Illini Insider

News-Gazette staff writer Jeff Huth''s review and preview of University of Illinois sports:

Coming to America no big hurdle for Swedish twins

CHAMPAIGN – The Swedish media apparently isn't shy about dipping deep into its pockets.

At least when it comes to covering the overseas exploits of two of the country's brightest track and field prospects.

Ere expected to sign at Oklahhoma

Ebi Ere was expected to sign a letter of intent today to play basketball at Oklahoma, the school he originally chose out of high school.

Illini leave home after split

Coaches who leave a job for one at another school often don't see firsthand the development of athletes they've recruited.

Illinois softball assistant Donna DiBiase-Lemon probably wishes she'd seen less of the players she signed to play at Loyola.

Energetic Oliver hoping to finish UI career with bang

MADISON, Wis. – Graydon Oliver can't sit still.

Not on the tennis court, where the Illinois senior hops about as if he's on hot coals. Not in the classroom, where he fiddles with his Bic pen until the bell rings. Not during interviews, where he musses his hair in between nouns and verbs.

Linebacker, UI a fit

ROMEOVILLE – The school that likes to think of itself as Linebacker U. has landed a player from Linebacker High.

Romeoville junior Cyrus Garrett has committed to play football at Illinois starting in 2002. Garrett is the first junior to pick Ron Turner's program, though other offers are out.

Tate: Predictions often based on rumors

It's silly season.

What we don't know, we imagine.

The new breed of Internet-connected message boarders – you almost can hear the panting – fantasize daily about basketball recruits they've never seen, predict next year's Final Four without knowing who's going pro and engage in all manner of guesswork.

We're no better.

Tiley only a phone call away

MADISON, Wis. – They can't see their head coach but certainly can hear him.

"He's already called several times," said Bruce Berque, who's filling in for Craig Tiley as Illinois coach at the Big Ten men's tennis tournament. "I'm sure he'll keep up to date on the phone."

Tate: Simmons warming to hot corner

This isn't a season Itch Jones will want to relive with his old pals down in southern Illinois.

The UI baseball coach is running out of pitchers and catchers, the winds of spring have brought no resolution to second base and the third outfield position, and there's no assurance the 20-23 Illini will be around to defend their Big Ten tourney championship.

Illini dominate distance, sprint events

The Illinois men dominated the distance races and the Illini women swept the sprints in the Midweek Twilight track and field meet Tuesday at the UI Outdoor Track.

The nonscored meet included teams from five schools.