No ducking the issue

EAST LANSING, Mich. – Way back in 1977, the nation's best high school basketball player decided to stay home and sign with Michigan State.

Two years later, Magic Johnson led the Spartans to the national championship.

Jump to February 1999, when the nation's best high school player decided to stay close to home and sign with the Spartans.

Asmussen''s daily diary

The Illinois football players aren''t the only ones spending August in Rantoul. Staff writer Bob Asmussen, who covers UI football for The News-Gazette, is also a regular in the Pacesetter Community. His thoughts:

Hawkins lands post at Division II school

AUGUSTA, Ga. – Fess Hawkins was looking for a second chance, and Augusta State was looking for a post player.

They both found their match.

Tall order to fill

RANTOUL – In the latest "Austin Powers" movie, Mike Myers' Dr. Evil clones himself, creating a sidekick he calls "Mini-Me."

The Illinois football team has its own Dr. Evil/Mini-Me combination: Defensive ends Fred Wakefield and Mike O'Brien.

Illini report

News and notes from Friday's practices.

UI passing game plan has catch to it

"If we're gonna be better, we've got to pitch and catch. It can't happen unless we do. The pressure is on us."

- UI receivers coach Robert Jackson

The Illini are known for producing linebackers – and are equally noteworthy for a 1990s dearth of playmaking wide receivers.

News and notes from Thursday's practices

BANGED UP: Defensive end Fred Wakefield missed the contact periods during Thursday's morning practice. The Tuscola native said he had a "little bit of a concussion" earlier in the week.

"Nothing major," Wakefield said. "I took a little shot from one of the fullbacks, and it sent me a little loopy for a little bit."

Spiking downward

CHAMPAIGN – It's a puzzlement, completely contrary to the way these things are supposed to work out:

As the Illinois volleyball team has grown more successful the past two years, attendance at Huff Hall has slipped.

UI wrestler beaten in second bout

Illinois wrestler John Lockhart, competing at 286 1/2 pounds, won his first match but was edged in his second bout Thursday at the Junior World Freestyle Wrestling Championships in Sydney, Australia.

Lockhart of Mahomet lost 1-0 in overtime on a referee's decision in the second round and was eliminated from medal competition after failing to acquire enough points in pool competition.

Points wins state golf tourney

GALENA – Former Illini D.A. Points of Pekin rebounded from a third-round 75 with a final-round 65 to win the 69th Illinois State Amateur Golf Championship on Thursday at Eagle Ridge Inn & Resort.

Points, who led from the start, finished at 8-under-par 280 on the par-72 North Course.

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