I've said all along that if we even get servicable PG play from Meacham and/or Frazier, there's no reason we shouldn't be good again. I think we could be better offensively this year because we've got four good players returning in the same roles, albeit expanded, that they were in last year.
The '05-'06 Illini had zero players who were returning in a role they were in before; Dee had never been the point guard, Augie had never been a featured scorer, Randle, Pruitt and McBride had never been starters and had played very little, period, and Jamar and Frazier were freshmen. Even though we lose Dee and Augie, the last links to the 37-2 team, we enter this year with more continuity. I think Pruitt, Randle, McBride and Jamar all have a great opportunity to blossom into big-time players with the knowledge that we need them to score. All of them were outstanding at certain times last year, when we weren't over-reliant on Dee.
I think an X-factor for this team could be Rich Semrau. He was a Top 50 recruit with other offers from Florida, Wake and Kentucky before last summer, when he was injured and- from what I've read- badly misused by his AAU coach. He's 6'9", 225, is a terrific shooter, good rebounder, and moves very well. I think he could make as big of an impact as a freshman as Jamar Smith did.
Are either of you guys actually excited for Illinois football? This is the first time in four years that I have been. Not that we'll be good, but I think we'll be a lot better (I think 5-7 is realistic) and more fun to watch. I just can't believe the kind of recruits Zook is getting; a Top 25-rated class before all the analysts knew we had Jeff Cumberland and Melvin Alaeze. Alaeze, Justin Sanders and Antonio Steele immediately make our defense better, but our D-line will still pretty much suck (at least the tackles).
But guys like Juice Williams, Chris James, Cumberland, Alaeze, Rakheem Smith, Vontae Davis...that's the kind of recruiting class you eventually win conference championships with. Here's hoping Zook keeps it going in '07 with commits from Robert Hughes, Josh Brent, and Martez Wilson. These are the kind of guys that Turner, with few exceptions, could only dream of.
Last edited by TheGame414 : 08-20-2006 at 01:45 PM.