Nov. 9 Illinois basketball chat

Nov. 9 Illinois basketball chat

Thursday, November 9, 2017 - 12:30pm

This is the week. The early signing period begins Wednesday, with Ayo Dosunmu set to sign with Illinois. Then comes the start of the 2017-18 season Friday for Brad Underwood and the Illini. Will they fare better than they did in their charity exhibition against Eastern Illinois? Beat writer Scott Richey is ready to discuss any Illinois basketball questions (plus Illini football and volleyball if you prefer) in his 12:30 p.m. Thursday chat — moved back a day so he can be in attendance for Wednesday's signing day press conference with Underwood, women's basketball coach Nancy Fahey and baseball coach Dan Hartleb.

Scott Richey wrote on November 09, 2017 at 12:11 pm
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Good afternoon eveybody. Thanks for following me to Thursday after yesterday's Signing Day activities on campus. Brad Underwood said he got his guy, Dan Hartleb signed what looks like a good class for Illinois baseball and Mike Small added another Belgian golfer. 

A handful of questions are awaiting, so let's get to today's chat ...

Blakester wrote on November 09, 2017 at 12:11 pm

Richie my man I wanna ask if you catch some news regarding Collin Sexton from Alabama who got suspended this season due to an FBI scandal? Who are the main players behind scenes stirring up this drama to make theselves look good in front of the camera to impress their ilk. You know, the media and the powers that be are making hay off of scandals, coruption and cheating are there to gauge their prestige, protecting their namesake and all that to keep the truth from surfacing. Why our powers to be use the media and their ken as a shield from being held accountable for their end of the deal? When will truth unmask herself?

Scott Richey wrote on November 09, 2017 at 12:11 pm
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I couldn't follow who you think is covering things up in college basketball. If anything, the federal investigation and recent indictments seem to be shedding some more light on the sport. I've read about the Collin Sexton situation, but since I cover Illinois and not Alabama, here's an article from ESPN detailing it more.

Appreciate the weekly interest,

Scott Richey

Elmer Fudd wrote on November 09, 2017 at 12:11 pm

Scott,   Thanks again for your great coverage of Illini sports.   Cautiously optimistic about our Illini Basketball team.     I understand this team is very young,   A question about Kipper Nichols.    Was impressed with his play last year as a freshman as he appeared to do a lot of things well- score, defend, rebound, etc.  Do you think Kipper has the ability to be a star performer for this team?

Scott Richey wrote on November 09, 2017 at 12:11 pm
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Elmer Fudd,

I think Kipper Nichols certainly has some potential to be an impactful player this season. He's got the combination of athleticism and strength that can allow Brad Underwood to play him at the 4 in smaller lineups without giving up a rebounding edge. Nichols can be really physical in the post and battles for boards. If he can shoot it like he did in a smaller sample size last season, all the better for Illinois. The big keys for him right now, though? Rebound and finish strong at the rim.

Ron Wotus wrote on November 09, 2017 at 12:11 pm

Scott, thanks for the chat and your great coverage of Illini sports.   Can't wait for this Illini basketball season to start.   Due to a lack of big men, how do you think this team will fare against the bigger, more physical teams (especially in the Big Ten)?

Scott Richey wrote on November 09, 2017 at 12:11 pm
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Ron Wotus,

Your question is one I've batted around back and forth probably since last season ended. Illinois' bigs are an interesting group. Michael Finke has the offensive potential but with question marks defensively. Leron Black is a bit undersized but still a good rebounder. Matic Vesel just needs to get stronger. Greg Eboigbodin could be the defensive stopper, but he's inexperienced.

Somebody, though, is going to have to guard the likes of Isaac Haac, Reggie Lynch and Nick Ward. That's where Illinois' deny-first defense needs to be on point. Bigs like that can't hurt the Illini if their guards can't get them the ball down low.

IlliniFansincetheSpoon wrote on November 09, 2017 at 12:11 pm

Hey Scott,

Do you expect less subbing in Fri. game vs Southern?

Now that the Illini missed out on their targeted wings/bigs,  could there be a surprise signing?

Scott Richey wrote on November 09, 2017 at 12:11 pm
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I think Brad Underwood will probably use the same number of players in his rotation against Southern as he did against Eastern Illinois. That could prove true throughout the early part of the season. He's looking for which players and which groups of players work the best. Based on the loss to EIU last week, he hasn't found it yet. Underwood also hasn't decided on a starting lineup. That five will dictate, of course, what the bench looks like (i.e. will subbing give the Illini a bigger or smaller lineup).

Considering so few targets remain, I'd say however Illinois' two remaining scholarships are filled will be a surprise. My best guess? They'll go to guys we're not even talking about right now. The real suprise would be if Illinois signed somebody before next week (and the early signing period) ends. That would shock me. Think spring.

Scott Richey wrote on November 09, 2017 at 1:11 pm
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Looks like that's it for today's chat. Be on the lookout this weekend for more plenty more Illinois basketball coverage with the season starting tomorrow against Southern (plus Sunday's game against Tennessee-Martin). As always, thanks to everybody that submitted questions this week.

The chat returns next week. Same time, same place. 

Until then, enjoy the week!