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Old Dec 25, 2012, 12:38 PM   #1
chucktownillini
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what should our expectations be regarding the team we will be fielding. Now of course, nothing set in stone, as we don't know what may transpire between now & then, but based on what we have at this moment for next season, give me your starting line-up along with who you think may back-up these players & why. For instance, I have Tracy starting at PG, backed up by Tate, but if we get the kid from Nova, Ty Johnson, I put him in front of Tracy, who bumps Tate to 3rd string.

Bertrand / Nunn / LaTulip
Abrams / Tate
Rice / Hill
Egwu / Morgan / Colbert
Henry / Langford / Shaw

Solid starting 5, but it's the inexperienced back ups that are concerning to me. Didn't add Ibby, as he has been a non-factor to this point. Langford could be a sleeper for us next season as far as productive minutes are concerned. Maybe Shaw is ready to take the next step as he becomes an upperclassman. I feel we will go as far as Joseph & Rice can take us. Enjoying this season for sure, but also enjoy looking ahead to the future of Illini bball & seeing how all this works out. Go Illini!!!!!!
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Old Dec 25, 2012, 02:00 PM   #2
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I disagree about Johnson jumping over Abrams. Tracy will be a 3rd year player and ready to truly breakout, I think Tracy puts up 13 and 6 next year. I could see Johnson and Abrams together along with Bertrand and then Henry and Egwu at the 4 and 5.

Then I see Langford or Malcolm stepping into Bertrand's role along with Rice, and then Tate backing up TA or Johnson.

I think Mav sees 8-15 mpg behind Egwu and maybe more depending on how bad Henry is defensively, and Rice can also play some 4 as well.

Right now I don't know where Nunn and Colbert see minutes. I'm sure it will clear up by next fall
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Old Dec 25, 2012, 02:40 PM   #3
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My feel is that talent trumps experience.

IF Johnson comes, he bumps TA. In fact I get the feel that towards the end of the season TA will be last in line for PG. Tate will be coached up enough to move TA. (I see effort in TA, but not the true PG mentality.)

Hill will get minutes- plenty of them.

So will Nunn.

MM should work himself into the rotation, so too Colbert.

Johnson/Tate-Abrams
Bertrand / Nunn
Rice / Hill
Henry-Colbert / Langford
Egwu / Morgan / Shaw

The new kids should exert late in the season.
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Old Dec 25, 2012, 03:56 PM   #4
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Not sure why Tracy is so unappreciated by some on this board, but he has come a long way from frosh to soon and he has proven he can play at this level (Johnson hasn't), and TA should make a jump next year as well.

Not saying that Johnson can't beat him out, but it's very dismissive to say Johnson and Tate will bump TA
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Old Dec 25, 2012, 04:08 PM   #5
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Not sure why Tracy is so unappreciated by some on this board, but he has come a long way from frosh to soon and he has proven he can play at this level (Johnson hasn't), and TA should make a jump next year as well.

Not saying that Johnson can't beat him out, but it's very dismissive to say Johnson and Tate will bump TA
Right. I have no clue how fans can be so definitive about who's better, who's going to play more, etc., especially in light of the fact that virtually no one has seen Johnson play (save for some brief HS highlight footage). To me, the talent gap between is Abrams & Johnson is not well defined and Abrams' 2 years of starting experience is being given short shrift.

Can Johnson beat out Abrams? Sure. Will he? I see that as 50/50, at most. These guys will have ample opportunity in practice to state their case. I believe Coach Groce & his staff will make the right decision. Whatever the decision, this is a great problem to have. I hope Johnson commits, as he appears to be a better option than everyone on our board with the exception of Lyle.
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Old Dec 25, 2012, 04:59 PM   #6
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Not sure why Tracy is so unappreciated by some on this board.
What you call unappreciated, I call appreciated at the appropriate level.

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Old Dec 25, 2012, 05:13 PM   #7
IlliniSpine
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Originally Posted by chucktownillini View Post
what should our expectations be regarding the team we will be fielding. Now of course, nothing set in stone, as we don't know what may transpire between now & then, but based on what we have at this moment for next season, give me your starting line-up along with who you think may back-up these players & why. For instance, I have Tracy starting at PG, backed up by Tate, but if we get the kid from Nova, Ty Johnson, I put him in front of Tracy, who bumps Tate to 3rd string.

Bertrand / Nunn / LaTulip
Abrams / Tate
Rice / Hill
Egwu / Morgan / Colbert
Henry / Langford / Shaw

Solid starting 5, but it's the inexperienced back ups that are concerning to me. Didn't add Ibby, as he has been a non-factor to this point. Langford could be a sleeper for us next season as far as productive minutes are concerned. Maybe Shaw is ready to take the next step as he becomes an upperclassman. I feel we will go as far as Joseph & Rice can take us. Enjoying this season for sure, but also enjoy looking ahead to the future of Illini bball & seeing how all this works out. Go Illini!!!!!!

1. Abrams / Tate (Johnson and TA a toss up if he commits)
2. Bertrand / Nunn / LaTulip
3. Rice / Hill
4. Henry / Colbert / Shaw or Langford (depends who supposedly transfers)
5. Egwu / Morgan

I see Colbert as more of a 4 especially with NE and MM in the mix.
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Old Dec 25, 2012, 05:19 PM   #8
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I think that JB minutes will increase and he could be starting by late this season or at least seeing top five in minutes played. As for next season my feeling after watching the Missouri game is the top three starters for next season in terms of minutes will be Abrams, JB, and RRice. Our weaknesses are in the post and if someone leaves who knows what could happen in terms of transfers. I think the mystery will be how much quickly and effectively Morgan develops. He seems to be surprisingly better so far this season than people thought he may. i think Egwu will play the 4/5. Henry the 4 and hopefully Morgan or a transfer can surprise and give us a big body off the bench or starting Big Ten season. We obviously are in dire need of. Maybe there is an Oriaki out there. If we dont get that big body i would nt be shocked if Groce went to small ball with Egwu, Hill, TA, JB, and Rice

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Old Dec 25, 2012, 05:31 PM   #9
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Assuming no transfers or additions.

C. Egwu, Morgan, Djimbe
F. Henry, Colbert, Shaw
G. Bertrand, Hill, Langford
G. Rice, Nunn
G. Abrams, Tate, LaTulip
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Old Dec 25, 2012, 05:50 PM   #10
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Assuming no transfers or additions.

C. Egwu, Morgan, Djimbe
F. Henry, Colbert, Shaw
G. Bertrand, Hill, Langford
G. Rice, Nunn
G. Abrams, Tate, LaTulip

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Old Dec 25, 2012, 07:17 PM   #11
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Originally Posted by combes View Post
Assuming no transfers or additions.

C. Egwu, Morgan, Djimbe
F. Henry, Colbert, Shaw
G. Bertrand, Hill, Langford
G. Rice, Nunn
G. Abrams, Tate, LaTulip
Agree, unless Nunn can be an absolute ball hawk on D, then I could see him starting and Rice coming off the bench.. But I think you have it right.
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Old Dec 25, 2012, 07:20 PM   #12
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Not sure why Tracy is so unappreciated by some on this board, but he has come a long way from frosh to soon and he has proven he can play at this level (Johnson hasn't), and TA should make a jump next year as well.

Not saying that Johnson can't beat him out, but it's very dismissive to say Johnson and Tate will bump TA
Agreed. I was very critical of Abrams after last season. He has proven himself to be a decent high major PG. I expect him to be much improved as the next 2.5 seasons pass. He will start for this team all through that time IMO.

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Old Dec 25, 2012, 07:23 PM   #13
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Agree, unless Nunn can be an absolute ball hawk on D, then I could see him starting and Rice coming off the bench.. But I think you have it right.
I never expect much from freshmen but I expect very little from Rice. He cannot shoot a lick and with him, Abrams and Egwu on the floor that is not going to space the floor adequately for mediocre penetrators to get to the rim. If Nunn can shoot the 3 and play high end defense, I think he gets more minutes than Rice.

Obviously if Rice learned to shoot during this year that would change as he was a decent on ball defender at his previous venue.

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Old Dec 25, 2012, 07:26 PM   #14
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Agree, unless Nunn can be an absolute ball hawk on D, then I could see him starting and Rice coming off the bench.. But I think you have it right.
Rice will have been around college basketball for three years by next fall.

I would be amazed if Nunn starts over him.
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Old Dec 25, 2012, 07:35 PM   #15
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I'm assuming (for no particluar reason) that we have Ty Johnson. I think he and TA, with some JB and Kendrick, get the minutes at 1/2. JB, Rayvonte, Malcom at the 3. Myke and Rayvonte (with some Colbert) at 4. Nnanna with Mav at the 5.

Most minutes go to:
TA, Ty, JB, Rayvonte, Myke, Nnanna. Without Ty, I think Malcolm will pick up some serious minutes. Kendrick I also see being part of the top 7
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Old Dec 25, 2012, 07:49 PM   #16
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Rice will have been around college basketball for three years by next fall.

I would be amazed if Nunn starts over him.
Yeah I think its a long shot and overall he wouldn't get more minutes but you see it sometimes where the Defensive stopper(if he can be one) starts over the more offensive player, especially how Groce plays. If it where to happen anyway it may be during B1G play, but likely it won't. Just throwing out the possibility.
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Old Dec 25, 2012, 08:53 PM   #17
chucktownillini
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Not sure why Tracy is so unappreciated by some on this board, but he has come a long way from frosh to soon and he has proven he can play at this level (Johnson hasn't), and TA should make a jump next year as well.

Not saying that Johnson can't beat him out, but it's very dismissive to say Johnson and Tate will bump TA
I appreciate Tracy very much, but if you have an opportunity to make your team better, you do it. JG's system still needs ball handlers. It isn't a slight to Abrams at all, actually it gives us 3 deep at PG if Johnson comes. Thats a good thing.
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Old Dec 25, 2012, 09:05 PM   #18
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I never expect much from freshmen but I expect very little from Rice. He cannot shoot a lick and with him, Abrams and Egwu on the floor that is not going to space the floor adequately for mediocre penetrators to get to the rim. If Nunn can shoot the 3 and play high end defense, I think he gets more minutes than Rice.

Obviously if Rice learned to shoot during this year that would change as he was a decent on ball defender at his previous venue.
RR is not a "mediocre penetrator", that's his game, driving to the hoop. Yes, the coaches are working on his outside shot, but he has more of an "inside game". Before he left, Klee said that RR was the best player in practices. Looking forward to seeing him suit up for us next season. Can't see Kendrick starting over him at all. And I love KN.
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Old Dec 25, 2012, 10:07 PM   #19
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Not sure why Tracy is so unappreciated by some on this board, but he has come a long way from frosh to soon and he has proven he can play at this level (Johnson hasn't), and TA should make a jump next year as well.

Not saying that Johnson can't beat him out, but it's very dismissive to say Johnson and Tate will bump TA
Well, as an ex coach I tend to look at the "next season" with a clean slate.

Then as I stated in my previous post, talent trumps experience. I have seen great improvement in TA, BUT, I just do not see him as a natural PG. Even in his improved state, to me, he is fluid. This is not a knock on him, just my observation.

I think it was Tupper who said, after the Mizzou game, UoI does not have any decent PGs (paraphrasing). I agree. So, it should never be considered a knock on anyone on this team. The fact that whoever played the PG has done well enough to be a 12-1 team, ranked and all is GREAT.

On the flip side imagine if we had two pure PGs.

Coming off the bench is a role. Nothing wrong with that. It is not a demotion to me.
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Old Dec 25, 2012, 10:24 PM   #20
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RR is not a "mediocre penetrator", that's his game, driving to the hoop. Yes, the coaches are working on his outside shot, but he has more of an "inside game". Before he left, Klee said that RR was the best player in practices. Looking forward to seeing him suit up for us next season. Can't see Kendrick starting over him at all. And I love KN.
We'll see. I don't think he'll be a good high major player. If he learns to shoot the 3 and loses 15-20#? Yes. I would hope he is losing the weight and getting into shape. Learning to be a 3 point shooter is hard and I always doubt people's ability to do so.

As for Klee....he's entitled to his opinion also. I hope he's correct.

De omnibus dubitandum est.

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Old Dec 26, 2012, 04:30 AM   #21
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We'll see. I don't think he'll be a good high major player. If he learns to shoot the 3 and loses 15-20#? Yes. I would hope he is losing the weight and getting into shape. Learning to be a 3 point shooter is hard and I always doubt people's ability to do so.

As for Klee....he's entitled to his opinion also. I hope he's correct.

De omnibus dubitandum est.
I have similar feelings on Rice. I hope I'm wrong, but I never understood the excitement regarding his decision to come here. He adds depth, but I think we're in trouble if he's one of our top 5 players.

Regarding Abrams, I like him. But the issue is that he isn't great. On a championship caliber team, he's probably a back-up. But he can be the starting PG on a very good team IMO. So given that limitation, people are trying to identify his replacement. That being said, the chances that Tate is better at any point over the next two years seem to be < 5% and I've seen little from Johnson that makes me expect him to be better very quickly. I think Johnson/Abrams might be a draw which would actually add some desperately needed depth at the PG spot.
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Old Dec 26, 2012, 05:03 AM   #22
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I have similar feelings on Rice. I hope I'm wrong, but I never understood the excitement regarding his decision to come here. He adds depth, but I think we're in trouble if he's one of our top 5 players.

Regarding Abrams, I like him. But the issue is that he isn't great. On a championship caliber team, he's probably a back-up. But he can be the starting PG on a very good team IMO. So given that limitation, people are trying to identify his replacement. That being said, the chances that Tate is better at any point over the next two years seem to be < 5% and I've seen little from Johnson that makes me expect him to be better very quickly. I think Johnson/Abrams might be a draw which would actually add some desperately needed depth at the PG spot.
The last article I read on rice was that he (rice) was working with the coaches and was consistently one of the best players during practice and was keeping at the right weight. So I'm not sure where the pessimism is coming from unless I've not read something recently contradicting a prior article. Thus the excitement. If he is as good as BP and wired even more to drive and score..with better handles..I think he would be a compliment to this team...too bad we don't have his services this year!

Why are people adding Ty like he is a part of the team already..haven't seen a commitment yet and by accounts he didn't make it down?
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Old Dec 26, 2012, 05:22 AM   #23
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The last article I read on rice was that he (rice) was working with the coaches and was consistently one of the best players during practice and was keeping at the right weight. So I'm not sure where the pessimism is coming from unless I've not read something recently contradicting a prior article. Thus the excitement. If he is as good as BP and wired even more to drive and score..with better handles..I think he would be a compliment to this team...too bad we don't have his services this year!

Why are people adding Ty like he is a part of the team already..haven't seen a commitment yet and by accounts he didn't make it down?
My view on Rice is based entirely on what I've seen in actual games. I don't put much stock in what coaches say about players because it seems that too often it doesn't end up holding true in games. I will certainly re-assess my opinion of Rice when I see him play next year.
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Old Dec 26, 2012, 05:47 AM   #24
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We'll see. I don't think he'll be a good high major player. If he learns to shoot the 3 and loses 15-20#? Yes. I would hope he is losing the weight and getting into shape. Learning to be a 3 point shooter is hard and I always doubt people's ability to do so.

As for Klee....he's entitled to his opinion also. I hope he's correct.

De omnibus dubitandum est.
FWIW, Groce said at a speaking event a week before the season that Rice has been the best player in practice to date. The key for him will be if he will continue to work hard and get after it this season where he isn't playing as it can be easy for someone sitting out to take it lose motivation.

Based on that comment, I'm excited to see him play next year and think he will be a big asset. Don't think he will replace Paul's numbers, but I expect we will be happy he transfered.
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Old Dec 26, 2012, 06:26 AM   #25
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RR is not a "mediocre penetrator", that's his game, driving to the hoop. Yes, the coaches are working on his outside shot, but he has more of an "inside game". Before he left, Klee said that RR was the best player in practices.

Looking forward to seeing him suit up for us next season. Can't see Kendrick starting over him at all. And I love KN.
I have read and heard the very positive reviews for Rice so far. As HoC and others have stated, the key is getting him in better shape and really working on improving the consistency with his outside shot. If that is not possible, then he needs to just exhibit better shot selection and be more efficient. After seeing the improvements from some of the current players in just a few months, I can't wait to see the improvements of Rice over a full season of work.

I absolutely do not see Kendrick Nunn starting over him. I am excited for Nunn, but I feel that a large percentage of this board and others have way too high of expectations for Nunn, especially as a freshman.

Until he improves his handles (right hand) and is more consistent with his jump shot, I can see him really struggling as a freshman as good coaches force you to your weaknesses.

I want to see Nunn stick to his strengths, which is being a ball hawk on defense, being aggressive, attacking the rim, and running the court. Anything on top of that as a freshman is icing.

I do think that Nunn has the ability to be a very good player as an upperclassmen, just feel some people have way too high of expectations for him right away.

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