Jim Rossow

Jim Rossow

Rossow: Illini rule for 1998 -- No singing

There was some good (check out Nos. 2-10 in the ''The News-Gazette''s Top 10 Sports Stories of 1997 in photos'') and a little bad (No. 1) last year. More of the same is expected in 1998.

An abbreviated forecast:

Gee''s troubles put Illini in foul mood

   ST. LOUIS  When Jarrod Gee piles up the fouls, his pals pay for it.

   "We don''t have a lot of presence in the interior," Illinois coach Lon Kruger said. "When we don''t have Gee in there, especially from an offensive standpoint, we get very perimeter-oriented."

Missouri feeds off of transfer''s high energy

   ST. LOUIS  It was here where Albert White first caught our attention, a slick prep star turning heads at the 1995 McDonald''s All-Star game.

   So it was fitting the Kiel Center served as host for his re-emergence on the college basketball scene after a frustrating year off.

UI''s Kruger keeps dad on his mind

The two chat on the phone every day, topics ranging from family to fast breaks.

Today, the conversation no doubt will be about Illinois and how it fared against Texas on the basketball court. Don Kruger will do the talking. And his oldest son will do the listening, soaking up every word.

All-State quarterback selects UI

With Rich East's rich tradition of producing college quarterbacks, it's no wonder University of Illinois football coach Ron Turner was so interested in Walter Young.

Young, a News-Gazette All-Stater, today became the second high school quarterback to commit to Turner's program, joining Schaumburg's Kurt Kittner.

Hughes finds way to help Bills

ST. LOUIS – Illinois freshman Cory Bradford never has had so much fun in practice. His orders last week: Act like Larry Hughes and shoot the basketball whenever and wherever possible.

There is no sweeter-sounding request for a shooter.

Rossow: December fun a must for Illinois

For the folks who missed Tuesday's catnap against Texas Pan-American – and by the looks of all those empty seats at the Assembly Hall, there are quite a few of you – a reminder of what went down:

– Kevin Turner remembered how to shoot a three-pointer. The senior made three of them against a suspect Pan Am defense, nearly half as many as he had in the first six games (7) and one more than he sank in San Juan.

Rossow: Memo to UI: Don''t worry, be happy

It's a worry-free team, Lon Kruger's Illini.

They're unbeaten and beach-bound, the UI's flight arriving today in balmy San Juan for a Thanksgiving sunburn. They've survived haymakers from two stoked-up neighbors, first Bradley then Illinois-Chicago on Monday. They've won with players sick, injured and off-target. They are on schedule for postseason play.

Rossow: Heldman learning on the job

   It tugs on him like undertow, the temptation to dribble down court, spot up behind the three-point line and let fly.

   Matt Heldman was raised a shooter, after all.

   But his conscience tugs at him just as hard these days. In his new role as University of Illinois point guard, he has teammates to worry about.

Illini women''s basketball update

News and notes on UI women's basketball: