Make suggestions to N-G/HQ sports editor Jim Rossow
Schools are closed, chats remain open.
Some programming notes:
- Two Illinois students, Aaron Facemire and our recruiting blogger Jeremy Werner, spent last Saturday at the Shootout at the Hall putting together video packages of the five Illini recruits who played. We'll introduce one per week, starting with a piece on Brandon Paul that currently is up at HQ. Good, professional stuff. Be sure to check them out.
- The upcoming holiday week means a break in our chat schedule. We won't have any Wednesday, Thursday or Friday, but will resume.
- Want your "Tatelines" book signed by the legend himself. Loren Tate is having a book signing at 11 a.m. Saturday at WDWS on Neil (weather permitting). That's right after his weekly radio show.
On to questions.
Nice Tate article on defending Guenther.
I still don't buy it. I see his points and he makes for a good argument but I still think the schedule is way too tough for a team that's trying to turn the corner. Once we've turned the corner and our primary focus is to get more money and more recruits, then fine. But right now we're trying to win games and go bowling. The scheduling is not helping. Who cares if the games are boring and we lose out on 500k less money? The important thing is we run practice for another month and get a string of winning seasons under our belt.
As our columnist, Loren's job is to share his opinion on all things Illini. As he makes clear in today's column, he's a competitive rascal. I've seen him play softball and know it's true. As far as extra practice, I've always thought that notion was overblown. These guys are working on football year-round as it is. If it's not an official practice, it's the guys on offense working out together without coaches around. Don't think for a second they're taking a break in December just because they're not in a bowl game.
Thanks for the question.
What do you guys miss most about the University of Illinois? What has been your most memorable experience since leaving school?
I'll check with Tate, who's nearby but at the moment interviewing former Missouri coach Norm Stewart for a column that will run Monday. Tate is an Illinois grad who played baseball for a spell.
Any ideas about some of the teams for the next shootout? Abram?
The Champaign Co. Sports Commission works closely with us in trying to identify teams that will attract fans of Illinois basketball. With that in mind, here's who will get invites in 2009:
Waukegan (Jereme Richmond)
Crane (Crandall Head)
Robinson (Meyers Leonard)
Chicago Mount Carmel (Tracy Abrams)
Rock Island (Chasson Randle)
Peoria Central (Antonio Drummond)
Chicago Curie (Wayne Blackshear)
De La Salle (Mike Shaw)
Centennial (Jeff Johnson)
That leaves five teams left, two or three of which will be from our area (Rantoul?).
Of course, the teams have to have openings in their schedules to make it happen.
Either way, I'm sure the field will be loaded again.
Thanks for the question
Jim, do you think the shhootout at the hall can survive drawing the kind of crouds that they are getting? why not have one local rivalry game in it each year such as unity st. joe or tuscola unity. also thanks for the tickets i won to the illini game awhile back. great time.
Great idea about getting rivals to play at the Assembly Hall. Maybe we'll try that next season. In the first Shootout in '06, SJ-O and Chrisman played. Maybe not rivals, but certainly two rabid basketball fan bases in the area.
Can the Shootout survive without huge crowds? As long as sponsorship remains strong (State Farm has come up big) it should be in good shape. Loren Tate wrote earlier this week he was disappointed in the attendance. Hard to argue with him considering the talent that was there.
Glad you enjoyed the game. We'll be giving away two tickets to every home UI men's game. We also have free tickets to the Jan. 3 women's game. Just stop by the N-G to pick 'em up.
Just a thought, considering that these chats are a big hit with everybody (I love them), is there any way that maybe once or twice a month illini hq could have a celebrity chat - say bring in an old player or coach (Lou)?
Probably all wishful thinking but I figured I throw it out there.
Amazing website, we Illini fans are truly luck to have it!
Another great idea. We'll try to follow through.
Which reminds me: a chat request of a couple weeks ago has been answered. The writer wanted a complete list of UI recruits on our "recruiting" page. Earlier this week, we started listing them, from men's basketball to swimming. Be sure to check it out/.
As far as a celebrity chatter, Lou Henson would be a great start. We'll get him in here the first week of January if he's OK with it. We'll make Tate buy him lunch, which would be a first.
A couple signing days ago, UI football assistant Reggie Mitchell chatted live for what then was Illini SportsFacts. Since then, however, the UI has become skittish about breaking NCAA policy. Can't blame them.
Thanks for the kind words. And keep sending us ideas.
I read somewhere that Bill Cole is transferring?? I hope it is just a rumor.
Thanks for checking in. I reached Klee, who's A) recuperating from all his work on Tracy Abrams B) counting the number of stories he's written on Alex Legion (check out our Ode To Alex compilation on HQ, C) trying to come up with an angle for the Detroit game and D) prepping for today's appearance on Steve Kelly's WDWS show at 5 p.m.
Here's what Klee says about Billy Cole....
At one point rumors had Calvin Brock transferring. And then rumors had Richard Semrau transferring. Both will play Saturday when Illinois hosts Detroit. Maybe Bill Cole will transfer, but he's given no indication that's the case at this point.
Here's what Bruce Weber told Klee, who asked him about Bill Cole earlier this week:
"Some other guys have stepped up," Weber said. "I have nothing against Billy. I like Billy. He's kind of an in-betweener. He's a 3, he's a 4. He has trouble guarding a 4 physical inside, he has trouble guarding a 3 quickness outside.
"And yet he's still smart, he knows how to play. He has some skills out on the court. He has to keep working at it. You never know. A lot of things can happen: flu, injuries. I hope it doesn't happen, but we've learned that it can happen. Hopefully he can get himself in the mix."
I have been hearing a lot about how the attendance at the Hall is down. Do the Illini fans know how good they have it? I grew up there and now live in Colorado where College Hoops is terrible. Illini Nation you should be thankful for what you have!
Don't expect big crowds for the next two home games (Detroit, Eastern Michigan). If the home Big Ten opener doesn't pack the place (Indiana), then it's time to panic.
Klee, a Denver type, agrees that college hoops is his home state is in disarray. And Patton certainly hasn't helped Northern Illinois. Don't get him started on the Nuggets, though.
Will Legion start Saturday
First he has to become eligible, which Bruce Weber says he'll hear about Saturday.
Next, he'll come off the bench. This from Klee's story Thursday:
Legion admitted there would be some nerves when he comes off the bench Saturday.
"It's sort of like my freshman year. I only played six collegiate games (at Kentucky)," said Legion, who averaged 6.7 points, 1.8 rebounds and 17.5 minutes in those games. "So I'm going to be nervous because it's my first time (at Illinois). It's my seventh college career game. I don't expect too much. Just to go out there and help the team and whatever."
The nerves surfaced in the last three practice sessions at Ubben Basketball Complex, as Legion missed a number of shots that he normally makes. But he has played on big stages before
Thanks for the questions. Be sure to check out our "12 days of stories" series that runs through Christmas. Some really good writing by our beat writers.