Nov. 1 Illinois basketball chat

Nov. 1 Illinois basketball chat

Wednesday, November 1, 2017 - 12:30pm

This week's chat marks the start of November. It really is basketball season. Illinois has a charity exhibtion at Eastern Illinois on the schedule for Friday. A week later? The season opener against Southern at State Farm Center. What will beat writer Scott Richey be looking for Friday in Charleston? Which players will factor into the starting lineup and rotation? Will Ayo Dosunmu sign next week? What's next for the Illini in recruiting?

Richey will answer these questions and any more you have in his weekly chat set for a 12:30 p.m. Wednesday start. Submit your questions early and often. Oh, and Illini football and volleyball questions are fair game, too.

Scott Richey wrote on November 01, 2017 at 12:11 pm
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A few minutes late starting today's chat because, well, I'm a few minutes late in getting to our downtown News-Gazette Media headquarters. That's right. All print, radio and digital employees under one roof. That's why I just have to walk like 50 feet later today to join Scott Beatty for Sports Talk. Be sure to tune in to WDWS 1400-AM at 5 p.m.

That is, of course, after checking out today's chat. You've got questions. I have answers (or opinions). Let's get to it ...

B-man wrote on November 01, 2017 at 12:11 pm

Is the exhibition game against Eastern Illinois going to be televised or streamed online? If so, can you give us information on how to access any broadcast? I haven't been able to find any broadcast information online and any help you can provide is greatly appreciated!

Thanks!

Scott Richey wrote on November 01, 2017 at 12:11 pm
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B-man,

Friday's Illinois-EIU exhibition will not be televised or streamed. It will, however, be on the Fighting Illini Sports Network. Brian Barnhart and Doug Altenberger will be on the call, and you can listen in on both WDWS 1400-AM and WKIO 107.9 FM (if you're in the Champaign area of course). The radio broadcast is being offered to all FISN affiliates, but I don't have information on all the stations that will air it.

Pistol Pete wrote on November 01, 2017 at 12:11 pm

I've heard lots of coaches say, "We want to use a deep rotation because players will be going so hard that they'll need to come out quickly for a rest." These coaches say they hope to use a 9-10 man rotation. However, this seldom happens or works in actual games, with most coaches settling on a 7-8 man rotation. What did Coach Underwood's playing rotation look like at Stephen F. Austin and Oklahoma State? What do you think he will do with this roster? Why?

Scott Richey wrote on November 01, 2017 at 12:11 pm
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Pistol Pete,

Brad Underwood fairly regularly played a nine-man rotation last year at Oklahoma State and the year before at Stephen F. Austin, and you could make an arugment in both cases a 10th guy got more than just "the game is out of reach one way or another" minutes. So ... there's a fair chance he goes the same route this season at Illinois.

I'm a bit conflicted on rotations that go past eight players. At some juncture, you just need to play your best guys. Last season, Illinois was at its most consistent when John Groce (and then Jamall Walker) eventually shortened the rotation. However, Underwood has won a lot of games his way and made four straight NCAA tournaments. I could have my mind changed.

I could see Underwood going 10 deep this season. Illinois has a lot of interchangeable pieces (at least at guard), so that could lend itself to multiple lineup combinations. You know, keep tinkering until something works the way Underwood truly wants.

Khan El-Sanderz wrote on November 01, 2017 at 12:11 pm

Any more insight in the recent recruiting drama (not that it matters)?  Everyone needs to remember these are just kids and often their parents and advisors act very much like kids.  Given the choice between a 5star PG and wing, I'd take the PG all day long.  Besides, there are always a few players that really blow up their senior year and then become a spring signee.  Now with two scholarships, those late bloomers are available.

  

Scott Richey wrote on November 01, 2017 at 1:11 pm
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Khan El-Sanderz,

I think you hit it on the head with your parenthetical addition. Talen Horton-Tucker is going to Iowa State, not Illinois. Was his path to Ames drama free? Well, no. Everyone has a different story about what actually went down. I sort of imagine the full story is some combination of them all. 

Zekiah Swamp wrote on November 01, 2017 at 1:11 pm

Where is Malcolm Hill playing? 

Scott Richey wrote on November 01, 2017 at 1:11 pm
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Zekiah Swamp,

Malcolm Hill is now playing in Germany for Telekom Baskets in Bonn. That came after a four-game stint for Purefoods Star Hotshots in the Philippines where he averaged 23.5 points, 12 rebounds and 3.2 assists per game. 

Hill is leading Telekom Baskets in scoring at 13.2 ppg, but he's really lighting it up in Champions League action. In those four games, the former Illini is averaging 20.8 points and 3.3 rebounds. Most notable? He's 11 of 18 (61 percent) from three-point range in the Champions League games.

Anonymous Jim wrote on November 01, 2017 at 1:11 pm

What happened with the kid from Finland that visited recently?

Scott Richey wrote on November 01, 2017 at 1:11 pm
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Anonymous Jim,

Finnish wing Elias Valtonen committed to Arizona State in the week after his visit to Illinois. He had visited Bobby Hurley's program before his stop in Champaign.

Love the Illini wrote on November 01, 2017 at 1:11 pm

Do you think the NCAA tourney is a realistic expectation for this year or is that a pipe dream? Also what is up with the horrible home schedule hard to find a non conference game anyone would want to attend? If they want to start filling the State Farm Center again can’t play a bunch of teams no one has heard of. Non conference schedule is embarrassing

Scott Richey wrote on November 01, 2017 at 1:11 pm
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Love the Illini,

I wouldn't call it a pipe dream given the fact Brad Underwood is 4 for 4 on NCAA tournament appearances in his four prior seasons as a head coach and the turnaround Oklahoma State made between late January and March last season. However, I didn't project the Illini in the tournament in our Illinois basketball yearbook (now available for purchase), and I'm not surprised none of the national projections have Illinois in either. It's certainly not going to be an easy path.

Underwood inherited the majority of this year's schedule. While I am high on Grand Canyon and interested in that game, the schedule is a bit light on intriguing nonconference matchups. Somehow I think the interest in the program because of Underwood's hire, Mark Smith's signing and Ayo Dosunmu's commitment will help fill some seats. Big early wins (with an exciting brand of basketball) won't hurt either.

 

UI_NetFan_12 wrote on November 01, 2017 at 1:11 pm

The first set of the UI/Penn State volleyball game was AWESOME!  The team played with confidence and kept at Penn Stat, but couldn't find a way to close the set.  The score (30-28) shows they fought hard.  Then the next two sets - it was like a different team showed up.

If the team that played the first set can play the remainder of the season, we'd have a great season! How can the team build the self-confidence to approach the rest of this season like the first set against Penn State?

Scott Richey wrote on November 01, 2017 at 1:11 pm
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UI_NetFan_12,

Illinois has played like it did in the first set against Penn State on multiple occasions this season. Like against Stanford. Or in the fourth set against Minnesota. The common thread, of course, is the Illini lost those matches. They've hung with the country's best but haven't done so consistently enough. That's the issue. 

Just from talking with some of the team, they know they're right there, and while they're frustrated they haven't gotten over the hump yet there isn't a sense of panic or dread like they never will. They're motivated. And having a leader like Jordyn Poulter (she wants/expects the best of her team) is a good starting point toward turning one of those "almost there" matches into a win against an elite opponent.

Gregg G wrote on November 01, 2017 at 1:11 pm

What do you think this THT mess will do to BU's relationship with the Simeon coaches?

Scott Richey wrote on November 01, 2017 at 1:11 pm
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Gregg G,

It probably doesn't help. I would say that's definitely a relationship that needs repairing. How it's fixed or when it's fixed or if it's fixed is the question moving forward.

Blakeste wrote on November 01, 2017 at 1:11 pm

Richie Rich! I wanna ask you the motives behind the Horton Tucker saga and what conspire it from a recuiting standpoint? Any  leading players involved in the debacle and do it spill on to the travel squads and other parties involved in the twist? How can Underwood and his crew rebound on the recuiting scene without the Titanic hitting the iceburg creating a huge leak that make sink into the abyss?

Scott Richey wrote on November 01, 2017 at 1:11 pm
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Blakester!

Considering I'm not Talen Horton-Tucker or someone close to him or someone involved in Chicago recruiting or someone at Illinois, I can't speak with authority to motives about anything that happened last week. I'd say there's already been plenty of speculation about the situation, wouldn't you? 

As far as what Brad Underwood and Co. can do? Get another commitment. Recruiting is all too often a "Who's next?" proposition. As soon as Illinois gets another prospect on board, the attention of Illini fans will turn.

Kid Rock wrote on November 01, 2017 at 1:11 pm

 

  Scott,   It's looking more & more likely that we won't sign a big man until spring. Do you agree?  The next recruit on my wish list now is EJ Liddell. I believe he will be a tremendous player for whomever he chooses. Are you attending the Illini/Eastern exhibition Friday? If so, I'll keep an eye out for you.  As always, great work with the chats. 

Scott Richey wrote on November 01, 2017 at 1:11 pm
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Kid Rock,

You're right. I would be pretty surprised if Illinois found a 2018 big man in the next week. So spring it probably is, where Illinois' options could be a high school senior, a mid-year transfer (as early as December or January) or a grad transfer after the 2017-18 season is complete.

E.J. Liddell would be a good get for Illinois in 2019. I like his game, and he's been working to add more of a face-up game to his repertoire. You can read more about him in our new Illinois basketball yearbook (now available for purchase).

And, yes, I'll be in Charleston for Friday's exhibition game. Excited for the chance to go "home" for a night.

teachdacc2 wrote on November 01, 2017 at 1:11 pm

Scott,

Thanks as always for the great chats regarding Illini sports mainly BB and VB.  I wonder the responsiblities of the coaches during practice; who handles the various drills?  Various 'non' position activities?  Who is the go to guy for Underwood as his main assistant?  Is one of the coaches responsible for classes or is there a tutor working with them?  

Sorry for all the questions.

Scott Richey wrote on November 01, 2017 at 1:11 pm
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teachdacc2,

When the Illinois basketball team splits up for drills, Jamall Walker and Chin Coleman work with the guards and wings, while Orlando Antigua handles the big men. Brad Underwood circulates through both. All three assistants get involved during full team drills, with Underwood leading the way there. The assistants, though, are the ones that pull a player aside for instruction or physically get involved with the drill to further reinforce a point. From my practice observations, I wouldn't say there's one coach who's a "main assistant." As far as academics go, the players can utilize the services available to them at Irwin Academic Center, which has a staff of 13.

Scott Richey wrote on November 01, 2017 at 1:11 pm
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Looks like that's it for today's chat. Thanks, as always, to everyone that submitted questions (especially the regulars here every week). Chat doesn't go on without you. Be on the lookout for more Illinois basketball and football coverage in the News-Gazette and here at IlliniHQ.com during the next few days. November is here, so we won't be lacking for games to cover and stories to write.

The chat will be back next Wednesday. Same time, same place. Until then, enjoy the week!