August 17 Illinois Basketball chat

Wednesday, August 17, 2011 - 12:30pm

Talk to Illinois basketball beat writer Paul Klee

NJ Alum — 08:14 AM on Wed, 08/17/2011

Paul, Are there NCAA restrictions that keep the Italy games from being webcast? Before the trip, I sent an email to various DIA employees suggesting that the games should be webcast. I never received a response (poor business etiquette in my humble opinion).

Paul Klee — 12:33 PM on Wed, 08/17/2011

Afternoon everyone. Time for another Illinois basketball chat. The Illini were scheduled tipoff against West Virginia and select military at noon today. Keep an eye out for updates from Aviano. Be here for a short while, fire away.

NJ- There are no NCAA restrictions that I'm aware of, just limited manpower. Derrick Burson's running a one-man show in terms of photos/updates/press releases. There are two student managers on the trip. I'm told one is videotaping the games (for the team's use) and the other is keeping stats and performing other managerial duties. Klee

JESalukIL4ever — 10:09 AM on Wed, 08/17/2011

If we dont get several of the top 2013 & 14 recruits (Nunn to A&M, Parker- U of I doesnt get top 10 or #1 type players) will Jerrance get a shot at running the program? Will this team be in the upper half of the Big Ten and make the NCAA's and win some games?

Paul Klee — 12:51 PM on Wed, 08/17/2011

JE- Seems contradictory doesn't it? If an assistant's focus is recruiting... and recruiting isn't successful... you would hire him as the head coach? Jerrance has been a blessing for Illinois since he returned, and he has strong relationships with the '13 and '14 kids. There are a number of guys they should be able to land. And Jerrance is going to be a head coach at some point. As for your second question, the Big Ten has an extreme amount of turnover and will be difficult to predict as a whole. Illinois is the most difficult team to predict of all of them. Illinois should be in the upper half of the Big Ten, yes, but the Illini will have to find more ballhandlers and improve their outside shooting to get there. Klee

Boulder, CO Mike — 10:20 AM on Wed, 08/17/2011

Klee, how is Leonards knee holding up in Italy? Is Betrand set to have a breakout year, it looks like he's doing well for himself on the tour in Italy. What's going on with Richardson, I would hate for this trip to put him in a preseason slump!! Saw a tweet from Chester that he's heading stateside, hope all is well with his family!

As always thanks for answering my questions and for the Chats!!

Paul Klee — 12:45 PM on Wed, 08/17/2011

Mike- Looks like Meyers' knee is fine. Prior to the tour, he thought he would play in all five games but coaches weren't sure. So it's promising he's been able to play in the first two exhibitions. His numbers aren't outstanding (11 points, seven rebounds in 35 minutes) but I think it's more important that he's been able to go. Joe Bertrand played better in their 10 days of practice than he had in his first two seasons. That was a positive. Coaches told me they wanted to experiment with him in a different way than before - almost as a situational defender/swingman. He's been better without structure. So we'll see. I wouldn't count anyone as a breakout player in August, but these are all positives for him. Worth noting, too, that I'm told Tracy Abrams played a significant role in the New Zealand game, even though it didn't show up as much in the box score. Promising for him, as well. Klee

Pete from Wilmette — 12:24 PM on Wed, 08/17/2011

Paul, what players can you point to from Weber's tenure who have out-played their expectations? Which players have left the program under Bruce's watch having achieved more, or have become better players than was expected when they arrived?

I can think of only a few. If you agree, is that an issue with Weber's skill development, unseen flaws or limitations in the players themselves, or consistently out-sized expectations by fans and "experts" before they arrived? I think I know your answer.

Paul Klee — 12:58 PM on Wed, 08/17/2011

Pete- Off the top of my head and in my time on the beat, Mike Davis, Trent Meacham, Chester Frazier were some of the guys that got significantly better over time. Other guys stagnated. Some of that's on the coaches - their coaching and/or evaluation - some of it's on the players. I think you have to look at it on a case-by-case basis. Some of the guys didn't improve because they didn't work hard enough, and in some cases, that's on the coaches, too. At times I don't think punishments have been tough enough and the players have noticed. Other times you'll have a guy that knows he's going to play regardless of how hard he works - because there isn't enough talent behind him to push him out of the rotation. Hope that helps, moving quickly here. Klee

EJ Jr — 12:39 PM on Wed, 08/17/2011

Why arent you in Italy? Did any reporters go

Paul Klee — 01:01 PM on Wed, 08/17/2011

EJ- That's a News-Gazette decision, not a Klee decision. There are no reporters on the Italy tour. We're hoping to have Derrick Burson from the sports info department on Sports Talk tonight. Hopefully we can get him on the phone. He will be with the team in Venice.

Looks like that's all for today. Lutherfan, send me an email ( with your question, it got deleted. Thanks for stopping by. Klee