Shaw, Langford, Djimde leaving Illini

Shaw, Langford, Djimde leaving Illini

CHAMPAIGN — Three Illinois players with eligibility remaining — Mike Shaw, Devin Langford and Ibby Djimde — will not return to the program for the 2013-14 season.

The moves will free up three scholarships for Illinois.

Shaw, a sophomore from Chicago’s De La Salle, played in 14 games this past season, averaging 3.6 minutes per game. The 6-foot-8 forward scored a total of 12 points with 11 rebounds.

Shaw played in 20 games as a freshman, scoring 17 points with 37 rebounds in 7.0 minutes per game.

“When I met with the coaches, we came to the decision that it would be a good idea for me to leave because of how much I was playing and what it might be in the future,” Shaw said Friday morning by phone. “I want to play. I appreciate everything they’ve done for me, but I’ve got to do what’s best for me.”

Langford, a 6-7 redshirt freshman from Huntsville, Ala., played in 22 games this past season, totaling 10 points and 18 rebounds in 4.3 minutes per game.

Djimde, a 6-8 sophomore from Mali, who played his high school ball at West Virginia’s Huntington Prep, played in 11 games this past season and had two points and three rebounds while playing 1.7 minutes.

Djimde played in 17 games as a freshman with five points and 14 rebounds in 3.6 minutes.

It’s unclear where Shaw Langford or Djimde will transfer, but all are expected to continue playing basketball. If they continue at the Division I level, each would have to sit out a year. All would have two years of eligibility remaining.

“I’m not sure where I will end up yet, I’ve got a couple places in mind, but I’m not for sure yet,” Shaw said.

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JDG613 wrote on March 29, 2013 at 12:03 pm

Unfortunate that we're losing these three, especially with the loss through graduation of 4 seniors....  There would undoubtedly have been more playing time for these 3 next year.  BUT, having said that, it's also hard to be critical of their desire for more playing time, and if it doesn't look like they'll get it here, it's understandable that they'd look elsewhere.

Best of luck, guys!!!  Sorry you won't be part of the UI's coming success, but hope you find a good landing spot, and will be successful in another opportunity!

IlliniMike05 wrote on March 29, 2013 at 12:03 pm

Not unfortunate. Necessary. They weren't doing anything for Illinois or themselves, and it was time to move on for all parties. Best of luck, they all seem like good kids. But now we can make a run at a program-changing 2014 class (not that there was ever a chance we wouldn't have those schollies open, but now we know for sure).  

aaeismacgychel wrote on March 29, 2013 at 4:03 pm

I'd say it's both unfortunate and necessary and that those terms aren't mutually exclusive. The fanbase did have a pretty good idea this was coming and for Illinois to have a 2014 recruiting class, they needed to open up scholarships. Shaw, Langford, and Djimde were the casualties of this. While I agree this is the best for all parties and necessary, I would also agree that it's unfortunate that we must take this option. I'm just not a fan of schools and coaches doing this in general. Yes it's legal and just another part of recruiting in this era, but it's not something to smile on. I truly do think that at least today, this is a sad day for Illinois fans. When these kids find their new schools, I'll be happier and of course wish them success. But I can understand Illini fans not being all gung-ho about this (not that I'm saying you are- you're simply telling it how it is). At least for today.

IlliniMike05 wrote on March 29, 2013 at 4:03 pm

Well, yeah, I certainly agree that something being unfortunate and necessary aren't mutually exclusive. Good point there. Bad wording on my part.

It's not that I'm gung-ho about it; I take no joy in three seemingly good kids having to leave. I just accept that it's a reality. Hundreds of kids transfer every year. It doesn't mean anyone did something unscrupulous.

Bottom line: players want to play, and very few kids who have the physical capability to contribute somewhere in Division I- which all three of these kids do- are going to be happy sitting on the bench anywhere. I feel bad for them if they were otherwise happy in C-U, but it was a necessary move for all parties.



Illini1973 wrote on March 29, 2013 at 12:03 pm
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lmaran wrote on March 29, 2013 at 12:03 pm

I have been afraid all season long that this was going to be how the story would end with the three players involved, and my hunch has always been based on the fit with the other players, and with the ones coming in next year. Granted that we know little about the incoming players, still the fact remains that they are certain types of players, and that they have had a year to watch and plan on fitting into how Coach  Groce  wants to play. sadly, what I project for next year doesn't show how these guys would fit better. Frankly, I never quite saw how they might fit into Weber's plans either.

I wish them the best, and I say this with a sense of regret that they invested two years at Illinois, and that things did not become clearer for them about how they could still fit in. 



uswtmb47 wrote on March 29, 2013 at 1:03 pm

It's a shame these three didn't develop like we had hoped.  I wish them the best of luck.  This opens the door for Groce and his staff to go hard after Okafor and Alexander.  It'd be nice to get at least one of them.

Dan Bloeme wrote on March 29, 2013 at 1:03 pm

Players had their chance to show they could play and contribute in Groce's system. As Groce is fond of saying, "Players play players".  If they are not integral to the future of this Illini team it is best they transfer out the earlier the better and find a spot where the coaches want them and will play them. They could sit out a year at competitive D-1 school or transfer to D-II and play right away. At a D-II school they would be a big fish in a small pond.

IMAN wrote on March 29, 2013 at 1:03 pm

Langford didn't have a chance...Shaw and Ibby, yes.   Langford has great upside potential and deserved a ton more playing time this year, especially since we were so weak at the 3/4 spot.

Dan Bloeme wrote on March 29, 2013 at 2:03 pm

I thought Langford had upside too. For whatever reasons he was unable to show off his talent this year even though he was given more shots at playing time than Shaw or Djimde. Now I believe Devin should have played more and also that several seniors that often weren't performing should have been sat more. Now evidently Groce believes some highly ranked 2014 recruits or transfers are more desirable to further this team than are Devin, Mike and Ibby. Well let's see if Coach Groce can bring in better players that fit his system and have ultimate success.

IlliniMike05 wrote on March 30, 2013 at 10:03 am

Langford was given chances to be the ninth man in the rotation, which is the number of players Groce really would like to have playing double-digit minutes. He's just not very good. Maybe he would've gotten better and eventually cracked the rotation, but guys like Bertrand who don't contribute anything their first two years and end up being good players are the exception, not the rule.

aaeismacgychel wrote on March 29, 2013 at 4:03 pm

I don't think any of them had a real chance or opportunity to prove themselves. I certainly hope they get that elsewhere. Langford with all the injuries and everything he had to deal with he never really got a chance to display his talent. Ibby is young and needed time to mature and grow. I don't think anyone knows how he'll be 2 years from now. He had good instincts but still had to become a basketball player- he was a project for sure, and I don't think he had the opportunity to grow to reach his potential. And Shaw really never got the chance to prove himself on the court. He might be the one yuo can look at and say well, his work ethic or play in practice didn't meet his potential, but even there, most of us could've said that about Bertrand before he got minutes. But in all cases, wherever they go, I am sure they will get a better opportunity than what we gave them to showcase their talent and abilities.

blmillini wrote on March 30, 2013 at 2:03 pm

They all had a chance to prove themselves every single day.  Just because the armchair coaches weren't given the opportunity to see it doesn't mean it didn't happen.  I trust that Groce knows what he is doing, where Bruce didn't.  I also think he has enough class to have handled it in a very professional way where, in the end, it was the best thing for all involved.

IMAN wrote on March 29, 2013 at 1:03 pm

Sounds like they were "Creaned" to me.  I don't like this behavior from our school, we are not trash like IU and Crean.    When these kids committ to the school and we don't honor that commitment, that is not upholding the standards of our institution.

Good luck young men.  

stumblefoot wrote on March 29, 2013 at 1:03 pm

Where does the article state that the University of Illinois is not honoring their commitment  to these young men?  It seems to say to me that the players in question have chosen to pursue a different path away from the University of Illinois.

aaeismacgychel wrote on March 29, 2013 at 4:03 pm

I think it's safe to say they chose the only path provided them. No, Groce and Illinois didn't say they were pulling their scholarships (nor would any major program), but Groce likely said that the three weren't going to get any playing time the next three years, and that they would all be best showcasing their skills at another school while opening up their scholarships to others who were better to fit in the system. I'm sure Illinois offered to do everything they can to help the players in their search and to get them in the best situation and fit possible. And no, that doesn't sound terrible or dishonest from a high-level perspective, I think we all know what it means.

It's like a boss calling you into his office and saying, "Hey we like the work and effort you put into this company, but we really don't see a spot for you here in the future and we have no projects or opportunities for you. I think you'd be best showcasing your skills at another company. I know this is a tough situation so you can continue to work here through the end of the year and we'll do everything we can to assist you in finding a new job where you'll fit in much better." We all know this means you were let go. The company is being nice about it, but you really don't have a choice to do anything but leave. Same for these kids. They weren't kicked or pushed out the door to take a different path, they were nudged out.

griff507 wrote on March 30, 2013 at 3:03 pm

Good God! Get over yourself. Groce told the players the truth, that playing time would be hard to find for them. Players don't need any kind of push after that, to find the door out. Players don't want to practice everyday all year long, and never find the floor during games. Players want to play. Weber took these kids because they were the best HE could get at the time. They do not fit this system, as this year has shown. That doesn't mean the kids are bad kids, they just need to start getting playing time before they run out of time. They were not going to get that here. I can assure you that the coaching staff at Illinois will be helping these kids find a place to play, if asked to do so. If I were in their place, I would thank them for being honest, and start looking for a new start.

I thank all three young men for all their hard work and effort, and wish them nothing but success.

crackerman wrote on March 29, 2013 at 3:03 pm

Speaking of Crean, how about those Hoosiers?! HeHeHaHa...........

Green Shirt wrote on March 29, 2013 at 6:03 pm

Crackerman, I believe that Illini fans are also Big Ten fans.  Although I may dislike IU I will always pull for them to win whenever they play a non-B1G school.  I even did so when FBW was coaching Iowa.  To me it comes with the territory.  I had trully hoped to have an all B1G Final Four.

crackerman wrote on March 30, 2013 at 7:03 am

I live in Indiana, and trust me, being an Illlini fan, you don't want Indiana or Purdue winning anything! No disrespect towards coach Groce's wife! LOL

Salt Life wrote on March 29, 2013 at 4:03 pm
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When I met with the coaches, we came to the decision that it would be a good idea for me to leave because of how much I was playing and what it might be in the future,” Shaw said.

So the coaches convinced them it would be best for them to leave and offered no encouragement that they might have more of chance to play in the future if they improved. Enough said. They should probably follow Bruce to KSU, but Webs probably doesn't want them either now that he also has seen how they will perform in college. Illinois wants real studs that will have best chance to win championships and rightfully so. That's still the name of the game.

blmillini wrote on March 30, 2013 at 2:03 pm

Didn't Crean get the reputation by pulling scholarships from kids he recruited because he found better players?  If the move is in the best interest of both parties and they both agree that it is the best course of action, then what is the issue?

nschne393 wrote on March 29, 2013 at 1:03 pm

Why is there a picture of Weber with this story?  Put a picture of the 3 of them or 1 of them.

IMAN wrote on March 29, 2013 at 1:03 pm

Ya, I didn't understand that either.

lasmith12 wrote on March 29, 2013 at 1:03 pm

Ibby made the all Big Ten Academic team, showing that he is truly a student-athlete. By everything I read, and watching body language, Shaw was a good teammate. It's a shame that the staff didn't develop or use these players more. 

I don't like the mesage that it sends about my alma mater either. As another poster stated, we are not Indiana.

IlliniMike05 wrote on March 29, 2013 at 4:03 pm

It doesn't send any message about your alma mater; it does send a message about you, though, being so smarmy that you think this negatively reflects on your school and by extension- and what you're really concerned about- on you. If you think one multi-million dollar college basketball power has moral superiority over another, well, I'd like a ticket to ride the lolly-pop ferry to the candy cane house in the fantasy world you live in.

These kids weren't screwed. They didn't have scholarships taken from them. They were given honesty by a coach that probably cares quite a bit about them- but didn't recruit them- and is going to make sure their education is paid for somewhere they can actually get on the court.

Being a good student and having good body language is all fine and well. But the fact that they couldn't help on the court isn't an indictment of the staff- either Weber's or Groce's- for not developing them. They just aren't good enough to play here. This is a team that badly needed help rebounding and theoretically all three of these guys could have helped in that area. In reality, they just weren't good enough. They had two years and two different staffs to prove they were good enough to get on the court for Illinois and they clearly aren't.

Grow up and welcome yourself to the realities of major college basketball any time you want, but I'd recommend sooner rather than later.

Some of you people really can't be helped.


illinidoc wrote on March 29, 2013 at 5:03 pm

Lighten up, IM.  Maybe some people would rather focus on the U of I as an academic institution than a basketball factory.  Thank goodness there are people who question how things are and look for better ways to do things.  You seem to have lots of anger.  :)


IlliniMike05 wrote on March 30, 2013 at 7:03 am

There's a difference between anger and annoyance at dumb fans. 

I absolutely agree that academics is more important than basketball. You know the one time that's not the case? When the subject is basketball. 


UIUCHoopFan wrote on March 29, 2013 at 1:03 pm

Ah yes......looks like clear cases of "thanks but no thanks" from the coaching staff.  I think we refer to that as being invited to leave.

Best wishes to Mr. Shaw, Langford, and Djimde.  I hope you find success as you continue your respective basketball careers.


jimbo2009 wrote on March 29, 2013 at 1:03 pm

Yeah, what's with the Weber picture of A YEAR AGO????  Just plain weird.

IMAN....posters on other Illini boards ripped on Crean for "creaning" players, guess they better keep their mouths shut now.

IlliniMike05 wrote on March 29, 2013 at 5:03 pm

What Crean did was above and beyond this. He pushed players out the door. What Groce did- and what 99 percent of coaches do in this situation- was honest and frankly, a service to the players.

That said, you're damn right that people who get off on crowing about moral superiority in college sports should probably use this as a wake-up call. (Even though Groce obviously did nothing wrong, which is clear to everyone living in the real world.)


Illini '73 wrote on March 29, 2013 at 7:03 pm

Mike - Do you have some inside knowledge about this situation?  If not, how do you know how/what Groce did in this meeting with these players?

IlliniMike05 wrote on March 30, 2013 at 7:03 am

I have common sense and I pay attention to what happens in college basketball. Anyone who has the former and does the latter knew these three wouldn't be back, nor should they have been. It does no good to have guys sitting on your bench for 2-3 more years who have no real hope of cracking the rotation. Not for them, not for the team. 

stumblefoot wrote on March 29, 2013 at 1:03 pm


namber wrote on March 29, 2013 at 1:03 pm

If by all appearances they will not see significant PT next year, Groce did them a great favor by telling them such.  He has seen them practice for a year and knows their upside potential in his system.  I think it would be a disservice to lead them on as to playing time when it won't be there.  Groce did not pull their schollys as Crean did, but rather he laid out the facts.  I thank these guys for their effort and truly hope they find success elsewhere.  I would love them to ultimately become stars and make us wish they stayed.  In this competitive winner take all world this is the best outcome.

AJ's Dad wrote on March 29, 2013 at 3:03 pm

Well said.

JDG613 wrote on March 29, 2013 at 3:03 pm

Agreed.  There does not appear to be any indication that Groce yanked their scholarships, or that he encouraged them to leave.  Rather, it appears that these 3 players made a decision to pursue another opportunity where they can actually see the floor for more than mop-up duty on a sporadic basis, and that Coach Groce supported them in this decision.  Whether he agreed with it or not is not publicly known.

I hold to my statement that this is unfortunate, because it's always a shame when what was hoped for ends up not working out.  The move might benefit them, and it might benefit the UI....but it's still unfortunate that their dream of playing a significant role for the Illini basketball team never materialized.

aaeismacgychel wrote on March 29, 2013 at 3:03 pm

Take it for what it's worth, but it seems like Groce was a bit more active in getting them to decide to transfer in the espn article. Granted espn sensationalizes things like this, but I think we're being naive if we think 3 kids decided to transfer on entirely their own will after being called in to speak with Groce about their future or lack thereof with the team.

This is the best move for all parties involved, but we did basically do what the big boys do in these situations and let go of commits for more talented commits. We can try spinning it another way, but we're just hiding the truth from ourselves. This was a necesary move for everyone, but it's a lousy one.

crackerman wrote on March 29, 2013 at 3:03 pm

Langford seemed like a player!

aaeismacgychel wrote on March 29, 2013 at 3:03 pm

I have to say this is one of the things that I specifically hate about college recruiting. I feel that if a school does give scholarships to a player, they should be forced to retain those scholarships unless there are valid academic or probation/suspension reasons to rescind it. It just isn't right to the players who signed their LOIs to attend the school. I've been very hard on schools like Indiana and Kentucky for doing this, and I'm very disappointed Illinois is doing the same things. And let's not kid ourselves, that's pretty much what happened where the coach pulled the three kids into his office and told them they wouldn't be getting any playing time the next three years, Illinois could really use the scholarship spots they take up, and that the kids will have much better opportunities elsewhere. None of that is a lie, and yes, transferring will be best for all of them, but all three seemed to have truly vested time at Illinois and this really doesn't make it any less sh*tty for those kids.

As a poster said prior, this was necessary and best for all parties, and I do agree with that, I just don't have to like it. And no, we aren't breaking any rules and this is all legal and "typical" of big name programs, but again, it's not something I look on with pleasure. I truly do wish that Mike, Devin, and Ibby all have a ton of success elsewhere. It's a shame that as a program we chose to chase that 5 star pot of gold than do what is right and help these kids mature and grow into not only good basketball players but good people. I know this opens up 3 scholarships for us in the very talented 2014 Chicago draft class, but again, this is not something I like seeing out of our program and it leaves a very bitter taste in my mouth. Best of luck, kids and I for one was glad you decided to be part of our Illinois program and wore the orange and blue. Do well wherever you go.

lmaran wrote on March 29, 2013 at 4:03 pm

Through the season just past things have been clear that not all on the roster would play. Given that players talk to their position coaches all the time I doubt that it was necessary for the head coach to call the players in to give the word. Through all this we have to respect the players' desires to play first and foremost.

While I do not like to see these things happen that is just me, not Shaw, Langford or Djimbe. I feel it is important to accept and respect the players' decisions regardless of my emotional take on it.

GO ILLINI!  NaplesIllini


aaeismacgychel wrote on March 29, 2013 at 4:03 pm

I don't disagree with that, so long as the players were the ones asking for the transfer and that this is what they wanted. Based on the espn article and my gut feel (I know that's not valid, or evidence, in fact nothing more than a feeling) it seems like the players were called in and nudged to make a choice that was for their benefit. I agree with yuo that this is best for the kids. Don't get me wrong on that. It's just a shame that the kids had to make that decision. I think we see fairly eye to eye on this one.

bluehawk44 wrote on March 29, 2013 at 5:03 pm

If these three were Groce's recruits, their leaving might be of

concern.  I doubt that Groce made them any promises when

he took over.  Also, Groce requires solid practice performance

to get playing time.  Just maybe these three did not improve

enough in practice to earn playing time.  You have to show it

in practice if you want playing time.  That is just fair.  Weber

recruited these players. How much playing time would be

have given them?  Just saying.

Danimal wrote on March 29, 2013 at 6:03 pm

Reality is a bitter pill to swallow.  Weber's recruiting put us in this position because he was desparate to 'hang on'.    That being said, he's gone, and now some of his waste can also be removed too. 

basketball junkie1123 wrote on March 29, 2013 at 4:03 pm

Two months ago I suggested a shake up.  Really it might end up deeper.  Hope coach can get the three players he really wants.  Short bench next year.  Do not see an improvement.  I  had people jump all over me for saying there would be a major departure.  Coach Groce maybe a good guy,  but you do not put out in practice no playing time, no playing time well no longer there. It should be that way.  The rest better learn from Ewgu.  Coach what to I do to improve, and then work at it. 

The merry-go-around continues. 

DoCUmEnT wrote on March 29, 2013 at 5:03 pm

Best of luck to Ibby, Shaw, and Devin. We all knew some kids would be elsewhere, so this shouldn't be that big of a suprise. It happens EVERYWHERE, and our arrow is still looking up!!!

It's a good move for all parties involved, maybe not what the 3 kids wanted...but if they want playing time you do what you gotta do.  I support Groce, we need to aim high and not just settle for what is on the roster. Coach took the job and has every right to fill his roster the way he sees fit...these were WEBER recruits, not Groce. It may not be fair to the kids, but at the end of the day this happens a lot of places. Last year over 400 kids transferred to different schools.


This 2014 class is an elite talent and you HAVE to make an attempt.  Even if you don't get all of the top kids, prospects tend to avoid your school if they know you currently don't have an actual scholarship available to them.  The prospects are getting hounded by all coaches across the country, and I would of been disappointed if Groce settled for the talent that he had on the roster.

We've seen what big guys can do to Indiana, imagine what Okafor or Alexander could do?!! Would you turn down Jaquan Lyle as well???? U kidding me?!!

Illini '73 wrote on March 29, 2013 at 5:03 pm

We should "respect the players decision" IF indeed that is what it was.  But I doubt it.  You may believe it is "best for both parties", but that is only true if you are thinking only of basketball.  To take a kids chance of getting an education at one of the elite schools in the nation just so you can free up some scholarships so the team MAY be better is wrong.  When the coach sat in the kids living room and told his mom and dad that he wanted them to come to Illinois, they were not told "if you are good enough to play".  They made a deal, and now the school is not living up to their end of it. I feel sorry for the kids, and I am embarrassed for our university.

aaeismacgychel wrote on March 29, 2013 at 5:03 pm

I think you make a very solid point, and one that I too have issues with. Djimde was an academic all-american, Shaw said one of his biggest reasons for choosing Illinois was academics, and Langford chose to come to Illinois from Alabama because of both the opportunity and history. They all wanted to be here. And it's true, possibly taking away their ability to graduate from a top tier school simply doesn't seem fair to the students who are serious about their studies and who have made friends and established themselves there. Granted, yes, there is a possibility they could go someplace with similarly strong academics or a place where the will be happy to call home the next few years, but I agree with you in that regard, when athletics trump academics it's a shame for the student who wants both. Unfortunately, the days when you were a student first and an athlete second are long long gone. I do sincerely hope that this works out for all three of them, and it's a shame that they had to make the decision they did.

ptevonian wrote on March 29, 2013 at 5:03 pm

Every kid and/or his parents sign scholarship papers that clearly state the scholarship is a one-year agreement.  Yes, the expectation for all involved is that it will be renewed for all four years, but it is never promised.  And you can characterize the "decision" all kinds of ways, but the fact is that none of us were in the meeting so we can't really comment on the tone or how it was presented.  Based on what we've seen of Groce in other situations, though, it would surprise me if he flatly kicked the kids off the team.  He was likely brutally honest in his assessment of their future playing time, but I guarantee, if one of them decided, for example, to "quit" basketball, and by that I mean continue to practice, but give up any hope of playing, he'd still be on scholarship getting his degree.  But we all know these kids want to PLAY.  So I have no doubt that Groce made it very clear they would have a very steep hill to climb to convince him that the team would be better off playing them than developing the new freshman, but in the end, I'm confident the decision was ultimately the kids', regardless of how obvious the choice was.

IlliniMike05 wrote on March 29, 2013 at 5:03 pm


Good to see a few people get it.

illinidoc wrote on March 29, 2013 at 6:03 pm

It's good to see a lot of people don't like it.

illinidoc wrote on March 29, 2013 at 6:03 pm

It seems to me than when an athlete commits to a school, their scholarship should be guaranteed for 4 years.  If they don't succeed athletically as in the present , then their scholarship should be switched to an academic status.  They then have the choice of continuing their education at the institution they originally chose with the same financial help or going elsewhere for athletic reasons.  Maybe it actually works that way----does anyone know?

IlliniMike05 wrote on March 30, 2013 at 7:03 am

If they wanted to continue their U of I education but not keep playing, in this situation it would take a total scumbag of a coach to not honor that. 

It rarely comes to that because naive fans care way more about where players get their degree from than players themselves do. Players want to play. This isn't complicated.

IlliniMike05 wrote on March 30, 2013 at 10:03 am

There's a difference between not liking it and making asinine comments insinuating or even outright saying that our coach did something wrong. These kids, recruited by someone else for scholarships they knew were renewed on a year-by-year basis, were extremely unlikely to contribute anything to the program. I don't like the fact that it wasn't working out for any of the three. I'd rather they be thriving on the court, helping the program, and giving themselves a chance at a professional future.

But that wasn't happening. Time to move on for everyone. No one likes seeing these kids go, but most people with common sense understand that's the right thing to happen both for those kids and for Illinois basketball.

Danimal wrote on March 29, 2013 at 6:03 pm

These guys were late pick ups as recruits from Webers "dark era"; so i don't believe any worries are in play here.  In fact, if they had done better or proven better why not on the court this year.   This is a no-brainer that opens scholarships up for better players.

Illini '73 wrote on March 29, 2013 at 7:03 pm

What does this mean - "no worries in play here"?  Why does it matter where the recruit came from?  Bottom line is when they signed on it was with the expectation that they would have an opportunity to graduate here.

IlliniMike05 wrote on March 30, 2013 at 7:03 am

If you can show me the written document they signed guaranteeing them that opportunity, I'd like to see it. 

If a student that's on academic scholarship fails academically, they lose the scholarship and that's it. If a student on athletic scholarship isn't getting the job done, their coach helps them find a program they can play at, again on scholarship. 

It's a harsh reality, but it's also very fair.

lmaran wrote on March 29, 2013 at 7:03 pm now reports that Mike Shaw, Devin Langford and Ibby Djimbi requested release from scholarship commitment at Illinois and have been granted release. 

Illini '73 wrote on March 29, 2013 at 7:03 pm

This means, no problem - they really really wanted to go.  Huh?

lmaran wrote on March 29, 2013 at 7:03 pm

What it means is that they can contact other schools freely now.

I have been surprised that they did not leave at the end of Fall semester; that way they'd be eligible to play somewhere during Spring semester next year. This alone indicates to me that there was no direct pressure from the coaches. 

Illini '73 wrote on March 29, 2013 at 8:03 pm

On the contrary.  I would be more likely to believe they did this voluntarily if they had done it at the end of the Fall semester.  I think the way it happened makes it more likely that they (one or all) had no intention of "freely" contacting other schools before the meeting with the coaches.  Just my opinion.

FloridaIllini wrote on March 29, 2013 at 8:03 pm

Welcome to the new millenia guys.  Whether the world fits your view or not this is the way things are today.  Those wonderful scholarships are only for 1 year at a time something that is not widely understood.  If you want to read a great story on college sports check out Taylor Branch's story in Atlantic written back in 2011.  It is called "The Shame Of College Sports".  Those days you remember with such fondness and those Chip Hilton books written by Claire Bee died with the two handed set shot.  Welcome to the world of AAU and "how can you showcase my talents for the NBA".  Here is the link to the story:



OKOMIS wrote on March 30, 2013 at 7:03 am

Isn’t it ironic??? Our football coach gets BLASTED for offering kids, shaken by the biggest scandal in college athletic history, a place to come… our basketball coach gets BLASTED for offering a truthful assessment of a players future in his program…. Dammed if you do, dammed if you don’t

JohnUI82 wrote on March 30, 2013 at 9:03 am

Beckman wasn't blasted for what he did but how he did it. He could have offered without sending multiple assistants to State College right after the sanctions were announced. The basketball development is just business as usual in major college revenue sports. Actively recruiting another program's players is not business as usual. If it were, Illinois wouldn't have been the only BIg Ten school that did it.

OKOMIS wrote on March 30, 2013 at 11:03 am

I agree,, being discrete isn’t Beckman’s strongest point.. I don’t have a problem with letting it be known, IF an athlete was uncomfortable or unhappy with the situation they had nothing to do with, you’d be open to talk to them…

As far as what happened here… I couldn’t agree more.. business as usual, and actually being honest with the guys..

illini5fan wrote on March 30, 2013 at 7:03 am

Wish the best to these 3 guys.....believe they are good young men et will find a place to play, which is "what" they want. Think it was obvious to most fans this yr that these guys were not going to see more playing time next yr et not a surprise that they are transferring. Appreciate the support they gave to their teammates et coaches this yr. Do not understand the outrage of some who have commented---- what? are these the 1st 3 players in illini history who have been talked to by coaches et understanding future playing time is going to be limited, decided to look to another program??? The answer is NO. Coach Groce et his staff deserve better than this from Illini nation. These are basketball scholarships people..... and players want to play in games period. We need to give all the support we can to the coaching staff et stop with the criticism. The positive comments et good wishes to these 3 players should be the focus. This being said, i appreciate the right of everyone to their opinion et to state that opinion.

Ending with "good luck to these 3 young men" and looking forward to next yr cheering on the illini and coaching staff!!!

illiniphil85 wrote on March 30, 2013 at 9:03 am

If only the world was all sunshine and rainbows. Good guys like I mow my own lawn would be winners and the Calimari's would be losers. Welcome to the real world.

Somewhere there is a quote from Shaw saying I've got to do what's best for me. I'd imagine all three have a different story. If none of the three figures in the long term plan for Illinois BB, perhaps it was their choice to go elsewhere. Players get recruited over all the time. This was the worst kept secret in the world. At least one or more had every intention of leaving after the end of the season. Shaw and Langford can probably get some significant PT someplace. Ibby may still be a project with some potential. I wish them the best.

IlliniMike05 wrote on March 30, 2013 at 10:03 am

The reasonable adults who live in the real world are starting to balance things out here. Good post.

Here's something I'd like answered: why should kids- whether they're studs like Cliff Alexander and Jaquan Lyle or anyone else- in the 2014 class who want to come to the U of I not have the chance because three kids who have essentially become dead weight stuck around to continue not helping the program? I know that sounds harsh, but they're here on a scholarship to play basketball, not study chemistry. I don't know if they worked hard in practice or were well-liked, and I don't particularly care. They'll be assisted in finding a new program that will give them a chance. I think the two years they all got to prove they could help the team was more than fair. Their classmates- Abrams, Egwu, Henry- all had the same chance and to varying degrees have proved their worth. We were desperately in need of another big body who could rebound and be physical and even though all three of these kids theoretically fit that bill, they obviously weren't good enough to get on the court. With Rice, Colbert and Morgan coming in next year, the odds of it happening remain as slim going forward. (Obviously Colbert and Morgan will have as much to prove as the outgoing players did as neither are slam dunks to be helpful as freshmen, but at least that legit possibility remains whereas it was clear Shaw/Ibby/Langford wouldn't.) 

I just don't see any of the hand-wringing in this thread coming from any place of logic or common sense.


Illini '73 wrote on March 30, 2013 at 7:03 pm

"dead weight"???  I think your true colors are showing.  I don't think three of our players who just didn't get the playing time they wanted should be called "dead weight".

IlliniMike05 wrote on March 31, 2013 at 10:03 am

This isn't Little League. We aren't handing out participation trophies. This is high stakes, highest-level college basketball. 

Those are three scholarships that were being held by people who weren't going to get on the court. I'm sure they were nice kids and tried hard and all that, but they were on scholarship to play basketball and they weren't good at basketball. Their continued presence would have held up scholarships that badly needed to be freed up for the future of this program. Sorry if it sounds harsh, but that's the very definition of dead weight. I didn't reveal any "true colors" and you'd probably do yourself a favor to quit trafficking in such mawkish false dichotomies.

gregscott wrote on March 30, 2013 at 1:03 pm

I fully expected Mike and Ibby to transfer, but was really hoping Devin would\could hang around.  To me he provided the best upside based on the little bit of PT they recieved.  I thought he brought the size and length to play  the 2 or 3 spot for the Illini.  I have no problem with how this went down.  Would agree that Coach Groce handled each player with courtesy and honesty about their futures, and these kids want to play ball, so this is where you end up.  Sorry to see them have to start over, and that the experience on the Illini bench will be compromised next year.  I do like that the younger players will get thrust into early action next year which will pay dividends over the next several years; not to mention the extra scholarships Coach will have to recruit his type of player.  Does any one know if these kids are able to sign with another conference school?  I'd hate to see one of them end up on Purdue or Iowa and come back to bite us in the anus!!


lmaran wrote on March 30, 2013 at 2:03 pm

I feel exactly the same way as you. I remember Pauk Klee, who watched a lot of practice, saying repeatedly that these three had a lot of ground to make up, and he wondered if they'd ever get there. Since then I had been a bit apprehensive about them. I wanted to see them get PT somewhere, afterall, that is what players look forward to. It is not about wanting them gone, it is about wishing they could play somewhere. 


CecilColeman wrote on March 30, 2013 at 2:03 pm

Without a doubt, Kentucky, Duke and Sparty are all salivating at having one or all of Weber's leftovers transfer in.

wayward wrote on March 30, 2013 at 7:03 pm

If Groce was just honest with them about their future and offered them a release if they wanted, good on him.  If he also pulled scholarships, that's a little too much like Crean.

One thing I don't get is why a LOI is only a one-year commitment on the school's end, but works out to more than that on the part of the athlete.  For example, if Indiana wanted to dump a player, they could just tell him by a certain date that his scholarship wasn't being renewed.  But if the player wants to say good-bye, they have to get a release and sit out for a certain amount of time.  Seems unfair to me.

IlliniMike05 wrote on March 31, 2013 at 10:03 am

It is unfair. But I understand the NCAA's concern on that; not having to sit out a year would lead to unchecked, chaotic, sleaze-filled college sports free agency every offseason. And it probably would to some degree. 

wayward wrote on March 31, 2013 at 3:03 pm

I can respect that, but would like to see rules making it harder for programs to dump scholarship athletes whenever something better comes along.  Maybe say that a scholarship can be opened up immediately when there's a medical retirement or gross misconduct on the athlete's part, but if an athlete gets dumped for any other reason, the program has to offer them financial support for a year and it counts against their scholarship total.  That would reduce the incentive to "crean" players.

Champ Townie wrote on April 01, 2013 at 7:04 am

How far did Groce have to go before the three decided to transfer, no one knows.  Did he tell them that they would never play?  Did he have to go further and say that they did not want them on the team anymore or did he have to pull their scholarship?  Not exactly the happy, family feeling environment but it happens all over. 

I have trouble feeling too sorry for U of I players in these situations.  The percentage of them who have the academic credentials to be accepted into UIUC in the first place, on their own non-basketball merit, is so low that almost all were already given a break that others don't get.  (Ibby may actually have been a rare exception.)  

It is too bad that a player who gets his scholarship pulled is not exempted from having to sit out a year while the player who simply decides to transfer does have to sit out.  However, the line that differentiates the two is too gray.


OrkeeIsHere wrote on April 01, 2013 at 8:04 pm

Does not matter. Kentucky, Louisville, Florida, Indiana, North Carolina, Duke, Michigan State, Ohio State, Kansas, UCLA, and Michigan (to a lesser extent) are teams that always have the best shot to get the best recruits and have the best odds to win National Championships because of the name on the front of the jersey or the coach that is there. If Illinois was such a marqee program, how is it that they haven't won a National Championship? I sure as heck don't count 1915 as a National Championship. We are like the Chicago Cubs (something I would not want to be compared to)

IlliniMike05 wrote on April 02, 2013 at 10:04 am

What does that have to do with what you were responding to? Who said Illinois was a marquee program on par with the best programs in the nation? Further, what point are you attempting to make by pointing out things we already knew? That Illinois should have just kept these kids on scholarship and not tried to go get Alexander/Lyle/Black/etc? Because that's the very specific point of this article and thread and you're kinda going macro on us, bud.

As far as your list, it hasn't been that long since Florida was a middling program with one pre-Donovan Final Four run under their belt. Much like UConn, they're an example of how it's entirely possible to break through and join the old-money blue bloods.

Ohio State? They're doing nothing the last few years that Illinois wasn't doing from 2000-2006. Michigan? Let's see how they keep it going after Trey Burke leaves, because they sucked for most of the last 15 years.

So, yeah, is your point that Illinois shouldn't attempt to recruit better players? 13 McDonald's All-Americans have picked Illinois before and if Weber hadn't derped his way through his last few seasons, that number would be closer to 20. Everything Thad's done at Ohio State, he could've done at Illinois.

My guess: you have no coherent point and you're rambling, and I wasted my time by attempting to figure it out. Moving on.





Illini '73 wrote on April 02, 2013 at 11:04 am

Has the N-G (or anyone else) tried to get a comment from Langford or Djimde about their leaving?  All I have ever seen is the quote from Shaw that was in this article.  I would be interested in hearing from the others.