Who''s that Illini?

In 1996, before I became a member of the Illini women''s track team, I competed in the 1996 World Junior Championships. At Illinois, my highlights included a fifth-place finish in the mile at the NCAA indoors in 2000. The previous year I was ninth in the 800 meters at the national indoor meet.

Archibald, Ingram, Powell get NBA shots

Ex-Illinois basketball players Roger Powell Jr. and Jack Ingram weren''t drafted last week, but they''ll pursue their NBA dreams just the same.

Powell has signed with the Dallas Mavericks'' summer league team, and Ingram will play for the Utah Jazz summer league squad. Both teams are scheduled to take part in the Rocky Mountain Revue summer league in Salt Lake City beginning July 16. Powell and the Mavericks also will play in the Las Vegas Summer Pro League beginning today.

Letter rip

This week''s comments from readers:

Who''s that Illini?

I own the women''s basketball school record for blocked shots by a freshman. I had 37 in 1996-97, and by the time I left Illinois in 1998, I was fifth on the career list. I concluded my college career at Nebraska.

Ask Brett

I noticed in a recent column that Illinois led the nation in total basketball attendance this past season. Have the Illini ever led the nation in home attendance?

Who''s that Illini?

I am one of the greatest Illini gymnasts ever in floor exercise. I share the UI record for the event with David Zeddies at 9.90 (set under the college scoring system in effect through 2000). During my career, I recorded five of the top seven all-time UI scores in floor exercise. In 1989, I won Big Ten titles in my signature event and in the vault. I was a two-time All-American in floor exercise and a one-time All-American in vault.

More coaches are finding a way to have a job and raise a family

CHAMPAIGN – When Northwestern women''s basketball coach Beth Combs was delivering son Jack last August, little did she know she would bring home a recruiting haul as well.

"We joke about it now," said Combs, a former Illini who completed her first season at Northwestern in March. "We got our first two commitments here at Northwestern while I was in the hospital.

Rossow: Congrats, we're movin' on up (I think)

In about a month, when the smoke rises from the chimney at The Sporting News, we''ll know where Champaign-Urbana stands as a sports city.

A year ago, we were 99th --which, considering there were 368 cities on the list, seemed reasonable. But Kalamazoo was 98th and Toledo was 95th – which, considering it was Kalamazoo and Toledo, seemed like Nancy Cantor was counting the votes.

UI participation in Western should open some eyes

LEMONT – The best thing about having four former Illinois golfers in the same tournament? Ed Beard can save money on his telephone bill.

The former Illinois men''s golf coach was in his glory Thursday as he walked Cog Hill''s Dubsdread course in the sticky, muggy conditions following three of his former players – Mike Small, Steve Stricker and D.A. Points – and one he tried to recruit – Joe Affrunti, left – who ended up at Illinois after Beard retired.

Midmajor loyalty, major friendships

They are friends first, their friendships forged in playing days in central Illinois and strengthened by the shared experience of their profession.

Yes, former Danville stars Stan Gouard (an assistant coach at Indiana State) and Troy Collier (Southwest Missouri State) and ex-Rantoul star Kareem Richardson (Evansville) are friends first.