"As a scout squadder in 1989, I was supposed to be Indiana''s Eric Anderson, and I couldn''t miss a shot. Coach (Lou) Henson was yelling at his starters. Gill couldn''t stop me. Bardo couldn''t stop me."
That''s a lasting memory for Wheaton''s Brian O''Connell, one of dozens of former Illini – stars, walk-ons, managers, etc. – already responding to the 100-year celebration of Illini basketball that will be conducted next season.
CHAPEL HILL, N.C. – Basketball was born in Springfield, Mass., and raised in Lawrence, Kan., but this is where it lives.
Cross the sprawling, tree-lined campus at North Carolina – about an hour from Greensboro, N.C., where the Tar Heels play Illinois tonight – and you''ll lose count of the joggers in Carolina Basketball T-shirts, of the shops that reference the Tar Heels in their name.
CHAMPAIGN – A year ago, the Illinois volleyball team barely made a dent in the All-Big Ten voting with one honorable-mention choice.
That''ll happen when you finish ninth in an 11-school league.
CHAMPAIGN – Normally, it''s the skill guys or linebackers who take home the big trophy at the Illinois football banquet. Not this year.
For the second time in 20 years, a defensive lineman was named Illinois Most Valuable Player. Derrick Strong joins 1989 co-winner Moe Gardner in the select company.
LOS ANGELES – Illinois women''s basketball team didn''t get the victories it was seeking during a two-game swing in southern California, but it is hoping the lessons learned will carry deep into the season.
After falling to No. 16 UC Santa Barbara on Friday, the Illini lost to UCLA 68-56 Sunday at Pauley Pavilion. Starter Angelina Williams and center Cindy Dallas dressed but did not play as an apparent result of what coach Theresa Grentz termed a "chemistry" issue following Friday''s game.
Eight games had been played in the 2002 ACC/Big Ten Challenge, and neither league had separated itself.
The guys from down south had four wins, same as the midwesterners.
During the college basketball season, Brett Dawson, our resident expert,
will answer a question each week on his specialty.
On UI football
- "I think Ron Turner should definitely be retained as coach for next year. They had a lot of injuries that kept them from attaining the goals they had set. However, that being said, the defensive coordinator must be replaced before next year or we will be faced with the same problems we had this year. We were too predictable on defense and that killed us." – Ray Lewis, Rantoul