Illini Basketball 2019-2020

#51
I really don't think anyone here realizes how much better we are going to be defensively. A full spring with Fletch. A full summer together. More size.

We saw flashes of it during our hot streak. Imagine a wing like Tev with real defensive chops. Imagine having real rim protectors with a stronger Kane and Kofi with a full summer. If you squint hard it's easy to see!

Experience is going to be a huge factor. If we bring 8 or 9 guys back, then a huge leap in all facets of the game is going to happen.
 
#52
Honestly I hope Kipper leaves, I am all the way out on him. Nothing personal but at this point he's just not part of where this program is heading. Yes he has the ability to randomly go off for 20, but the problem is that he only does that once or twice a season, and in the meantime he gets starts pretty much every game in the hopes that today is the day we catch lightning in the bottle and get good Kipper. I won't question his work ethic or dedication or character or any of that, but I highly doubt he will ever consistently contribute at a high level. So really all he's doing is taking away minutes from young guys who are the future of this program and who could use game experience. Imo we would've been much better off giving Tevian Kipper's minutes (when he was eligible, not gonna argue about the suspension) because at least he would've gotten meaningful game experience in a season that was pretty much already lost by the time B1G play started (and I'd be much less worried about the possibility of him transferring). I would've even rather given his minutes to DaMonte.
 
#54
The big problem with Kipper, Damonte, and in general is that no one really improved from last year to this year. Which player on the roster improved from the previous year?
 
#56
[...] This would be disheartening.
I would feel no shame in being wrong. I thought we would win 4 Big Ten games but we won 7--didn't feel bad about being wrong on that one at all. If they all stay: fantastic. If not: it stinks, but it's still Illinois so it's not like I'm going to leave with them.
 
#58
I don't think it can be understated how much of a defensive hole we were put in by having players play out of position on defense (AJ having to play the 4; Kipper sometimes as well). By allowing Giorgi or another "big" play the 4, we won't get completely dominated inside. Giorgi had flashes of stopping some of the best big men in the B1G in his freshman campaign and he's only going to get better. Throw in Kofi/January and an improved Samba who's had a year to learn and we've got some depth down low. Offensively, I expect Giorgi to work on his shot from the elbow to keep defenses honest and have to guard him out there which frees up other options if they can't sag in on him like they did this year. I believe it was said in one of Kofi's videos that he has some range already so same goes for him. I don't see us having the same attrition we had last off-season. I really think Ayo, Griffin, and Tev will all stay, watching some of those videos after those wins and the kids seem bought in and seem to really enjoy BU. I think Tev knows he screwed up (at least once) and I don't see Griffin's dad letting his son just transfer out because of a lack of playing time when he wasn't THAT big of a contributor on offense and was a liability on D. I'm not sure on Kipper, but unless he can grad transfer, I don't think he has much option but to stay. I don't think I'll have "Kathy-level" expectations for next year, but with an easier schedule slated for next year, I could see 17-20 wins.
Agreed AJ & Kipper were bad fits at the 4. We desperately need more horses in the front court. Kofi helps, as does January, but even if Kane stays on top of that, I think the biggest difference next year will be if these transfer rumors come to fruition...if we land TJ Holyfield and/or this other rumored player, color me excited. That would be a really nice addition of size, athleticism and talent.
 
#59
You could blame the system, or you could objectively look at the fact that we had some pretty major holes in our roster inside with players guarding out of position due to the lack of depth and realize that all is not lost. Kofi will help a lot.
Yep, when you play pressure d, you need a couple of rim protectors. Kofi will help, and it appears the potential transfer from SFA, Holyfield, could help too. Also, would be nice to get a sophomore jump from Jones & Griffin, who are both long armed defenders.
 
#60
Agreed AJ & Kipper were bad fits at the 4. We desperately need more horses in the front court. Kofi helps, as does January, but even if Kane stays on top of that, I think the biggest difference next year will be if these transfer rumors come to fruition...if we land TJ Holyfield and/or this other rumored player, color me excited. That would be a really nice addition of size, athleticism and talent.
The biggest improvement would come from someone who can defend and play 4. Having guards trying to match up on a 4 and then go play wing on offense is brutal. That is a lot of energy to maintain during a game and keep your legs as a shooter
 
#62
For those decimated by the team falling short of our outlandish expectations for this year, keep in mind every single preseason prediction by coaches or media had us finishing no higher than 12th in conference, with most predicting 13th and a couple 14th. Despite the Swami’s on this board calling the season an abject disappointment we exceeded the predictions of much more knowledgeable basketball people (Although Andy Katz predicting Nebraska would finish second in the conference this year! really?), despite the not-so-good non-con results.

I hope the team stays together, I enjoyed this season more than almost every other one the past 10 years, and I will check in sometime around August when football is winding up. I see positive yardage from the team this year, and hope for more next year, when I hope to see the beloved reach their rightful place in the tourney.

Thanks to the seniors, and the rest of the team and coaching staff that gave so much this year. See you next fall!
 
#63
The big problem with Kipper, Damonte, and in general is that no one really improved from last year to this year. Which player on the roster improved from the previous year?
AJ for sure.
Perhaps not as a whole, but during our stretch of wins Frazier was playing his best ball.

Talking this year -- I think it's fair to say everyone on the roster improved aside from Kipper, Damonte, Samba and ADLR.
 
#65
Seems like lots of people have no understanding how hard it is to stick in the NBA. Two thirds of our All American Backcourt in 2005 couldn’t stick around for more than a couple years, and they were the best players on the best team in the country. It’s a terrible decision to go to the league unless you are guaranteed first round money, which means you should never have to work as long as you aren’t an idiot with your money.

If I was any opposing coach, I’d tell them to force Ayo left in transition, as he goes right 95% of the time, and I only say that because there alias to be a time when he went left, I just can’t remember when that was.
 
#66
I mean, we can talk about getting better but honestly, does this defensive system have a chance to be consistently successful at a P5 program? I can’t see it. I think if this thing is going to turn around, wholesale system changes need to be made.
You could blame the system, or you could objectively look at the fact that we had some pretty major holes in our roster inside with players guarding out of position due to the lack of depth and realize that all is not lost. Kofi will help a lot.
Agree, SA - I would add Underwood showed some flexibility by opening in a zone and playing a lot of zone in B1G tourney, you can adjust defenses, but in the end you need the players to make it work. We need to fill the holes, long term Kofi will help a lot, next year depends on keeping him on the floor. But we need to really find a 4 & 5 in the rotation next year and help Giorgi in the rotation. Last night I thought Cook showed what we were missing, trying to cover him with a shooting guard (Williams or Jordon) was just too big of a mismatch. If Kipper would have shown up this year it really would have helped, if Kane would have been more ready it would of helped, but we really needed 2 more guys with some size.
 
#68
This years roster was just too loaded with players who are not a threat to finish at the rim. Feliz did a good job I thought. Even Ayo, who is very good, doesn’t have that explosive burst. The action they run off the pinch post is super effective when the player has the ability to turn the corner and attack the rim.
Concur, we had another scoring drought yesterday late in the first half. On the court the only two players who were willing to take shots and make them were Ayo and Trent. If your Iowa or anybody else that is awesome to see that the opposing team really has two guys that can make their shots 35% of the time while the others have no chance. Also watching the PSU-Minny game I saw two programs closer to the bottom than the top of the BTN displaying much more athleticism than any of our players. They also have multiple guys that have that ability and out size us by a ton.

I would like to keep all our freshmen and sophomores going into next year. Add two athletic big wings (Hollyfiled, Souza) along with true bigs Kofi/January. That will go a long way in closing our size disadvantage. We need our guards and forwards playing their natural position. I'm convinced Giorgi can play a PF along with a true center (Kofi, Samba). Giorgi inside/outside game will improve next year, better mid range jumper.
 
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#69
Concur, we had another scoring drought yesterday late in the first half. On the court the only two players who were willing to take shots and make them were Ayo and Trent. If your Iowa or anybody else that is awesome to see that the opposing team really has two guys that can make their shots 35% of the time while the others have no chance. Also watching the PSU-Minny game I saw two programs closer to the bottom than the top of the BTN displaying much more athleticism than any of our players. They also have multiple guys that have that ability and out size us by a ton.

I would like to keep all our freshmen and sophomores going into next year. Add two athletic big wings (Hollyfiled, Souza) along with true bigs Kofi/January. That will go a long way in closing our size disadvantage. We need our guards and forwards playing their natural position. I'm convinced Giorgi can play a PF along with a true center (Kofi, Samba). Giorgi inside/outside game will improve next year, better mid range jumper.
Giorgi is a great distributor for his size. That will bode well when you add Kofi at the 5. Also causing defenses to collapse more in the lane giving the perimeter players more open looks on the kick outs.
 
#70
ok this needs to happen.
IMHO if Kane and/or Kipper leave, whatever. Jones is better and more valuable than Kipper, and being quite honest, haven’t seen anything from Kane that tells me that he’ll play over Cockburn or January (January can’t be much worse)...again just going off this seasons results..
Agreed, I think it's weird that people think Kane will be any good, he literally looked like he had no idea what he was doing when he played. (Although same could be said for De La Rosa, thank god he is gone...)
 
#73
Size Size Size...that is the off-season plan. Get Kofi/January/??? on board early and with Fletch...hell have Giorgi conduct some dance classes to work on footwork around the rim with Kofi also, his footwork is simply amazing around the rim area.

Griffin and Jones remain, neither will be starting over DMW imo though, DaMonte may not bring the stats, but he hustles, knows the game and so many intangibles...BU trust him and one more year won't change that. Jones will have to pick up the 3/4 minutes that Kipper won't be playing...really think he will be the first casualty.

Samba will stay imo, for the team to work on his growth, even without major minutes, he is still new to the game, and getting a world class education....not sure he goes anywhere...backup to Giorgi, Kofi, January then him.

BU adjusts to playing Giorgi at the post pinch 4 position only with Kofi low....Giorgi is a heck of a passer and controls the ball plus he will develop a better 15' shot and drive with his footwork from there.

Ayo comes back, Frazier and him workout together...we have an All B1G backcourt to challenge anyone. Feliz will be the x-factor for us, he has so much game the other 2 just doesn't have.

Need a wing as a recruit to add with athleticism, and also need to freshman non players this year to workout and take a big next step: Jones:Griffin:
 
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#74
Agreed, I think it's weird that people think Kane will be any good, he literally looked like he had no idea what he was doing when he played. (Although same could be said for De La Rosa, thank god he is gone...)
We would not have achieved what we did without Adonis. Trying to come back from an ACL injury so quickly AND play in the B1G? Our most heroic player (maybe second to AJ for playing so far out of position) even if the results weren’t what everyone wanted, most likely including himself. He gave us MUCH needed minutes throughout the year so that we didn’t have to play essentially 5 guards all under 6’5”. He gave everything he had to the Illini to the season, and for that, I say “Thanks Adonis, your effort and sacrifice was noteworthy. Good luck with your life, you’ll always be welcome back to Champign”.
 
#75
Mad Scientist
Arizona, USA
The big problem with Kipper, Damonte, and in general is that no one really improved from last year to this year. Which player on the roster improved from the previous year?
Were we watching the same season?

Agreed, I think it's weird that people think Kane will be any good, he literally looked like he had no idea what he was doing when he played. (Although same could be said for De La Rosa, thank god he is gone...)
Oh that's right. I forgot that young players (especially bigs) never improve.

Aaron Jordan to return next years as a grad assistant!

I am very, very happy to hear that. Great kid to have around. Hopefully that means we get to continue to enjoy the presence of @rcjord1 on the message board.
 
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