Who's that Illini?

I was a two-time All-Big Ten selection in men's tennis, earning the honor in 1986 and '88. I also was Illini MVP during my junior and senior seasons. Lettering from 1985 to '88, I'm one of the few players from the pre-Craig Tiley coaching era to remain among the program's all-time statistical leaders. I rank ninth in both career singles wins (103) and combined wins (189) in UI history. I also stand 11th in career doubles victories with 86.

Brown's NBA plans were put on hold; now he's looking for alternate ending to UI career

The headband is absent today, the cornrows covered by an Illinois hat turned backward. In fact, on this rainy Champaign morning, there's no sign at all that Dee Brown is anything more than a mild-mannered intern.

Even that telltale smile is missing.

Nyquist is ready to get back on court  but she'll have to wait

CHICAGO – Megan Nyquist's season will begin tonight the same way her first one ended: on the bench, wearing street clothes.

The Illinois guard is recovering from arthroscopic surgery Nov. 1 to repair a torn meniscus. That followed December surgery to repair a torn ACL and meniscus in her right knee, injured during the Illini's first exhibition game last season.

Back to the Future Part II

We asked The News-Gazette sports staff for its thoughts on Illinois basketball:

Talent's at all-time low for UI

CHAMPAIGN – Senior Day will be a little short of talent.

Dixon defensive tackle Ryan Matha, who beat 20-percent odds in recovering from a severe knee injury, is the only Illini senior certain to start Saturday against Northwestern.

Recasting call

Everybody from Sean Connery to Pierce Brosnan has played James Bond. In the past 15 years, four different actors have worn the Batman mask. And hoops – like Hollywood – has a long-standing tradition of recasting its leads. You can't always find a first-rate fill-in (ask the Bulls, who once sent out a casting call to replace a legend and ended up casting Pete Myers). But at the best of times, you find a reliable replacement who can bring his own unique style to the role. Here, three critical roles Illinois basketball is looking to fill this season and three candidates hoping for successful auditions:

Tate: Put high expectations on UI yearlings out to pasture

When Luther Head missed a shot, or two or three, he never hesitated.

When Deron Williams misfired, as he often did, he couldn't wait to try again.

Illini Insider

A weekly review and preview of Illini sports:

Illinois men's basketball practice report

In one day, Illinois' regular season starts. It begins with a bang.

The Illini will play five games in their first nine games, a proposition that's both exciting and a little frightening for Bruce Weber.

Tony Bleill's Illini Q&A

This week's guest: Stephanie Sims.