Each Tuesday, prep sports coordinator Fred Kroner takes your questions, which can be submitted any time. Fire away!
Good afternoon. It's another Tuesday, so it must be time for the weekly prep chat, so here we go! Thanks to all who have participated.
Explain to me how the # 10 basketball team in the country is not on TV tonight? The internet feed is usually poor to bad.
Hi Rico. First, the good news. This is the final Illini men's basketball game of the season that will NOT be televised. Decisions are made on games -- in most cases -- weeks in advance. Not even sure Illinois was in the top 20 when this was decided. Can't blame those in charge. A game vs. Norfolk State, even though it had a monumental win last year vs. Missouri, doesn't exactly get people salavating. With college basketball happening virtually every night of the week, there are plenty of choices for games to be on the airwaves. At the time decisions were made, this one didn't make the cut. It is available through espn3. From what I understand, its feed is usually pretty good.
Fred,Urbana Basketball is 4-3 right now. How do you think they will do this year?
Hi Tom. With the exception of the Collinsville Tournament and a mid-January game at Charleston, all of the rest of the Tigers' boys' games are against Big 12 Conference teams. I think Urbana can be in the top half of the league, so with the 4-3 start, I think a record right around .500 is realistic for the regular season. The factor that could change things would be injuries. The team is already dealing with Marcus Catchings being sidelined, and now Michael Thompson is banged up. A team only has enough depth to compensate for the absence of a limited number of players. If more players go out, I would have to revise my prediction. But assuming the Tigers stay healthy and that Catchings is able to return in a few weeks, I think a .500 season, or better, is realistic.
Fred,do you know what is going on at Champaign Central in regards to there football coaches? Being my son was a coach there last year he said all the coaches had to reapply if they wanted to be back next year including the head coach who was given the head job as interim last year. I know my son ansd the interim head coach are running the weight room regardless of who is named the head coach. Central reminds me of the Urbana 0-9 team of 4 years ago.If yoy don't get your coaches lined up right away and wait to Spring you will have a hard road to climb. Naming another head coach will just make it harder for the kids to buy in to the program. You don't give a head coach 1 year to get things right or bring in someone from the outside. They have tried that approach unsuccessfully. It takes 3-4 years to get your program back where it should be. A.D. Woods needs to get things on track and not set back and wait for an Urban Meyer to step in. Stay in house and get on with the future.
Hi Tom. I haven't heard lately where the search stands. I understand having all of the coaches re-apply. If a coach is brought in to head up the program from the outside, he wouldn't want to be locked into an entire staff that had already received commitments to return. I think the lateness of Ira Jefferson's resignation last year (May, I believe) was the reason they went with an interim. The school recognized it would be difficult to conduct a search and get a replacement in prior to the end of that school year. I assume the search has been ongoing since this school year started, or at least has gained steam since the high school season ended. The question now becomes, who is interested and can they fit them into the faculty somewhere. If you're talking about a person from the outside, they're not going to want to coach here strictly as a coach (assuming they are also a teacher). I agree that the program needs some stability and I would hope that whomever is hired will retain at least a portion of the current staff. I don't think you can make an accurate judgment on how the staff this year fared based on an 0-9 season. One of the top backs, Tim Turner, was hurt early in the season and then things took a downward spiral. I don't blame the Central administrators a bit for looking to see who is interested. Maybe they will find someone with better credentials. Maybe, too, they will find the ideal candidate is already within the school district. Stay tuned.
Fred,have you heard of any players other than Cam Mammen from Urbana having gotten any interest to play football at some level? I do know Mikshad Townsend has been asked to visit Lindenwood in Missouri I believe a Division 2 School. I don't know of any other players from Urbana playing at the next level.
Hi Tom. I know for sure that Josh Pratt is hoping to continue his playing career in college. The last I heard, he had not committed anywhere. Beyond Pratt, Townsend and Mammen, not sure how many others are interested in going on. I could see someone like a Tanner Laznik or a Devon Williams playing somewhere like a Eureka College or a Monmouth College. Generally, the young people who are truly passionate about wanting to continue playing can find an opportunity somewhere, whether its as a walkon where they need to prove themselves or at a smaller school where they might contribute quicker. Certainly in another year, Tanner Russell will have the chance to play further, in one sport or another.
Do you feel the ruling by the IHSA on the Mooseheart players is good for high school basketball?
Hi Bob. I think it's the right thing for this particular situation. The three young men are allowed to play the regular season and the school is not allowed to compete for a state championship. The IHSA made it clear that people who come through this particular program in the future will not be eligible. I'm glad to see that some cases are looked at on a case-by-case basis as opposed to a blanket, one-rule-applies-to-all ruling. As I understand it, these young people had already been here for a full year. Allowing them to play the remainder of this season, was the right thing to do in this instance.
That's a wrap for this week. We'll be back next week for another chat, then taking two Tuesdays off for the holidays. Thanks again to all who participated. It's much appreciated.