuesday probably was Sophie Tirtiaux''s final chance to play against Illinois. And while her Illinois State team made obvious progress in an 82-72 loss to the Illini at Redbird Arena, Tirtiaux didn''t receive any playing time.

The senior from Belgium, who played high school ball for coach Aimee Smith at Urbana, isn''t in coach Robin Pingeton''s doghouse. The ISU coach is thrilled with the way Tirtiaux has come along.