Cook plays survivor

   RIBEIRAO PRETO, Brazil  Dear Mom,

   Send food.

   And flannel PJs.

   Love, Brrrrrian.

   "I''m ready to come home," a sniffling Brian Cook declared Tuesday, less than 48 hours after embarking on his first overseas trip.

Illinois pair among elite

Illinois volleyball players Betsy Spicer and Shadia Haddad were named Tuesday to the 13-member preseason All-Big Ten team by the coaches.

Spicer, a 6-foot-1 senior middle blocker from Barrington, led the Illini last season with 31 aces and 137 blocks and was second on the team with 326 kills. The All-Big Ten and all-district honoree last season was one of three unanimous selections.

UI coach balancing work, play

CHAMPAIGN – If you are 300th best player in baseball, you make at least $1 million a year. If you're No. 300 in football, you get a guaranteed nice check.

But be the No. 300 golfer, and you start looking for other work. Like coaching at your alma mater.

Second Wind: Buford-Bailey headed back to Olympics

   SACRAMENTO, Calif.  Tonja Buford-Bailey was never particularly fond of the 400-meter hurdles anyway. In the early 1990s, Illinois coach Gary Winckler had to sell her on the idea it would become her best event.

   So after she gave birth to a son in 1998, she didn''t hear only the baby''s cries. She heard the critics who said her track career was over, that she wouldn''t reclaim motivation or running rhythm.

Illini recruit makes team

Incoming Illinois freshman Aminata Yanni, a 6-foot-1 forward from Machesney Park Harlem, made the 12-player roster for USA Basketball's Women's Junior World Championship Qualifying team.

Connecticut women's basketball coach Geno Auriemma finalized the roster Sunday for the U.S. team, which competes July 26-30 in Mar del Plata, Argentina.

Illini results for U.S. Olympic track and field trials in Sacramento, Calif.

Former Illini Tonja Buford-Bailey won her heat in the 400 hurdles. Former Illini Yvonne Harrison was third in the same heat and qualified for tonight's finals.

Former Illini Stacy Ann Grant was sixth in the high jump and did not advance. Current Illini Gia Lewis, a Centennial product, finished 20th in the discus preliminaries and didn't advance.

Henson sticking around as coach

CHAMPAIGN – Getting back into coaching was the easy part for Lou Henson.

Getting out of it has been a bit trickier.

Former Illini captures Macker dunk contest

   CHAMPAIGN  Add two more assists to the record book for Illini point guard Frank Williams.

   Williams'' feed to former teammate Cleotis Brown sealed his fate as the 2000 Champaign Gus Macker slam dunk contest champion Saturday evening. Brown leaped over the scorers'' table and jammed the ball with two hands to beat three other finalists.

Badgers have big hole to fill

MADISON, Wis. – Is Wisconsin center Casey Rabach going to miss Ron Dayne?

Does Shaquille O'Neal miss free throws?

Rossow: Relax, Illini, other teams hurting, too

The top receiver is out for the season. The offensive guard with All-Big Ten potential still is recovering from a broken leg. And the school might need the E Street Band to march at halftime to guarantee a sellout, tickets not going as fast as expected for a bowl-bound team.