Eye on the (future) Illini

Troy Gentle's weekly update on the five players headed Bruce Weber's way:

Haig in charge of the scout team, imitates USC quarterback

CHAMPAIGN – Phil Haig is John David Booty.

All right, so the Illinois freshman quarterback has a long way to go before he's on the same level as the USC star. But for the time being, Haig is running around Illini practices pretending to be Booty.

Sportsmanship high on G-RF list

GEORGETOWN – People have noticed.

"I don't think I've ever been a bad sport," Georgetown-Ridge Farm senior Rachael Everingham said with a giggle. "I think I learned from my family. That's just how I was brought up – to always encourage other people, as well as myself, and be the best I can."

SJ-O, Westville keep pace

ST. JOSEPH – St. Joseph and Westville each improved to 2-0 at the Leader Classic in advance of their Friday night matchup.

The four-time defending champion Spartans beat Clinton 49-34 on Wednesday as Mike Bialeschki had 15 points. Tad Worley and Zach Becker each added 10 for the Spartans, who took control with a 15-4 second-quarter run.

Hearing is believing for surging Simpson

COLUMBIA, Mo. – Lacey Simpson is showing she's a good listener.

Urged by Illini women's coach Jolette Law to explore her offensive options more often, Simpson has been an effective weapon recently for the Illini, who rolled past Missouri 66-52 Wednesday behind another strong effort from the sophomore forward.

St. Thomas More tips cap to coach

CHAMPAIGN – St. Thomas More's girls' basketball team lost a game Wednesday night but scored points in the sportsmanship category.

Bloomington Central Catholic forced 18 first-half turnovers and built leads as large as 21 points en route to a 60-44 nonconference win against the Sabers.

Three seniors helping put Bunnies back on the map

FISHER – Deon Mennenga is trying to build a basketball power at Fisher.

So far, he is making progress.

UI men's basketball game preview

Here's a look at the Illini men's 6 p.m. basketball game against Miami (Ohio):

No quit in Carlwell

CHAMPAIGN – When it rains on Brian Carlwell, it dumps buckets.

"Compared to what I've seen and what I've been through," he said Wednesday, a knee injury seems like a light drizzle.

Rust wears off for UI women

COLUMBIA, Mo. – It hardly was difficult for Jenna Smith to figure out that her Illini women's basketball team was fighting a severe case of rustiness during Wednesday's game against Missouri.

The biggest tipoff: "We were missing bunnies after bunnies, missing free throws, stuff that's just automatic for us," Smith said. "Once we came into the locker room at halftime, we said, 'Let's just play our game, relax, work (the ball) inside-out and just play our game.' "