I can't stand Rich McBride. I really, really can't.
Nice win tonight. This team has shown some resolve, and Bruce Weber is probably the best second-half coach in the nation. Whatever adjustments needs to be made, this staff almost always makes them.
I don't think Bradley was picked very highly in the MVC, but I wouldn't be surprised if this counts in the "quality win" ledger come March. That's a good club, and Dan Ruffin is probably a top 10 PG nationally.
We did a much better job in the second half with it, but I'm concerned about our sloppiness with the ball. Especially Meacham.
Great to have Jamar back. If there's a better shooter in the nation, I'm not aware of it.
I wonder if they'd be flinging all these threes about from every direction and be so dangerous if they still had O'Bryant.
I know this sounds like a really weird comparison, but it reminds me of when Eddy Curry was in high school. His team made it to the state championship game his senior year, but without him they still made it back to state and went 27-4 the next year. They had a couple mid-major D-I guys on the team but no one big-time; they just had a bunch of guards and wings who played hard and hit three after three after three.
Possibly the first time a college team ever reminded me of a high school team, except I guess for the 2000-2001 Illini reminding me of the mid-late 90's Peoria Manual team. Then again, that's because Frank Williams, Sergio McClain and Marcus Griffin started for both of those teams.
Should've mentioned him before, but I love Chester Frazier. 11 assists, 1 TO. Two huge three-pointers, and nailed all four of his FTs down the stretch. He struggled with Ruffin's quickness in the first half, but really dominated the matchup in the second half.
This week will be a gauge of how close this team still is, or isn't, to that level. Of course, it could also simply be a gauge of how much we really need Brian Randle, if these two games don't go well.
Thanks Illinifan. I've been looking for the T-Shirt EVERYWHERE. Just can't seem to find it.
Big game this week!!!!!!!!!!! My two roomates are from College Park area, so they're trash talking big right now (even though they're UI students), but I'm sure Chester, Jamar, and Pruitt will cut them down to size.
Randle's probably still out another 3-4 weeks. Best case, we get him back right before Mizzou.
Oh, and a quick note on Jereme Richmond...a friend of mine whose basketball opinion I highly regard saw him play this weekend. I asked him what he thought, and this is all he said: "Tracy McGrady."
I enjoyed hearing that.
I know the kid isn't even 15 yet, but I also trust that this staff wouldn't offer him so early if they didn't think he was going to continue to develop. There aren't any blowaway players in Illinois for 2008- some very good ones, but no megastars- and there may not be one in 2009, though D.J. Richardson, the next Peoria great, could be.
So looking 2-3 years down the line, Jereme Richmond could definitely be the next great one from Illinois: Dee, Igoudalia, Shannon, Livingston, Sherron, Scheyer, Rose....Richmond. I like the sound of it.
RICH MCBRIDE NEEDS TO GET CUT OR SENT TO AA. Went to the game tonight and I rather have Jamar Smith clanking threes all day than to see Rich McBride not give a **** for the first half, actually care and go on a run for two posistions then think he's a hero and clanks shot after shot and makes turnover after turn over. I can't stand it. And it kills me cause I used to really like him as a player. We need randle back so he can go back to the bench.
Warren Carter and Shaun Pruitt are the stars of this team. Warren looked like KG in the first half, though it seems as if all the diving did something to his knee and he didn't look as good in the second half. Pruitt was a man scoring inside like I like to see him do, but he needs to stop being OC and learn to stay in bounds. But I like his development, he'll be a force in the Big Ten soon enough. Carlwell just looks like he needs to play with the team more. He fumbled a lot of passes, but he looks like he had a lot of effort.
Chester didn't do much tonight and Meacham looked aggressive. I liked the effort, just that Rich really either needs to get it together or sit on the bench and cheer.
Heartbreaking loss. Illini lose, Nets lose, and I loss a bet to my roommates which is forcing me to do something so embarrassing I rather not speak of it online.
Frazier sprained his ankle on Saturday night. Apparently, Weber said if it wasn't Maryland, he would've sat tonight. He looked slow, and so did Jamar; neither one of them is healthy.
And once again, I must reiterate my hatred for Rich McBride.
This was the first game we truly missed Brian Randle, because he's the only guy we have that matches the athleticism of the forwards of a Maryland or Arizona. There aren't many 6'8" guys in the country, period, that match that type of athleticism, but Randle's one of them. I know Ebekwe was out for them as well, so it's not really an excuse.
We're shorthanded with Randle out and Frazier and Jamar banged up, but we just played poorly and didn't hit shots. Maryland's a terrific team, that Vasquez kid is a stud.
Can't complain about our frontcourt, though; great job Carter and Carlwell in the first half, and Pruitt and Brock (who I still consider a forward more than a guard, even at 6'5") in the second half.
Yeah Brock was good, hit a big three. I forget that Ebekwe was out tonight, well I got to the game late and didn't really hear anything up in the C section but the game just pissed me off in general. I didn't know about Chester Fraizer, but if it's true, kid is tough.
I really wish Weber had more faith in Jamar. Just cause he missed his first shots didn't mean he wouldn't get hot. I mean, for real, McBride was allowed to shoot himself back into the game (which he did for all of two possessions). I like that the team is getting better at feeding the post and reposting, but when Maryland started the full court, you see like up to 6 seconds being taken off the shot clock and harder to find the best shot. Hopefully Pruitt's development just gets faster and faster and he can become a beast. I love the kid and he grows on me each game. Same with Warren, and ofcourse I love Jamar Smith.