Illini Basketball 2019-2020

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Bonnaroo Land
Agree that Kofi can make a big difference. But, it's possible that a transfer power forward might be even more key for us than Kofi, because I think GB might be strongest for us as a 5 next year.

On defense, I tend to think sophomore GB will be better at the 5 than whatever-weight freshman Kofi we get. GB will be better away from the basket on the other 5, certainly in transition, and maybe even at rim protection (GB was coming on in his blocks at YE, especially help/backside blocks). And, if we have an actual power forward on the floor, I think our defense at 5, whomever is there, will be better - think we would have seen more rim protection from GB if he had less responsibility for supporting an undersized 4.

Remembering "the cone drill" video, I think GB can do a bit of slashing from the outside, if given opportunity, but if he's going to play 4 on offense, then we still need to see his 3pt shot kick in. I'm thinking/hoping he'll be OK as an occasional 3pt shooter next year, if he really works at it, but GB is just so good around the rim on offense (with that Nerf ball he uses), I have a hard time imagining anyone on our team producing in the post the way a sophomore GB should. If GB moves out of the post to the 4 to make room for Kofi, I see us "gaining ground" at the 4 (with GB instead of AG/Kipper), but losing ground on the net difference between GB and Kofi at 5.

Weakness at the 4 was so significant for us this year. I really have my fingers crossed (not predicting/just really hoping) that we get an upperclassman 4 to transfer in and start next year. If that happens, we should get defensive and offensive production at the 4 equal to (maybe better than) what GB might do out there, leaving GB to start at the 5 and give us more than Kofi (or January or Kane).

At this point I'm seeing a grad transfer having a bigger immediate impact at 4 than freshman Kofi at 5. Maybe that shifts, if Kofi really comes on as the year progresses. I know in some ways who starts "doesn't matter," but if we look to put the strongest five on the floor at the same time, then Kofi might not be one of them. If pressure (5* expectations) or confidence boosting dictates that Kofi starts next year, then we might see GB starting at the 4 spot, then sliding down to replace Kofi at 5 (at, say, the five-minute mark) as a transfer comes in off the bench to play 4.

However, it works, I'm seeing us at our general best next year with 2 of GB/Kofi/transfer on the floor at the same time; our specific best, when GB is one of the two and perhaps a transfer 4 is the other.
Great post. It seems at least 50% of the posters here subscribe to either the philosophy that no one ever improves their game, and what they did this year will be repeatedly what they achieve.......OR that whatever negative things happened in the past to the program are to be consistently repeated. OR BOTH. Nice to see some rational and positive breaths of fresh air in here.
 
Former Krush Cow
South Bend, IN
I absolutely think we can get 20 wins. Why not? It's no fun just sitting in gloom and doom every season. I also think the White Sox can make the playoffs though so take that with a grain of sand.
 
If Underwood can sway TJ Holyfield to transfer to Illinois I think we will be a top 25 team next year. Trent, Ayo, Tevian, Holyfield, and Giorgi is the lineup i envision with a deep bench of KC Dre DMW, AG, KN, AJ, SK playing a lot of valuable minutes and important roles. Hope BU can entice Holyfield a second time. His game and size and athleticism are perfect for BU’s system and exactly what we need.
 
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I absolutely think we can get 20 wins. Why not? It's no fun just sitting in gloom and doom every season. I also think the White Sox can make the playoffs though so take that with a grain of sand.
I'm taking the over on 18.5 wins as well, provided we get a power forward transfer and Feliz stays (and GB, TF, Ayo, AG stay) and Kofi arrives. If Tev, January and Kane are here, too, then I'm feeling really good about next year.
 
21 Wins with a soft schedule...8-3 Non Conference, 14-6 Conference with wins (schedule not released) Minny (2), Rutgers (1), Indiana (1), Michigan (1), MSU (1), Ohio State (2), NW (2), Nebraska (2) Wisconsin (1) Penn St (1).

Tied for 2nd in conference and win 3 in confence tournament, return to NCAA with a 6 Seed in the South Region, with first game against 11 Seed Creighton. ;)
 
21 Wins with a soft schedule...8-3 Non Conference, 14-6 Conference with wins (schedule not released) Minny (2), Rutgers (1), Indiana (1), Michigan (1), MSU (1), Ohio State (2), NW (2), Nebraska (2) Wisconsin (1) Penn St (1).

Tied for 2nd in conference and win 3 in confence tournament, return to NCAA with a 6 Seed in the South Region, with first game against 11 Seed Creighton. ;)
Please be more specific lol. i'll take it!
 
Sycamore, Illinois
21 Wins with a soft schedule...8-3 Non Conference, 14-6 Conference with wins (schedule not released) Minny (2), Rutgers (1), Indiana (1), Michigan (1), MSU (1), Ohio State (2), NW (2), Nebraska (2) Wisconsin (1) Penn St (1).

Tied for 2nd in conference and win 3 in confence tournament, return to NCAA with a 6 Seed in the South Region, with first game against 11 Seed Creighton. ;)
This sounds good but, I don’t know.... when is the last time we won 14 conference games (or 70% in the 18 game schedule)? 05-06 maybe?
 
This sounds good but, I don’t know.... when is the last time we won 14 conference games (or 70% in the 18 game schedule)? 05-06 maybe?
Back then there were only 18 conference games, but your point is still valid.
Watering 14 now down to 13 then, we still haven't won 13 games in the B1G since 2005.
This is a stretch goal
 
If Underwood can sway TJ Holyfield to transfer to Illinois I think we will be a top 25 team next year. Trent, Ayo, Tevian, Holyfield, and Giorgi is the lineup i envision with a deep bench of KC Dre DMW, AG, KN, AJ, SK playing a lot of valuable minutes and important roles. Hope BU can entice Holyfield a second time. His game and size and athleticism are perfect for BU’s system and exactly what we need.
I agree we have talent to be a top 40 team, good enough to dance. Can BU manage personalities and get everyone on the same page?

Long over due and I'm ready. I hope Ayo stays around and the chemistry between Ayo and Trent goes up a couple more notches. Then the Illini could be trouble for the B10 (best conference).
 
Likes: logjam
I was just wondering, anyone know what GB's wingspan is, he's listed as 6'9", seems like he was swatting more balls towards the end of the season. I hope Fletcher yokes him up, also vertical jump, but not enough to mess up his fluidity and 3 pt shooting. One last thing, he got jobbed on Big10 fr team vote.
 
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I was just wondering, anyone know what GB's wingspan is, he's listed as 6'9", seems like he was swatting more balls towards the end of the season. I hope Fletcher yokes him up, also vertical jump, but not enough to mess up his fluidity and 3 pt shooting. One last thing, he got jobbed on Big10 fr team vote.
Don't know what his wingspan is, but his hands are very big and ability to squeeze that rock like a Nerf ball is equal to a couple of inches of wingspan on the offensive side. Because his coordination is good and his speed for a big is decent, he has to have at least an average vertical for a big. Look at how much trouble Virginia's 6'9" guy gave 7'3" Haas on D ...

Coordination, decent speed, anticipation, a bit of attitude and 6'9" = blocked shots, so long as you don't have a bunch of short teammates you have to stay home and babysit ...
 
People seem to have short term memories of seeing purdue, psu, and iowa’s bigs just score with ease in the interior, and give GB fits trying to score.
All season the repeated lines were “we need bigs” and “kofi can’t come soon enough”.
GB is a good player, but at 6’9” he’s undersized in most situations. I look to see him guarding at the 4 and probably playing the pinch post/4 on offense. I think he may thrive more there, even though he’s not an outside threat.
 
People seem to have short term memories of seeing purdue, psu, and iowa’s bigs just score with ease in the interior, and give GB fits trying to score.
All season the repeated lines were “we need bigs” and “kofi can’t come soon enough”.
GB is a good player, but at 6’9” he’s undersized in most situations. I look to see him guarding at the 4 and probably playing the pinch post/4 on offense. I think he may thrive more there, even though he's not an outside threat.
Not sure we know that yet. It wasn't his role last year but not counting him out.
 
People seem to have short term memories of seeing purdue, psu, and iowa’s bigs just score with ease in the interior, and give GB fits trying to score.
All season the repeated lines were “we need bigs” and “kofi can’t come soon enough”.
GB is a good player, but at 6’9” he’s undersized in most situations. I look to see him guarding at the 4 and probably playing the pinch post/4 on offense. I think he may thrive more there, even though he’s not an outside threat.
You hit the nail on the head. The Big 10 is a power league. Generally speaking you need a stable of mature bigs to be successful. Illinois is not there yet. It has as much to do with rebounding and defense as anything else. Look at Michigan State. They are in the final 4 playing without Langford, who is one of their better players. However, they have enough size with an excellent guard to be in the final four. Goins, who hit the big 3 at the end of the game, is a former walk-on.
 
You hit the nail on the head. The Big 10 is a power league. Generally speaking you need a stable of mature bigs to be successful. Illinois is not there yet. It has as much to do with rebounding and defense as anything else. Look at Michigan State. They are in the final 4 playing without Langford, who is one of their better players. However, they have enough size with an excellent guard to be in the final four. Goins, who hit the big 3 at the end of the game, is a former walk-on.
Big in waves ala MSU is huge. GB, Kofi, Samba and January give us length we have not had.

Tevian is a long wing. Ayo is long too.
 
People seem to have short term memories of seeing purdue, psu, and iowa’s bigs just score with ease in the interior, and give GB fits trying to score.
All season the repeated lines were “we need bigs” and “kofi can’t come soon enough”.
GB is a good player, but at 6’9” he’s undersized in most situations. I look to see him guarding at the 4 and probably playing the pinch post/4 on offense. I think he may thrive more there, even though he’s not an outside threat.
Would have taken our chances with two Giorgis. Not so much a problem with his size as it was with the next larger player being 6'5" IMO. Totally agree with need for more size and looks like we will have it in different styles. i.e. Samba vs Kofi. Am looking forward to see how BU uses them.
 
If we want to make it to the 20 win plateau, we need a serious upgrade at the 3/4 position. That can at least partially come from internal improvements, Tev needs a big leap, Kipper back to Soph or better levels, seeing more Giorgi at the 4, and maybe guys like Griffin and DMW putting solid minutes in. As for transfers in, not sure we can get someone to really boost us up alone, Holyfield would be a nice addition, but he isn't adding 3/4 more wins to this team.

Now, someone like Patterson would definitely fit the bill of a (potential) plug and play star. Good teams have a few play makers, great teams have them all across the court.
 
If we want to make it to the 20 win plateau, we need a serious upgrade at the 3/4 position. That can at least partially come from internal improvements, Tev needs a big leap, Kipper back to Soph or better levels, seeing more Giorgi at the 4, and maybe guys like Griffin and DMW putting solid minutes in. As for transfers in, not sure we can get someone to really boost us up alone, Holyfield would be a nice addition, but he isn't adding 3/4 more wins to this team.

Now, someone like Patterson would definitely fit the bill of a (potential) plug and play star. Good teams have a few play makers, great teams have them all across the court.
Holyfield doesn't have to give us 3-4 more wins. We get some from maturing players, some from a weakening schedule, some from Holyfield and Kofi and VOILA...NCAA Tourney bound.
 
We're a work in progress. I don't think we can possibly play as badly as we did at the start of this season with all the new guys, or have as tough a schedule. Keep the roster, and we should be back in the dance. I'll take the over on 18.5. More than half the BIG went dancing this year, and I think we should be in that group.

Side note: kinda sad for Ayo. For sure he can get to the NBA next season, but knowing how hard he's working on his goal of 1-n-done, a little bummed for him that he's a borderline guy as of most scouting reports. I could see him blowing up next year --being a leader on a rising team. His open court play was amazing this year.
Ayo's stated goal is to get Illinois back to where it was. That goal can be accomplished next year with sophomore Ayo on board.
 
Holyfield doesn't have to give us 3-4 more wins. We get some from maturing players, some from a weakening schedule, some from Holyfield and Kofi and VOILA...NCAA Tourney bound.
Assuming growth out of key players... Not saying it can't happen or that it isn't likely from at least a couple, but there's still a huge dip in quality of player when you look at the 3/4 positions.

And yes, we should net a couple wins wrt a weakening schedule, but it's a double edge sword. It hurts us in advanced rankings because of SOS. As far as I'm concerned, schedule is almost always a wash, a team, similar to water, finds its own level. Give me a stronger roster rather than a weaker schedule (which by all accounts we should have).

Slightly unrelated, but if BU keeps the 2018 class fully intact, I'll be extremely impressed (that's not sarcasm btw).
 
If we want to make it to the 20 win plateau, we need a serious upgrade at the 3/4 position. That can at least partially come from internal improvements, Tev needs a big leap, Kipper back to Soph or better levels, seeing more Giorgi at the 4, and maybe guys like Griffin and DMW putting solid minutes in. As for transfers in, not sure we can get someone to really boost us up alone, Holyfield would be a nice addition, but he isn't adding 3/4 more wins to this team.
That all depends on who TJ Holyfield really is. If he can do what he did two years ago at SFA -- hit north of 40% from three and finish around the rim while being able to both guard the perimeter and provide competent rim protection when he has to rotate to the basket -- he's definitely a missing link for this team. A guy like that can draw the other team's 4 away from the basket when Giorgi is working the low post or provide a post option if Giorgi is high and completely transform the look of the offense.

Kipper couldn't hit the broad side of a barn playing that role, while Jordan couldn't convert around the rim. Both of those things shrank the court, and you need space for an offense to thrive.
 
Likes: CoalCity
BTW, Calvin just took the over on the 18.5 wins for Illinois next year. So yeah, roll your eyes when I say we should win 20, lol.
While I'm far from the most optimistic person on this forum, to be fair, I've over-estimated us the past two years. And I occassionally drink kool-aid.
 
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