Catching up with Kendrick Jones

CHAMPAIGN – Considered the next Brandon Lloyd when he first walked on campus, Kendrick Jones caught exactly two passes his first three years in school.

But suddenly, he got it. Jones went from Mr. Potential to Mr. Clutch, catching a team-best 47 balls as a junior. He finished sixth in the Big Ten in yardage and seventh in catches. An All-Big Ten season, or better, seemed like a lock in 2005.

Who''s that Illini?

I had a famous teammate in the 1980s, Mary Eggers, but I wasn''t a bad volleyball player myself. I secured All-Big Ten honors three times, and in 1987 I shared Big Ten player of the year honors with Eggers. I closed my UI career after an injury-plagued season in 1989 but still was second team All-American.

Third''s the word for UI in team competition

WEST POINT, N.Y. – Justin Spring earned All-America honors in the all-around Friday, but the Illinois men''s gymnastics team had to settle for third place in the team competition at the NCAA championships.

Spring scored a career-high 9.9 in the high bar en route to a 55.25 all-around total, good for sixth place overall. He advanced to today''s individual finals on the bar as well as the parallel bars, one of five Illini to compete for individual gold.

Who''s that Illini?

An Urbana native, I competed at the university for two seasons, but they were good ones. I won nine Big Ten titles in women''s gymnastics, seven regional crowns and earned All-America status on the uneven bars. Before attending Illinois, I competed in the 1972 Munich Olympics

TATE: The crossing pattern

CHAMPAIGN – As of this afternoon, Ron Zook will be five practices into the task of building a football program at a "basketball school."

The designation doesn''t bother Zook, who joined the monumental love affair with Dee Brown, Deron Williams & Co.

Illini reach finals

WEST POINT, N.Y. – Illinois'' men''s gymnastics team picked a good time to set a school record.

The Illini advanced to today''s team finals at the NCAA championships by winning its six-school preliminary session with a record score of 225.250. Justin Spring led the way, winning the high bar and the parallel bars.

Illini roundup: Illinois'' streak snapped

URBANA – Illinois'' 38-match home winning streak in men''s tennis was snapped Wednesday night as No. 19 Kentucky topped the No. 2 Illini 4-3 at Atkins Tennis Center.

Kevin Anderson, who teamed with Pramod Dabir to win No. 2 doubles, also won at No. 3 singles for Illinois, which dropped the doubles point to fall behind 1-0.

Who''s that Illini?

was a heavyweight wrestler at Illinois who lettered from 1988-91. After a 12-13-3 freshman season, I became a three-time Big Ten champion and All-American, winning an NCAA title in ''91 with a 33-0 record. Today, the UI has an award named after me, given to the most improved wrestler (answer below).

Switches help Illini players snap out of the doldrums

URBANA – As Molly Lawhead thought about it, her meeting last weekend with UI softball coach Terri Sullivan started on an ominous tone.

"She called me in," said Lawhead, a sophomore from Monticello, "and said, ''We need to make some changes.'' "

Illini roundup: Western Michigan slows Illinois

CHAMPAIGN – If Illinois baseball gained momentum with its sweep of Ohio State, it didn''t show Tuesday.

Western Michigan scored three runs in the seventh and eighth innings to rally past the Illini 12-10 at Illinois Field. Justin Carter had two hits and three RBI for the Broncos, who erased a 9-6 deficit.