April 10 MJ college hoops chat

April 10 MJ college hoops chat

Wednesday, April 10, 2013 - 12:30pm

Will Joe Bertrand be healthy for the 2013-14 season? Who's John Groce going to sign later this month? Why did he have Michigan State as his team to beat in 2013-14? Ask beat writer Marcus Jackson anything on  your mind and he'll do his best to respond during his 12:30 p.m. chat.

Marcus Jackson wrote on April 10, 2013 at 12:04 pm
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Good afternoon and welcome to Illinois basketball chat. Sure doesn't feel like the offseason with some much news popping up daily around college basketball and this program in particular. I'll be here for about the next hour taking you questions, so let's get going.

jhp wrote on April 10, 2013 at 12:04 pm

In the renovated Assembly Hall is the main tv camera going to be any closer to the floor?

It would be nice to be able to see the action better. Also, is the student section going

to be across from the main camera? In the past that area was taken up by premium

seating and a lot of those people never showed up, which didn't look good on tv.

Thanks.

Marcus Jackson wrote on April 10, 2013 at 12:04 pm
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JHP,

I'm not sure if the cameras will be closer to the floor. We'll probably learn more about that as the project develops. The student section will be across from the main camera, so on television, you will see the student section jumping around behind the team benches. When Mike Thomas briefed us a couple of weeks ago on the prjoect, I believe he said the idea is to increase student seating in the lower bowl from 700 to about 1,200.

Kamari wrote on April 10, 2013 at 12:04 pm

Marcus

Will D.J. Richardson make it in the NBA?

Marcus Jackson wrote on April 10, 2013 at 12:04 pm
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Kamari,

D.J. is making a run at the NBA right now and that begins tonight at the Portsmouth Invitational in Virginia where 63 other college seniors are playing in front of representatives from all 30 NBA franchises. At this stage, D.J. is considered a longshot to make it in the NBA, as he's not listed in the top 60 of any of the mock drafts out there.

D.J. told me yesterday he's really been focusing on improving his ball handling and outside shooting. More than likely he will play overseas and have a great career and make a lot of money doing it. If you've ever had the chance to soend any time with D.J., you'd know how great of a guy he is and wish nothing but the best for him. He will make a good career for himself.

CJ wrote on April 10, 2013 at 12:04 pm

MJ,


Great chats and info all season long! Thanks. What are the chances Coach Groce goes after Tarik Black the 6'9" 260 pound center graduate transfer from Memphis? Seems to me he'd be exactly what Illinois is looking for to provide depth in the frontcourt while not taking up a scholarship for 2014-2015. 

Marcus Jackson wrote on April 10, 2013 at 12:04 pm
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CJ,

At this stage Illinois is not involved in recruiting Black. He's a big body, but the Illini are going after Josh Davis, a similar-type player right now.

One thing to consider, that while Black is a physical presense, he might not be a great fit from a chemistry standpoint. Sam McLaurin stepped in last year and his personality and commitment matched the team's. There are plenty of guys out there who could be a good fit physically and you don't want guys coming in disrupting what's being built. Not saying that Black would cause any problems at Illinois, but it's something to think about with all the guys out there looking to move.

john anderson wrote on April 10, 2013 at 12:04 pm

In Coach Groce's offense, what's the difference between the 2 (shooting guard) and 3 (small forward) positions? Which slots are Joe Bertrand, Rayvonte Rice, Kendrick Nunn, and Malcom Hill likely to fit into? What kind of player is Jon Ekey from ISU, that I've seen talk of being a potential transfer?

Marcus Jackson wrote on April 10, 2013 at 12:04 pm
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John,

Ideally they like for the 2 guy to be more of a combo guard who can handle the ball just as well as a point guard and for the 3 to be a guy with maybe a bigger body to overcome any size disadvantage from playing a smaller 2. But for the most part, they're pretty similar. Rayvonte Rice will most likely be the starting 2 next year and Bertrand will be the 3.

Nunn will be more of a 2 and Hill a 3.

John Ekey can really shoot it and he's very good in the system with all the high ball screens. He thrived in that under Tim Jankovic at Illinois State and didn't fit well last year under Dan Muller. He had a great relationship with Paris Parham at Illinois State, too. Defensively, he averaged about a block per game. Illinois has a very good chance to land him and it would be a good get. They need shooters.

ChicagoM wrote on April 10, 2013 at 12:04 pm

MJ,


With the opening of a spots, what about Mike Moser (UNLV) or Tarik Black (Memphis) as big guys that can contribute immediately next year as fifth year transfers? I realize there has to be interest from them as well, but they both seem like they could be solid fits for next season.


 


Thanks

Marcus Jackson wrote on April 10, 2013 at 12:04 pm
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ChicagoM,

I talked a little bit about Black earlier. Haven't heard anything about Moser, but another thing to consider with transfers is that coaches tend to put restrictions on where guys can transfer. For example, a lot of coaches block teams in the conference as well as teams who might be on their schedule in the coming years. Illinois is on UNLV's sechedule next season, so the Illini probably are on the blocked list for Moser.

Moser is likely headed to Washington from things I've heard and read.

EA Sports wrote on April 10, 2013 at 12:04 pm

Hi MJ -


Any inside info on the probability of landing some of the fith year guys we are looking at - Josh Davis, Jon Ekey, Tarik Black?  Any other possibilities that you have heard of?


Thanks for the chats,


EA

Marcus Jackson wrote on April 10, 2013 at 12:04 pm
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EA Sports,

Ekey visited last week. I think Illinois is the front-runner. Illinois is in the mix for Josh Davis. The Tulane transfer is down to Illinois, Gonzaga, Iowa State and Pittsburgh. I don't see Illinois getting involved with Black, though that could change.

At this stage, of the guys available on the fifth-year market, that's it.

Mike L. wrote on April 10, 2013 at 12:04 pm

What effect will the Joe Bertrand surgery have on his preparation for next year?

Marcus Jackson wrote on April 10, 2013 at 12:04 pm
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Mike,

Joe had surgery on Friday to repair the labrum in his right shoulder. The timeframe is about four months before he's cleared for contact, which gets him back on the court some time in August.

He'll be good to go by then. In terms of his development, it shouldn't hinder him much. At this point, Joe is who he is. He'll jump right back in and contribute. With Brandon Paul and D.J. Richardson gone, his role will increase and his production should be a bit of a bump.

HAL 9000 wrote on April 10, 2013 at 12:04 pm

Who was the last Illini freshman to not only crack the starting lineup, but also contribute significantly?  It seems like I see more and more of these players on college teams across the country, but can't recall offhand if Illinois has had any in recent history. 

Marcus Jackson wrote on April 10, 2013 at 1:04 pm
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Hal,

D.J. Richardson started 35 games as a freshman, averaged double figures and was the Big Ten Freshman of the Year. Demetri McCamey started and averaged 8.2 points and better than three assists as a freshman.

Before that, you'd have to go back to 2002-03 when Deron WIlliams, Dee Brown and James Augustine were freshmen to find rookies who had a significant impact.

BrianA wrote on April 10, 2013 at 1:04 pm

What kind of role do you think Morgan will have next season ?

can he come in and get a few rebounds and a put back or two 

Marcus Jackson wrote on April 10, 2013 at 1:04 pm
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Brian,

I think Morgan can come in and provide energy and bring a physical nature to the Illini. Anything he gives in terms of production in points and rebounding will be a bonus. Maybe he can bump into a few guys and get under someone's skin. He's got the ability to get a few rebounds because of his size, but ti all depends on how quickly he can develop and learn the system once he gets here. I think in a couple of years he can be a really good player here.

Jim From Mis-ery wrote on April 10, 2013 at 1:04 pm

Marcus:  What was your take on the officiating during the tournament? It appeared at times  to be like "Saturday nite at the YMCA". As good as the Big 10 was...it appeared in the final assessment that we may have been a little light on bigs with that type of officiating above. Your thoughts? Thanks for the chats.


Jim 


  

Marcus Jackson wrote on April 10, 2013 at 1:04 pm
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Jim,

I thought the officiating was bad in the Louisville-Wichita State game and it was pretty solid in the second semifinal between Michigan and Syracuse. The title game was brutal. They missed the goaltend early in the game that took away a Michigan bucket, Burke's second foul, in which Hancock jupmed three feet to his left to initiate contact with an airborne Burke was really bad, Burke's foul on the blocked Siva dunk was worse. And there were some little things, too. They missed an obvious kick call against Michigan. I could go on.

It's just too bad in the sport's biggest game that the officiating was so blatantly inconsistent and just bad at times.

I don't think the lack of big men was an issue. Indiana didn't lose because it didn't have big men. It lost because they never adjusted to the zone and Cody Zeller didn't show up. Michigan plays a small lineup with Robinson at the 4, but it has big men with McGary, Morgan and Horford. They just elect to play a different way, but Chane Behanan was a monster late in the game for Louisville.

Roadie wrote on April 10, 2013 at 1:04 pm

Is scoring on the decline in college basketball?  That wasn't evidenced in the title game.  We all know about the Whiz kids and other teams from that era that put up quite a few points without a 3 point shot and shot clock.  If scoring is down is this due to better scouting with film, better defense, rougher play, or some other reason?

Marcus Jackson wrote on April 10, 2013 at 1:04 pm
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Roadie,

Scoring is on the decline. I think teams are averaging something like 68 points per game, the lowest average in the last 30 years. Some of it is officiating (you can get away with assault now), some of it is the lack of basic fundamentals possessed by players and a lot of it is the advanced scouting in today's game.

Coaches can watched every game on their computers and tablets and break it down to see clips of every play by a specific player when he drives right, left, etc. Teams scheme to take away the opposition's strengths.

The title game was high scoring because there was only a day to prepare, so there wasn't a lot of time to game plan against everything the other team can throw at you. Also, there were some pretty good offensive players out there putting the ball in the bucket.

RAY L wrote on April 10, 2013 at 1:04 pm

What is the timetable for 5th year seniors to committ and sign a LOI?

Marcus Jackson wrote on April 10, 2013 at 1:04 pm
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Ray,

I'll have to double check this, but I think they fall under the same guidelines of high school players, meaning they can sign from April 17-May 15. I could be off on that. I'll find out and let you know next week for sure.

Cameron wrote on April 10, 2013 at 1:04 pm

Given the importance of the point guard position in Groce's offense what can we expect out of the box from Jaylon Tate next year?  Is it reasonable to assume he can come in and spell Tracy for 5-10 minutes a game and possibly play side by side with him? 


He obviously was a catalyst at Simeon but is he ready for BIG competition?


 


 


 

Marcus Jackson wrote on April 10, 2013 at 1:04 pm
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Cameron,

He's going to have to. As we speak today, Illinois has 11 players for next year's team, so the freshmen will play. Tate is a solid player and wil probably take some lumps early, but he can come in and give a few minutes off the bench. He played at a high level in high school and thrived. I wouldn't expect a ton out of him, or any of the freshmen, but they're going to have to play and learn on the fly.

WI Illini Fan wrote on April 10, 2013 at 1:04 pm

With Louisville winning the National Championship? Do you see more recruits wanting to play for John Groce and his style of play? I see a lot of similarities to the defensive intensity that Louisville plays to what Illinois wants to do.

Marcus Jackson wrote on April 10, 2013 at 1:04 pm
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WI,

It helps Louisville in recruiting that Louisville won a national championship. It might even help Richard Pitino at Minnesota that Louisville won a national championship. I'm not sure if many kids out there are making a connection between what Louisville did and what Illinois is trying to do. A big difference is that Louisville presses for 40 minutes. Illinois isn't doing that, at least not right now.

What should help Illinois is the way the team improved under the new coaching staff and how well it played in the NCAA tournament.

Chief2 wrote on April 10, 2013 at 1:04 pm

MJ,

Why were you wearing an Eastern Illinois hat at the baseball game last night and clapping for them? Doesn't seem right.

Marcus Jackson wrote on April 10, 2013 at 1:04 pm
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Chief,

I got a lot of grief for my hat last night. I enjoyed it. I played at EIU and the coach for whom I played is still there. I know a couple of the players on the team, so I was there supporting my alma mater. No ill will, just being a good alum.

Big-time win for Coach Schmitz and the Panthers last night.

I really like Dan Hartleb's squad, too.

ADR wrote on April 10, 2013 at 1:04 pm

Any chance that another 2014 recruit commits soon?

Marcus Jackson wrote on April 10, 2013 at 1:04 pm
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ADR,

Probably won't see too much movement with the high school kids until the summer AAU circuit begins to wind down. There's a lot of evaluation to be done and games to be played.

Marcus Jackson wrote on April 10, 2013 at 1:04 pm
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That's going to wrap it up for today. Thanks for all the questions. If anything happens in recruiting this week, check back to HQ for an update.

Seton Hall transfer Aaron Cosby will be in town for his official visit starting Thursday. He's down to Illinois and Missouri.