Best Illini All-Time Starting Lineup

#2
I'd take:

STARTERS

Deron Williams
Dee Brown
Nick Anderson
Kenny Battle
Deon Thomas

BENCH

Derek Harper
Kendall Gill
Bruce Douglas
Frank Williams
Andy Kaufman
Kenny Norman
Brian Cook
James Augustine
 
#3
Ordained Dudeist Priest
Johns Creek, GA
I'd take:

STARTERS

Deron Williams
Dee Brown
Nick Anderson
Kenny Battle
Deon Thomas

BENCH

Derek Harper
Kendall Gill
Bruce Douglas
Frank Williams
Andy Kaufman
Kenny Norman
Brian Cook
James Augustine

I like the talent, but you've got 5 guys who can play the point in there.
 
#4
I like the talent, but you've got 5 guys who can play the point in there.

Agreed but Dee and Derek play well off the ball.

Frank and Deron are your pure PG's and Bruce is your defensive stopper. The team could use a bit more outside shooting for sure. Maybe substitute Cory Bradford or Keene for Snake or Kaufman to provide balance (though taking Snake out is sacrilege to me).
 
#5
Baja Ontario
Dave Downey > Andy Kaufman? Tal Brody for a six pack of PGs.

Also, feel free to play on my lawn, maybe make snowman.
 
#8
Orange Crush '89
Northern Illinois
This is fun, nice thread guys.

I like Dayton's list but don't feel that Andy Kaufmann belongs. I'd swap Eddie Johnson or Nick Weatherspoon. I feel like Red Kerr has to be there too so I'd swap him in for Augie.
 
#9
I love Deron and Dee as much as the next Illini fan, but any all-time Illini team where Frankie is not the starting point guard is wrong.

My lineup up:

Frank Williams
Deron Williams
Nick Anderson
Kenny Battle
Deon Thomas

Bench:

Dee Brown
Derek Harper
Eddie Johnson
Luther Head
Kendall Gill
Brian Cook
James Augustine

There are plenty of greats left off the list, and my list is heavily geared towards my lifetime (with Eddie and Derek Harper being two notable exceptions). Ken Norman probably belongs b/c the list is heavily weighted towards guards.
 
#10
Barrington, IL
Best all time starting fives - pre 2000 and post 2000

Her are my starting 5's:

Pre-2000

G D Harper
G B Douglas
F N Anderson
F K Norman
C E Winters

Sub - K Battle
N Weatherspoon
K Gill

Post-2000

G F Williams
G D Williams
G D Brown
F B Cook
F R Powell

Sub - L Head
J Augustine
M Leonard

There is room for debate and I look forward to more suggestions
 
#11
Washington, DC
It is ironic that the one position where we wind up having to trim truly great players from the lineup is point guard.

To paraphrase a common Loyalty punchline:
We had our point guard.
 
#12
Bucktown, Chicago
STARTERS

Frank Williams
Deron Williams
Nick Anderson
Deon Thomas
Brian Cook

BENCH
Dee Brown
Derek Harper
Eddie Johnson
Bruce Douglas
Kendall Gill
Robert Archibald (need some beef up front, and he's always been a sneaky favorite of mine)
James Augustine
Kenny Battle
 
#14
1: Deron (top-3 NBA pick)
2: Harper (first-team A-A)
3: Gill (first-team A-A)
4: Anderson (our "stretch 4")
5: Weatherspoon (1st-round NBA draft pick and best big man in UI history imo)

Bench:
1: Frank (first-round pick)
2: Dee (first-team A-A)
3: EJ (one of best NBA sixth men of all time)
4: Battle (leader of best UI team of all time)
5: Cook (first-round pick)
 
#15
I know these lists are essentially the most talented guys at each position, but if I'm putting together a team, I need a Lucas Johnson on my bench somewhere
 
#16
New York
1: Deron (top-3 NBA pick)
2: Harper (first-team A-A)
3: Gill (first-team A-A)
4: Anderson (our "stretch 4")
5: Weatherspoon (1st-round NBA draft pick and best big man in UI history imo)

Bench:
1: Frank (first-round pick)
2: Dee (first-team A-A)
3: EJ (one of best NBA sixth men of all time)
4: Battle (leader of best UI team of all time)
5: Cook (first-round pick)


I was just typing in the exact same starting lineup except Deon instead of Weatherspoon (I wasn't alive for Weatherspoon). Probably stick Luther and Snake on the bench too.
 
#17
Well I was going to say that the article said "our modern generation," which is why you don't see Downey, Kerr and some of the other all-time greats on there. But then they've got guys like Havlicek and Jerry Lucas for tOSU, Tomjanovic, Issel... Oscar Robertson, George Yardley who played for Stanford in the 40s? Oh ok, the article is titled with "the best players of all time"

I hate to tell the writer of this article... but that's not the modern generation. Anybody that played in the 40s is closer to my grandparents' generation than mine. A generation is 20-30 years by most accepted standards. Poorly written article. Not to mention the fact that it's about unreadable due to the sheer number of teams on it. But I gotta love that Illinois Mizzou is first.
 
#18
Orange & Blue Blood in my Veins
Starters
C - Deon Thomas
PF - Ken Norman
SF - Kenny Battle
SG - Nick Anderson
PG - Frank Williams

Bench
Brian Cook
Deron Williams
Kiwane Garris
Dee Brown
Kendall Gill
Derek Harper
Efrom Winters
Luther Head

This would be a team of Toughness and Unbelievable firepower!!!
 
#19
Fun thread.
My lineup.
Guards: D. Williams, K. Gill Sub: B. Douglas
Forwards: N. Anderson, N. Weatherspoon Sub: K. Norman
Centers: E. Winters Sub: R. Kerr

Also, I stated that Gene Vance should have been mentioned on the best guard thread. Why are we leaving off the Whiz kids? They would have been national champions if not for the war.
 
#20
1: Deron (top-3 NBA pick)
2: Harper (first-team A-A)
3: Gill (first-team A-A)
4: Anderson (our "stretch 4")
5: Weatherspoon (1st-round NBA draft pick and best big man in UI history imo)

Bench:
1: Frank (first-round pick)
2: Dee (first-team A-A)
3: EJ (one of best NBA sixth men of all time)
4: Battle (leader of best UI team of all time)
5: Cook (first-round pick)

I am a big Weatherspoon fan, but he was not a big. He was a 6-6 small forward.
 
#21
Fun thread.
My lineup.
Guards: D. Williams, K. Gill Sub: B. Douglas
Forwards: N. Anderson, N. Weatherspoon Sub: K. Norman
Centers: E. Winters Sub: R. Kerr

Also, I stated that Gene Vance should have been mentioned on the best guard thread. Why are we leaving off the Whiz kids? They would have been national champions if not for the war.

Winters was a solid player at Illinois but he is not an all time great, imo. Kerr was a 25 ppg scorer his senior year. Skip Thoren averaged over 20 ppg and over 14 rbg for two straight seasons. I would take Ken Norman over Winters even though Norman was not a true big. Deon Thomas was a better player than Winters. Winters best year was his sophomore year and then he kind of slid back some his last two years.

I agree on your forwards.

As for your guards, they are both worthy. I like Derek Harper for one spot, but that is just my opinion.
 
#22
My biggest complaint with these types of threads is that posters should not say that their lineup is the best lineup in UI history. They should say that it is the best lineup in their time as a fan. It is pretty easy to tell how old a poster is by what his lineup is. :)

For example, how can a young fan know that Don Freeman was a better player than many of the names they have in their lineups since they never saw him play? He averaged 27 ppg as a senior at Illinois and was a long time ABA all star and 20 ppg scorer there. Heck of a player.
 
#23
Baja Ontario
My biggest complaint with these types of threads is that posters should not say that their lineup is the best lineup in UI history. They should say that it is the best lineup in their time as a fan. It is pretty easy to tell how old a poster is by what his lineup is. :)

For example, how can a young fan know that Don Freeman was a better player than many of the names they have in their lineups since they never saw him play? He averaged 27 ppg as a senior at Illinois and was a long time ABA all star and 20 ppg scorer there. Heck of a player.

Very true.
 
#24
1.) Derek Harper
2.) Deron Williams
3.) Nick Anderson
4.) Ken Norman
5.) Deon Thomas

Second Team;
1.) Bruce Douglas
2.) Kendal Gill
3.) Eddie Johnson
4.) Nick Witherspoon
5.) Efrem Winters

Rounding out the squad (my favs);
Dee Brown, Kenny Battle, George Montgomery
 
#25
Chicago
If I wanted to assemble an All-Time Illini team for the sole purpose of dismantling this year's unbeaten Kentucky squad, or the 2012 NC team for that matter, then it would be this 13 man team:

STARTERS:

PG - Frank Williams (6-4) - Size-wise and skills, HRF would match up with any of the Harrison twins, and his assist totals would be through the roof with high-flying finishers like Gill, Anderson and Battle.
2G - Kendall Gill (6-5) - With his length, athleticism and outside shooting, he would wreak major havoc on either Booker or the Harrisons on the perimeter.
SF - Nick Anderson (6-5) - Somewhat undersized against a very tall UK frontline, but his ability to go both inside and out, and sheer tenacity on the glass would be a sight to behold. A true warrior!
PF - Brian Cook (6-10) - Battle is my favorite forward in Illini history, but he would be somewhat undersized in this particular matchup, which is why I would start Cook. A versatile big man with great post moves and an even better stroke from the arc. UK big men would have a hard time guarding him from the arc to the tin.
C - Meyers Leonard (7-0) - As much as it pains me to admit it, he is the most athletic post man we've had at Illinois in my 35 years of watching UI hoops, even though he never truly flourished under Weber. And now with his expanded range out to the 3-pt line, he would be the ideal pivot to go up against the likes of Cauley-Stein, Towns, Poythress or Johnson.

BENCH:

PG - Dee Brown (5-11) - Would be the perfect counterpoint to match up with Tyler Ulis, and place major pressure on the UK guards to back peddle on defense, or cover the secondary break where his 3-pt shooting would come into play.
PG - Deron Williams (6-3) - One of the NBA's best PGs, put him in the 2nd unit with his ex-teammate Brown, and the Squid man would need every one of his able bodies on the bench to stay out of foul trouble in this game.
PG - Derek Harper (6-2) - One of the most underrated NBA players ever, that '83-'84 team would have easily advanced past UK to the Final Four had he stayed for his final year.
SF - Kenny Battle (6-5) - The REAL "Savage," instant energy guy off the bench that would be a terror on the boards, and suffocating in a full-court press defense.
SF - Eddie Johnson (6-7) - Such a smooth scorer, and to this day the player who has scored the most points in the NBA without ever making it onto an All-Star roster!
SF - Nick Weatherspoon (6-7) - Another warrior on the glass who played much bigger than his size!
PF - Ken Norman (6-8) - One of the most powerful inside players to don the orange and blue. He would be a load on the offensive glass alongside a guy like Anderson.
PF - Deon Thomas (6-9) - Was actually more of a 4 than a post player, and is the school's All-Time scoring leader, and 2nd in blocked shots. Henson never had the luxury of utilizing his wonderful outside stroke, since he played exclusively in the paint. (Did you know that he was one of the finalists in the McDonald's game 3-pt shooting contest?). He only attempted TWO 3-pt shots his entire career at Illinois!

Just looking at this list of players, it's especially sobering to think that John Calipari, since he took over the head coaching job at Kentucky, will have sent as many players to the NBA (including those projected to get drafted from this year's team) as Illinois has in the last 40 years!

A reality check that really puts things into perspective in terms of how far we are from historically being considered a truly ELITE program. That said, we've had some great players at the U of I over the years!

:illinois: