Illinois fans will have reason to stay tuned to the Big ten Network following Sunday’s game against Minnesota. The BTN original series “The Journey: Big Ten Basketball” will feature a segment this week showcasing Illini senior guard D.J. Richardson.
The production crew spent some time with Richardson this week and the feature will center around the Peoria pipeline at Illinois that started with Jerry Hester in the early 1990s. Since Hester suited up for the Illini, there has been a Peoria product on the Illinois roster every season. That will end when the season ends with Richardson.
“From talking to the people in Peoria, it sounds like it might be a couple more years because they’re not sure what kind of talent they have there right now,” “Journey” producer Bill Friedman said. “D.J. shares the pride that a lot of those guys do. It’s a great basketball town when you look at all the talent they’ve put at major schools from A.J. Guyton (Indiana), Howard Nathan (DePaul) and David Booth (DePaul).”
The most recent examples of Peorians on the Illinois roster include Bill Cole, Brian Randle, Jerrance Howard, Sergio McClain, Marcus Griffin and Frank Williams.
Friedman compared Illinois’ Peoria pipeline to the Flint pipeline that Michigan State had going for a while.
“They’re similar cities in that they’re about the same size in a state where there’s a much bigger metropolitan area that puts out a lot of talent,” Friedman said. “These guys win a bunch of state championships and they put out a lot of D1 talent and that’s what Peoria is.”
The segment will feature interviews with Hester and Peoria sports anchor Jim Mattson.
They will also show highlights from Thursday’s win against No. 1 Indiana, where Richardson played a key role down the stretch for the Illini, scoring eight straight points to tie the game.
A teaser video if Richardson has been released. You’ll notice how many pairs of shoes Richardson has. He keeps a bunch in his kitchen pantry.