Anthony Zilis

Anthony Zilis

'It was really surreal to be in that atmosphere'

CHAMPAIGN — State Farm Center was empty the day before the National Intercollegiate Wheelchair Basketball Tournament, save for the Illinois men's and women's teams.

But Illinois coaches Matt Buchi and Stephanie Wheeler wanted their players to experience it as if it were full.

Wheeled wonders: 1969-70 wheelchair-basketball champs reminisce about team

CHAMPAIGN — Kim Pollock was excited when he enrolled at Illinois in 1966, and with good reason.

After all, he was set to join the Illinois football program as a manager, just like he had done in high school. He couldn't actually play sports, he was always told, after his legs were damaged because of the polio he contracted as a child.

But this was the next best thing.

This week at State Farm Center: world-class wheelchair basketball

All his life, Gabe DenBraber was told to try wheelchair basketball. But as a seventh-grader, he wanted no part of it.

The spina bifida that afflicted him from birth, after all, hadn't stopped him from playing and succeeding at able-bodied baseball to that point. But after a surgery failed and his legs grew too weak to support his upper body, he begrudgingly decided to give it a try.

Student quartets working with pros? 'Yeah, we're excited'

URBANA — They had played on much bigger stages in front of larger crowds, but a small assembly of chairs set on the stage of the Krannert Center's Tryon Festival Theatre had the four members of the East Central Illinois Youth Orchestra's Honors String Quartet especially jittery.

Parkland coach's old-school standards whip team into winning shape

CHAMPAIGN — It may seem radical in a day and age when communication is more prevalent and all-consuming than ever, but Parkland men’s basketball coach Anthony Figueroa didn’t care.

This season, Figueroa decided to take cell phones away at team meals and at curfew in the team hotel. 

UI's club hockey team plays for the love of the game

Walking down Fourth Street around 10 p.m. a few Saturdays ago, seniors Tyler Opilka and Mike Turek would have looked out of place in their suits and ties were it not for the dozens of their Illinois club hockey teammates streaming out of the University of Illinois Ice Arena.

UPDATE: Monticello native's adopted Haitian son granted visa

Update 12:05 p.m. Wednesday:

Congressman Rodney Davis' office said the Parker family was granted a visa Wednesday morning.

More to come.


Original story:

A Life Remembered | Helping orphans in Haiti became Tim Parker's life

Just a few days before a tiny 6-month-old baby named Jamesley was brought to God's Littlest Angels orphanage in 2012, Tim Parker had been joined by his wife and daughter at his home on the Haiti orphanage's compound.

Critical coverage: Red hats warm infants while highlighting heart health

URBANA — What started as yarn picked up by Illinois National Bank employees and customers — as well as in Brigitte Pieke's knitting shop, Klose Knit — was delivered to Carle Foundation Hospital on Wednesday as a variety of small red hats for babies.

Orange Krush | After long wait, students enjoying late ride

CHAMPAIGN — Peyton McClure and Cole Swearingen both sat in the Orange Krush section behind the Michigan State bench Tuesday night, hassling the Illinois basketball team's opposition — like they do every game.

Their energy has been constant despite a lean year, leading to numerous appearances on the Jumbotron.