Dawson: Shoes fit, so coaches wear both

In the war between shoe companies, it's best for college basketball programs to maintain a certain degree of neutrality, at least in the summer months.

True, Nike donates big dollars to the coaches whose programs sport its footwear and apparel, Illinois' Bill Self and Duke's Mike Krzyzewski among them. And sure, adidas does the same, ponying up serious cash for big names like Louisville's Rick Pitino.

UI coach just wants to be competitive at Western Open

LEMONT – Mike Small is realistic about his stay at the Advil Western Open, but that doesn't mean he won't have a goal.

"I still want to stay competitive," said the Illinois men's golf coach, who qualified for this weekend's PGA Tour event that starts today at Cog Hill's Dubsdread course in southwest suburban Chicago.

Guardedly optimistic

THE COLONY, Texas – At first, Deron Williams wanted no part of it.

The Illinois coaching staff had told him its vision, of Willams and Dee Brown playing together in the backcourt, of the pair combining with Luther Head to form a three-guard rotation that would leave the Illini loaded in the post-Frank Williams era.

Ex-Illini Ridley putting degree to use at camp

URBANA – His collegiate track career might have come to an end, but former Illini Babatunde Ridley hopes to keep running in his future.

He already has if his work this summer with the Urbana Park District is an indication.

Illini center Smith travels with league team overseas

Illinois redshirt freshman Nick Smith is taking his show on the road this summer, traveling to England and Ireland with the Big Ten Foreign Tour Team.

No stories today

This is just a reminder that we are in the summer portion of the Illini SportsFacts Online subscription year.

During the summer, we cannot guarantee that The News-Gazette Sports Department will have a story on University of Illinois or Big Ten sports every day.

This is one of those days.

It is for this reason that we do not charge subscribers for the summer.

Normally, there are not very many days that Sports doesn't produce stories about UI sports. We will continue to place online any UI or Big Ten stories that are published over the summer when available.

Bleill: Homesickness leads player to UI program

Brett Leonard isn't leaving Arizona State as a disgruntled player. Far from it.

The Glenview native had a "wonderful" time playing two seasons for the Sun Devils. She was an important contributor, serving as the backup point guard and playing 17 minutes a game in 2000-01. The Sun Devils earned a share of their first Pac-10 title and played in the NCAA tournament.

Future Illini star in prep curtain call

BLOOMINGTON – Fittingly, the guy who took center stage at Saturday's IBCA Class AA All-Star Game had to rush home to finish his theater homework.

"Believe it or not, I actually have homework to do tonight," said the star in question, Illinois signee Roger Powell, after he scored 18 points to lead his North All-Stars to a 136-116 win against the South. "I have to write a four-page paper about a play I went to see."

Defensive line prospect Connor uses time wisely in NFL Europe

Amsterdam Arena is a long way from the Louisiana Superdome, and the World Bowl isn't quite the Super Bowl. But it's not bad for now to Rameel Connor.

Connor spent the past 2 1/2 months playing football in Barcelona and keeping his NFL aspirations alive. You might have noticed him starting at left defensive end during Saturday's World Bowl – NFL Europe's championship game. He made 2 1/2 tackles in Barcelona's loss.

Ohio prep tailback coming to Illinois

Donnie Johnson wanted to make his college choice during the summer. All it took was a visit to Champaign-Urbana.

The North College Hills (Ohio) High School tailback has committed to play football at Illinois. He becomes the fifth member of the class of 2002.