I was the highest-scoring guard in the Big Ten Conference during the 1940-41 season, averaging eight points a game. Sports writers and broadcasters selected me as a first-team all-star that year, joining Johnny Kotz and Gene Englund of the champion Wisconsin Badgers. My teammates voted me as the Illini MVP my senior season. When I graduated in 41, freshmen Gene Vance, Andy Phillip & Co. were poised to begin their varsity careers at the University of Illinois. I was a prep star at West Frankfort High School.
It''s probably too much to ask for Thursday''s game to provide some closure to the whole Illinois/Bruce Pearl situation, but here''s hoping. The Illini faithful gave Pearl some lusty boos, and when the horn sounded, Illinois had sent his team packing.
I WANT TO PARTY WITH YOU, COWBOY
Kentucky has Ashley Judd, and Cincinnati has Nick Lachey, so what about Illinois?
ROSEMONT – Illinois has shown it can win basketball games in myriad ways and sometimes without the shotmaking of Deron Williams and Dee Brown.
But Thursday night the junior all-stars were locked in, taking up slack for a gimpy Luther Head (sore hamstring), and that 1-2 punch overshadowed a spectacular 32-point outburst by Wisconsin-Milwaukee forward Joah Tucker.
URBANA – Teammates started calling him "Big Ten Ben" toward the end of his sophomore season.
Ben Newman has done nothing since to make them reconsider their choice of nicknames.
BRADENTON, Fla. – Ryan Rogowski went 4 for 8 on the day as the Illinois baseball team split two games on Thursday.
The Illini lost 4-1 to Wisconsin-Milwaukee and defeated Cornell 16-2.
ROSEMONT – After yet another three-pointer, Dee Brown turned to the CBS broadcast team and gave color commentator Jay Bilas some "love." After struggling with an upset stomach and cramps in the second round, Brown returned with a fury Thursday night against Wisconsin-Milwaukee.
Had a full day of counting airplanes and watching tollway gridlock planned, but we decided on a field trip instead.
We were in the neighborhood, sort of, so Jeff Mezydlo, John Dixon and I headed about 20 minutes north to visit Glenbrook North High School.
ROSEMONT – A week ago, he put a towel over his head. Sat back in his chair. Answered thoughtful questions with one-word answers.
Just as quickly, the grump went away. Replaced by the friendly, outgoing leader. The one who makes shots and hits open teammates with how-did-he-see-him passes.