Ask N-G prep sports coordinator Fred Kroner about the winter sports
It's time to turn our attention to the winter-sport season, so we will get started with the weekly high school chat. Thanks to all who participate. We appreciate it.
Seems like the UofI basketball team has had a Peoria kid playing on the team for many years now. Do you see anyone from that area getting an offer anytime soon, since DJ will be the last Peoria connection as of now?
Hi Anonymous. It has been quite a streak, hasn't it. I believe you can trace the Peoria Connection back about 20 years, to the early 1990s. Our Illini basketball beat writer, Paul Klee, believes the streak is about to end. If there are to be more athletes from Peoria coming to the UI, it will be a few years down the road, such as in the current freshmen or eighth-grade classes. Even then, we're not aware of any potential prospects in those groups. It has been a nice -- and productive -- run.
Fred,Will Cam Mammen make it to state this year and place?
Hi Bubba. Let me answer that question this way. Cam Mammen no doubt has the potential to make it to the state tournament. He is ranked third in the state this week at 170 pounds in Class 2A, so that gives an indication of how others perceive him. To say that he will do so -- or that anyone will do so -- isn't wise because there are variables outside a person;s control such as injuries and illnesses. Who knows who will be at full strength throughout the tournament weries. You hope that will be the case for everyone, but the best-case scenario isn't always the one that happens.
Fred,Do you think Urbana will finish with a winning record in boys basketball this year and where will they finish in the Big 12?
Hi Bubba. The Tigers are curently 1-4 and play at Champaign Central tonight, which is a game where the Maroons will be favored. Getting to .500 this season will be a huge challenge -- especially for a team without a lot of height inside -- but I think the team can get close. I look for the Tigers to be around 11-12 or 12-11 entering the postseason. Not sure if they can finish in the top half of the Big 12, but I certainly think they could be sixth and challenging for the upper division. Of course, you never know when a team will get hot and on a streak and that could easily carry Urbana to greater heights. They have several very capable scorers. The key is to put everything together at the same time.
That's a wrap for this week. Tnaks to all who've had involvement. We'll be back next week for more questions.