Macker Backer

CHAMPAIGN – If he had a free second this weekend, Gus Macker tournament director Tony Wysinger might be tempted to slip over to the open men's court and get in a game or two.

At 34 years young, the former Illini still can hold his own – as another Peoria point guard can attest.

UI aide glad for chance with mentor

CHAMPAIGN – During the NCAA Final Four in December, Illinois volleyball coach Don Hardin was seen introducing an aspiring collegiate assistant to any colleague with a staff opening.

"I went to the Final Four with my resumes," Anne Kordes said, "and he basically took me under his wing."

Like father, Joliet junior likes Illini

In the spring of 1972, a sweet-shooting Parade All-American named Roger Powell was set to sign with Illinois.

Then one day, word got out that NCAA investigators were snooping around campus, stirring up a lot of rumors, scaring off recruits and leading to probation a few years later.

Take care, Illini

GLEN ELLYN – Kristi Faulkner is babysitting a lot to earn some spending money this summer, but taking care of the basketball is her biggest chore. And that will pay off in a few months.

Just about every day, you can find the Illinois freshman-to-be dribbling two balls or going behind the back or between the legs while running up and down a court.

UI makes hire in volleyball

Anne Kordes, who played club volleyball for Don Hardin in Louisville, Ky., is rejoining her old coach at Illinois.

Kordes today was named an assistant coach on Hardin's Illini staff. Kordes was hired by Indiana in March as an assistant but decided to leave the Hoosiers before coaching a match there.

Illini recognized

   Illinois seniors Tracey Marshall and Melissa Beitz were named Thursday to the preseason All-Big Ten volleyball team.

Ex-Illini Gill feeling chipper

SAVOY – He was locked out at the beginning and left out of the playoffs at the end, but all in all, last season wasn't half-bad for Kendall Gill.

He tied an NBA record for steals in a game. He bagged his first triple-double. And midway through the strike-shortened season, he got his wish when the New Jersey Nets let coach John Calipari go and replaced him with Don Casey.

Illini strikes gold

PALMA de MALLORCA, Spain – First a Big Ten Freshman of the Year award. Then an undefeated tour of Australia. Now a gold medal at the World University Games.

Things couldn't be much better these days for Illinois sophomore Cory Bradford, who headed home today from Spain with a big smile on his face and a shiny medal around his neck.

Bradford, U.S. play for gold

The United States moved within one victory of its sixth straight World University Games gold medal by getting past Spain 88-80 on Sunday in the semifinals in Inca, Spain.

Rossow: New deal only fans high hopes

Late one night during her basketball camp last month, Theresa Grentz walked into a gym to find her current players and incoming recruits playing Ashley Berggren and other alumni.

And running them ragged.

Grentz, who in four years has built a program from scratch, flashed a smile as wide as any detention basin. When she first arrived on campus, pickup games between past and present Illini resembled lunch hour at the YMCA. Today they're organized and interesting.

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