CHAMPAIGN – Shaun Pruitt wants to leap into the fire. Calvin Brock is content to simmer a while longer.
Illinois whipped Southern Illinois-Edwardsville 78-58 in Friday''s exhibition opener at the Assembly Hall, but the story of the night was the divergent paths chosen by the Illini''s freshman duo.
JOHNSTON, Iowa – Nebraska''s loss was Illinois'' gain.
Guard Lori Bjork of Johnston, Iowa, orally committed to play basketball at Illinois after giving Nebraska a commitment last month.
The call is inevitable for Mike Mallory. Someday, soon, a smart college will try to hire the Illinois defensive coordinator as head coach.
He will mull it over, talk to his wife, Kim, and then make the same call Jack Bicknell Jr. made six years ago ... to his dad.
CHAMPAIGN – Here''s a word you haven''t seen associated with Illinois football for a while: Favorite.
You have to go back to Sept. 18 to find the last time Illinois was picked to win a game. Until today.
"I don''t think any of them have the mind-set to redshirt. They''re asked to make decisions that they don''t understand."
– UI coach Bruce Weber
Tonight, you''ll have to settle for "Oskee Wow Wow." You could''ve been hearing "Sweet Georgia Brown."
If not for a new NCAA rule barring Division I teams from playing exhibtion teams – think Athletes in Action or the Spot-Lite Jammers – the Illini would be suiting up this preseason against the Harlem Globetrotters.
Tara Hurless had a goal and two assists as Illinois opened Big Ten tournament play with a 5-0 win against Northwestern on Thursday at Columbus, Ohio.
Natasha Karniski, Christen Karniski, Paula Faherty and Centennial product Brittany Ward also scored for the Illini, whose goal total was a season high. Urbana product Ella Masar had an assist.
CHAMPAIGN – Just one more punt. Drop 15 yards behind Kyle Knezetic, take his perfect snap and boom the ball down the field. Maybe the wind catches it and the punt threatens Dike Eddleman''s school record.
Doesn''t really matter to Matt Minnes.
CHAMPAIGN – They don''t have McDonald''s All-Americans. They don''t come armed with a lofty national ranking or the conference Player of the Year.
But when Southern Illinois-Edwardsville visits the Assembly Hall tonight, don''t expect to see a Little League operation.