Practice Report

  • PARTY TIME: Tonights Illinois-Bradley game tips off at 7 p.m., but the party starts at 4:30 that afternoon for Braves fans. Theyll gather at Jillians for a pregame bash thats open to anyone. Cost is $10 and includes food and drinks. Bradleys bringing close to 1,500 fans, many of them coming on 11 Peoria Charter Coach buses. Ive been here 22 years and weve never had close to 10 buses anywhere, Bradley sports information director Joe Dalfonso said. Unless youre talking about the 82 NIT finals in New York. And we flew there. n CENTER OF ATTENTION: Marcus Griffin continues to beat up the junior college competition, the Illinois recruit on Saturday winning MVP honors at Lincoln Colleges Graue, Inc., Classic. Griffin had 19 points and 16 rebounds in the championship game, a 56-32 Lincoln rout of Hannibal-LaGrange (Mo.) Colleges JV team. He had 26 points in Lincolns opener, an 82-78 squeaker over Black Hawk. Griffin was joined on the all-tournament team by a couple of his former Peoria Manual teammates: Illinois Centrals Ivan Watson and Kahlil Gayton.
  • BACK TO BUSINESS: One bright spot from Wednesdays 86-83 loss to the NBC Thunder was Jerry Hesters night. Not so much the stats (6 for 17, 18 points, seven boards), but the way he moved. Earlier in the week, Kruger wondered aloud if Hesters surgically repaired back was still bugging him. He competed for some good looks offensively and even though he didnt get some of them down, I was really pleased to see him get the position where the shots were available, Kruger said. He hasnt done that for a while and I think he was a little surprised how open he was.
  • WHATEVER HAPPENED TO ... TYLER PETERSON? The 7-foot Iowan, who in 1994 chose Iowa State over Illinois and North Carolina, left the Cyclones after one season and has since resurfaced at Northern Iowa. Peterson, who averaged 1.5 points and 0.8 rebounds in 4.7 minutes as a freshman, becomes eligible at the start of the second semester.
  •  By Jeff DAlessio

    ILLINI PROFILE: VICTOR CHUKWUDEBE

       Year/Age: Sophomore/19

       Hometown/School: Springfield/Lanphier

       Major: Finance

       Favorite athlete(s): Shawn Kemp, Hakeem Olajuwon         Favorite movie: Friday

       Favorite TV show: Martin

       Favorite book: Black Boy

       Favorite musical artist(s): Tupac Shakur, Blackstreet

       Favorite campus hangout: The Illini Orange

       Favorite professor: Fred Gottheil, economics

       Hobbies: Playing cards, listening to music

       Career highlights: Getting to the second round of the NCAA tournament my freshman year and winning at Indiana

       Best player Ive ever faced: Former Pekin High School star Matt Moran, whos now at Bradley

       If I could meet one person, itd be ... Lisa Paddock, my third-grade music teacher at Matheny Elementary in Springfield. She opened my mind to different types of music. She got me playing the piano, the trumpet. She made me a well-rounded person. I havent seen her in a long time

       What people dont know about me ... Im probably the most competitive person youre going to meet

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