Illini Legends Lists and Lore: Illini men’s basketball true freshmen

Illini Legends Lists and Lore: Illini men’s basketball true freshmen

Coach Brad Underwood's class of five true freshmen had been impressive through the first 12 games of the 2017-18 season, scoring nearly 28 percent of the Illini's 1,004 points.

The quintet of Mark Smith, Trent Frazier, Da'Monte Williams, Greg Eboigbodin and Matic Vesel combined for 277 points in a dozen games. However, at least scoring wise, they'll have to improve dramatically to rank among Illinois' best rookie class ever.

Tops in Illini history is coach Lou Henson's 1982-83 freshman class. Efrem Winters, Bruce Douglas, Doug Altenberger, Scott Meents and Reggie Woodward combined to tally more than 40 percent of that team's points. Ranked by percentage of their contribution of team points are these nine memorable true freshmen Illini classes:

1. 40.54% (879 of 2,168 total points) ... 1982-83 Illini: Efrem Winters (385 points), Bruce Douglas (301), Doug Altenberger (96), Scott Meents (81) and Reggie Woodward (16)

2. 36.96% (757 of 2,048 points) ... 1976-77 Illini: Levi Cobb (306 points), Neil Bresnahan (206), Steve Lanter (191) and Rob Judson (54)

3. 36.68% (876 of 2,388 points) ... 2002-03 Illini: Dee Brown (384 points), James Augustine (225), Deron Williams (202), Kyle Wilson (46) and Aaron Spears (19)

4. 29.55% (604 of 2,044 points) ... 1977-78 Illini: Mark Smith (312 points), Eddie Johnson (220) and Mike Jones (72)

5. 29.12% (739 of 2,537 points) ... 2009-10 Illini: D.J. Richardson (363 points), Brandon Paul (271) and Tyler Griffey (105)

6. 27.59% (277 of 1,004 points) ... 2017-18 Illini: Mark Smith (108 points), Trent Frazier (94), Da'Monte Williams (64), Greg Eboigbodin (9), Matic Vesel (2)

7. 23.66% (527 of 2,227 points) ... 2007-08 Illini: Demetri McCamey (287 points), Mike Tisdale (127), Mike Davis (87) and Jeff Jordan (26)

8. 22.82% (513 of 2,248 points) ... 2013-14 Illini: Kendrick Nunn (218 points), Malcolm Hill (154), Jaylon Tate (60), Maverick Morgan (52) and Austin Colbert (29)

9. 20.96% (514 of 2,452 points) ... 2015-16 Illini: Jalen Coleman-Lands (350 points), Aaron Jordan (103) and D.J. Williams (61)

NOTE: Cory Bradford and Frank Williams weren't included on this list because they didn't begin their Illini careers until they were redshirt freshmen. Bradford scored 494 points in his first season of action (1998-99), joining true freshmen Lucas Johnson, Damir Krupalija and Robert Archibald. Williams scored 366 points in his initial campaign (1999-2000), combining with true freshmen Brian Cook and Sean Harrington.Illini Birthdays:Today: Isaiah Gay, football (18)

Monday: Bubba Smith, baseball (48)

Tuesday: Efrem Winters, basketball (54)

Wednesday: Chris Gandy, basketball (44)

Thursday: Keith Taylor, football (53)

Friday: Emmaline Walters, volleyball (19)

Saturday: Bill Henkel, football (49)

By Mike Pearson, author of Illini Legends, Lists & Lore (Third Edition now available in stores). Get more Illini birthdays, trivia and historical tidbits daily on Twitter@B1GLLL. His website is

Comments embraces discussion of both community and world issues. We welcome you to contribute your ideas, opinions and comments, but we ask that you avoid personal attacks, vulgarity and hate speech. We reserve the right to remove any comment at our discretion, and we will block repeat offenders' accounts. To post comments, you must first be a registered user, and your username will appear with any comment you post. Happy posting.

Login or register to post comments