Jim Rossow

Jim Rossow

Rossow: Atmosphere at Illinois will improve

The forecast calls for heat usually reserved for pizzas.

The schedule and Las Vegas indicate today's opponent would be better off playing somewhere else in the state, like in Charleston or Normal.

Open for business

NEW YORK – His $200-a-night hotel room is a thing of beauty. The Italian restaurant he dined at Sunday night was five-star. Practicing with Mark Philippoussis was an eye-opener. And he's pretty sure the play he has tickets for tonight – "The Phantom of the Opera" – will keep him entertained.

But for Illinois senior Graydon Oliver, nothing tops what he did during the weekend at the U.S. Open's National Tennis Center.

Sommerville has become Mr. Popular

This summer, he couldn't get an invitation to Nike's camp in Indianapolis. On Tuesday, he was the guest of Gene Keady at Purdue.

No senior in the state has improved his stock as much as Peoria Central's Marcellus Sommerville, who used the second half of July's recruiting period to secure a spot on the Top 25 team of his choice.

UI schedule involves heavy lifting

   CHAMPAIGN  Bill Self finally has a copy of the Illinois basketball schedule in his hands.

   But sweaty palms make it difficult to read.

No pain, no gain in Spicer's world

CHAMPAIGN – Betsy Spicer's in the best shape of her life. And the Illinois senior has the scratches to prove it.

Seems the family cat took exception to Spicer sprinting up and down the driveway of her Barrington home as part of a grueling summer conditioning program.

UI an easy sell

Jessy Belter would have committed sooner to Illinois had volleyball coach Don Hardin let her.

The two-time Missouri all-stater was sold on Hardin's program after visiting earlier this year and told the coach her mind was made up.

St. Lousian Lee visiting campus

ST. LOUIS – Kelvin Lee doesn't know where his star player's going to college, but he does know when David Lee will make his decision.

"He's going to sign early," said Kelvin Lee, boys' basketball coach at St. Louis Chaminade. "I sat down with him yesterday, and he still doesn't know where he wants to go. He's scratching his head."

Bradford to prepare Olympians

CHAMPAIGN – If his Illinois teammates need travel tips for Hawaii, Cory Bradford will be able to accommodate them.

The guard is headed there later this month as part of a USA Basketball Men's Select Team that will scrimmage the U.S. Olympians. He'll revisit Hawaii in November, when the Illini play in the Maui Invitational.

Whiz Kid passes away

   DES MOINES, Iowa  Jack Smiley, who helped the Whiz Kids develop into one of the most famous basketball teams at Illinois, died Sunday.

   He was 78.

Henson sticking around as coach

CHAMPAIGN – Getting back into coaching was the easy part for Lou Henson.

Getting out of it has been a bit trickier.