Top Male Athletes
1. Jesse Delgado, wrestling. Back-to-back national champion at 125 pounds first to do so in Illini history at that weight class. Best news? He still has a year of eligibility left.
1. National champions don’t happen every year, but with Jesse Delgado winning one in wrestling and Jordan Valdez doing the same in men’s gymnastics, Illini could brag about those two accomplishments.
1. Kevin Hambly’s intense speech to his Illini volleyball team after it lost the first two sets to visiting Michigan on Nov. 6. With its postseason hopes seemingly evaporating, Illinois responded and dug deep to pull out a 3-2 win in the season-turning match.
Why a B: No repeat trip to NCAA tournament, but a solid Big Ten showing.
High point: Beating Indiana 2-1 April 26 at home to end Hoosiers’ 10-game conference winning streak.
Low point: Losing twice to Michigan State in three-day span at the Big Ten tournament, costing them an NCAA berth.
Big Ten finish: Third
Rayvonte Rice, who celebrates his 22nd birthday Monday, had a fabulous first season as an Illini in 2013-14. Starting all 35 games last season, he topped Illinois in scoring with an average of 15.9 points per game, including a total of 10 games of 20 points or more. The Champaign native has a history of being a prolific scorer.
In his first two years as basketball coach, John Groce attracted strong recruiting classes and had back-to-back 20-win seasons — all with young teams.
His fundraising skills aren’t too shabby, either, athletic director Mike Thomas told University of Illinois trustees on Thursday.
Illini basketball coach John Groce would get a $100,000 raise and a one-year contract extension under a plan presented to UI trustees Thursday.
Former Illini guard Brandon Paul, Bulls guard Tony Snell and draft picks Doug McDermott and Cameron Bairstow highlight Chicago’s 12-man Summer League roster.
Chicago will begin its Summer League schedule Saturday against the Los Angeles Clippers.
URBANA — Basketball coach John Groce was rewarded with a $200,000 raise, and a $25,000 bonus, after his first Illini team made the NCAA tournament in 2013.