Dawson: Weber hands Randle honor

Bruce Weber had called his team together for an early summer meeting to discuss a few details, and when talk turned to captains, everyone in the room knew what to expect.

Dee Brown? You bet.

UI recruit struts his stuff

BLOOMINGTON – With the South down by 20 points midway through the second half, some fans at the Illinois Basketball Coaches Association Class AA All-Star Game were deciding whether they should leave during the next timeout.

Then, Jamar Smith hit a three-pointer. Then, another, and another. Smith, who had three points in the first half for a South squad that looked completely overmatched by the North, led a furious second-half comeback that saw his team come within two points in the final minute, but the team failed to complete the comeback, losing 104-100 Saturday at the Shirk Center.

2004-05 UI year in review

The News-Gazette''s annual look back at the best of Illinois'' athletic year:

Top male athlete: Head rebuilt a tarnished image

CHAMPAIGN – There were people who doubted Luther Head would ever give himself an opportunity to win a Senior Athlete of the Year award.

The ones who wondered if he''d ever cut it academically at Illinois.

Who''s that Illini?

In 2000, the first season for Illini softball, I won the team''s Slugger Award. Though it was my only season on the team, I led the squad in hits (26), doubles (six), RBI (16) and steals (four).

Rossow: Illinois AD warming up to baseball idea

On Saturday at Omaha, Neb., Will Crouch and David Maroul homered to give Texas a 4-2 victory against Florida in the first game of their best-of-three series to decide the College World Series champion.

Meanwhile, at Wrigley Field in Chicago, Illinois rallied with three runs in the bottom of the ninth to beat Bowling Green 9-8 in the first game of their best-of-three series to decide the Northern World Series champion.

A weekly recruiting chat ...

This week''s guest: Brian Caldwell.

Brett''s random thoughts

Bruce Weber hasn''t seen an official list of games for the ACC/Big Ten Challenge, but Illinois tentatively is scheduled to meet North Carolina in a rematch of the NCAA title game.

Top female athlete: Hurless wears her Illini pride well

VIRGINIA BEACH, Va. – Not long after the photos were snapped for the Illinois senior athletes of the year special, Tara Hurless went running off to class in full uniform.

The highest-profile Illini soccer player to date was easily recognizable that day. And more people started to recognize the two-time All-American by the end of her brilliant career.

Time set for California game

CHAMPAIGN – Illinois'' road game against California is scheduled to kick off at 4 p.m. Sept. 17. The nonconference game is not expected to be televised.