Illini Basketball 2019-2020

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Samba has to stay and improve over the summer. Can't count on January or Holyfield. Da'Monte is just not tall enough, or good enough.
Jones has shown great promise on offense and with a good defense will do well.

BUs defense strategy/scheme has to change, or similar season loses like this year. The center has to stay home, not out to the 3pt line. This is especially true for Samba; play zone, or box and one to cover a 3pt shooter. When mismatches occur with our guards, Samba will be there. Cofi, the same senario as he will be called for fouling, a lot.

I don't see much, if any improvement without at least two bigs, at 4 and 5, playing at any given moment, with a third in the rotation, in a different defense scheme. Tevian has to start; the offense needs variable strategies to play against different teams with their different strengths. Samba has shown promise IF BU uses him properly.

Lastly, Groce called on all players to shoot 15,000 shots during the summer. Try different types, tear drops, 3pters, etc. Can't win if can't make the shots. I hope the coach does not simply play transfers, a disaster will result.
Da’Monte is definitely good enough to be on this team, but he probably should be a rotation player rather than a starter.

In terms of defense, the D that we played during on short lived win streak was great. Guys played with energy and forced a ton of turnovers which lead to extra possessions for us. I don’t think this should change much, but having someone like Kofi near the rim to swat shots will certainly help. I hope Samba stays and gets stronger, but let’s remember that he reclassified to come here so in reality, he should be a senior in high school. The potential is there, but he needs more practice experience, too. Jones can start if he’s ready to do so and stops with the off the court nonsense. He needs to get stronger and grow into his body a little more. If you watch him on defense, you can see how awkward he is at times.

I don’t know that evoking the name of a coach who is playing .500 ball at a md major is the way to go, but BU certainly preaches everyone adding to their individual games. Go back to last summer where he told Trent that he needed a right hand, the ability to hit runners, etc. Trent improved his shooting numbers across the board compared to last year.
 
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I still believe the defense has to be more varied. Shaka Smart ran his havoc defense until he got to Texas. Even Huggy doesn't press all the time. In three out of our last four games we did not create more than nine turnovers. Is that because of effort? I don't think so. Opposing coaches figure a way to beat it. The philosophy to keep teams off balance only works if you keep changing it. We were probably limited because of our young team this year but just Kofi is not going to make it successfull IMO. Coach also has some off season work.
 
2019 Comparisions for us to be marginally better and return to the NCAA tournament! Player by Player!

Ayo - Needs to be our Cassius Winston (Leader on all fronts-all nights)
Frazier - Needs to be our Shamorie Ponds (Bucket Getter)
Griffin - Needs to be our Kyle Guy (Be that guy in this system)
Jones - Needs to be our Charles Matthews (All around +++ to the table within team setup)
Giorgi - Needs to just be our Giorgi (No other player I think compares to what he brings to the table for us)
Williams - Needs to be our Josh Perkins ( Lead us in the unsung catergories and be a ++ on the floor)
Nichols - Needs to be our ????, not sure who he could be compared too?
Feliz - Needs to be our Clayton Custer ( Straw that stirs this drink next year)
Kofi - Needs to be our Shaq! (Big man that others fear getting in front of)
January - Needs to be our Keldon Johnson ( Does a little of everything at that size)

Obviously this is just for fun, and in no way am I saying any or all of our guys have the talent to be the compared player, they have similiar skill sets imo and that is the best we could hope for to be some sort of that version. If so we will make a huge leap and be back once and for all! Have fun, if you don't agree, fine, make your own, this is what I am hoping for however...because this time of year sucks when we are not playing!
 
Da’Monte is definitely good enough to be on this team, but he probably should be a rotation player rather than a starter.

In terms of defense, the D that we played during on short lived win streak was great. Guys played with energy and forced a ton of turnovers which lead to extra possessions for us. I don’t think this should change much, but having someone like Kofi near the rim to swat shots will certainly help. I hope Samba stays and gets stronger, but let’s remember that he reclassified to come here so in reality, he should be a senior in high school. The potential is there, but he needs more practice experience, too. Jones can start if he’s ready to do so and stops with the off the court nonsense. He needs to get stronger and grow into his body a little more. If you watch him on defense, you can see how awkward he is at times.

I don’t know that evoking the name of a coach who is playing .500 ball at a md major is the way to go, but BU certainly preaches everyone adding to their individual games. Go back to last summer where he told Trent that he needed a right hand, the ability to hit runners, etc. Trent improved his shooting numbers across the board compared to last year.
I meant to say Williams should not start, just a short back up role until his shot improves. As far as defense, we beat Mich St, Maryland etc only because they could not handle our pressure. However, a team who can handle our defense, as seen in our last few games, took us to the wood shed. Playing out to half court with the bucket not defended is for the birds. There should always be a big protecting the bucket.

Kofi staying near the rim is what I would also like to see, but the scheme has him out in left field half/most of the time. Mismatches kill us. Agreed, Samba must stay as his main attribute is to block shots, which he did in his short stint against Purdue. This summer he should improve, not only defensively, but also offensively.

The coach must work out custom schemes for each team, both offense and defense. Iowa killed us while Mich won by only 10 pts due to differences in each team.
 
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2019 Comparisions for us to be marginally better and return to the NCAA tournament! Player by Player!

Ayo - Needs to be our Cassius Winston (Leader on all fronts-all nights)
Frazier - Needs to be our Shamorie Ponds (Bucket Getter)
Griffin - Needs to be our Kyle Guy (Be that guy in this system)
Jones - Needs to be our Charles Matthews (All around +++ to the table within team setup)
Giorgi - Needs to just be our Giorgi (No other player I think compares to what he brings to the table for us)
Williams - Needs to be our Josh Perkins ( Lead us in the unsung catergories and be a ++ on the floor)
Nichols - Needs to be our ????, not sure who he could be compared too?
Feliz - Needs to be our Clayton Custer ( Straw that stirs this drink next year)
Kofi - Needs to be our Shaq! (Big man that others fear getting in front of)
January - Needs to be our Keldon Johnson ( Does a little of everything at that size)

Obviously this is just for fun, and in no way am I saying any or all of our guys have the talent to be the compared player, they have similiar skill sets imo and that is the best we could hope for to be some sort of that version. If so we will make a huge leap and be back once and for all! Have fun, if you don't agree, fine, make your own, this is what I am hoping for however...because this time of year sucks when we are not playing!
Mixed thoughts - Giorgi could be our Happ (he already has a pretty good backdown game, and we need him to rebound and putback shots and kickout), or he needs to massively develop his outside shot so he can be a dual threat.
 
2019 Comparisions for us to be marginally better and return to the NCAA tournament! Player by Player!

Ayo - Needs to be our Cassius Winston (Leader on all fronts-all nights)
Frazier - Needs to be our Shamorie Ponds (Bucket Getter)
Griffin - Needs to be our Kyle Guy (Be that guy in this system)
Jones - Needs to be our Charles Matthews (All around +++ to the table within team setup)
Giorgi - Needs to just be our Giorgi (No other player I think compares to what he brings to the table for us)
Williams - Needs to be our Josh Perkins ( Lead us in the unsung catergories and be a ++ on the floor)
Nichols - Needs to be our ????, not sure who he could be compared too?
Feliz - Needs to be our Clayton Custer ( Straw that stirs this drink next year)
Kofi - Needs to be our Shaq! (Big man that others fear getting in front of)
January - Needs to be our Keldon Johnson ( Does a little of everything at that size)

Obviously this is just for fun, and in no way am I saying any or all of our guys have the talent to be the compared player, they have similiar skill sets imo and that is the best we could hope for to be some sort of that version. If so we will make a huge leap and be back once and for all! Have fun, if you don't agree, fine, make your own, this is what I am hoping for however...because this time of year sucks when we are not playing!
Trent- needs to be Dee
Griffin- needs to shoot like Head
Jones- needs to watch N Anderson film
Kofi- needs to take dance lessons and maybe some cone work
Giorgi-needs his brother back to work on his jump shot.
 
Players need to find their own path and be themselves.
 

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I haven't seen the pre-Big Ten schedule, but have heard it's supposedly easier than this year's. Therefore, 20 wins next year is reasonable.

The guard play (Ayo, Frazier, Feliz and Williams) should be solid. What needs to happen to attain 20 wins is the following:

A big sophomore jump from either Jones or Griffin.

Kofi puts up freshmen numbers similar to Daniel Oturu (top 50 recruit for Minnesota, who averaged 10/7/1.5).

Giorgi gets stronger, has an improved jumper, and becomes a smarter defensive player in his 2nd year.

They add a transfer who can defend the 4.
 
If one or more of the grad transfers being mentioned as possible for next year actually arrive, I think next year will be light years better than this year. Just the added height/size of Kofi, January, and a grad transfer will make a work of difference. It will mean not such incredible mismatches on the defensive side. I'm not as bullish on Samba as some people seem to be nor as bearish on Williams. I do hope Samba stays, but I'm not expecting him to contribute much next year (though hope I'm wrong). Would have been nice if they had been able to red shirt him. I think Da'Monte will benefit from an infusion of size onto the team. He may lose a few minutes in the rotation, but I think he'll be better positioned to succeed. And I think his senior year, we'll feel the same way about him as most did this year about AJ.

As to the defense and whether it can succeed in the BIG, I think it can. It seemed like BU showed a willingness to make adjustments at the end of the year. I thought some of the decrease in turnovers caused near the end of the year was because though they still pressured, it didn't seem to be at such a frenetic pace and I think some of that was by design. With a year under their belt, hopefully AF and TJ can effective enough on D to earn more minutes. Add in a grad transfer in place of Higgs if he is going to have to leave for medical reasons, and that's another body. And a combination of Kofi, January, and maybe Samba should be able to solidify a solid rotation at the 5/4. More bodies, more talent and more size will make a big difference defensively.
 
I still believe the defense has to be more varied. Shaka Smart ran his havoc defense until he got to Texas. Even Huggy doesn't press all the time. In three out of our last four games we did not create more than nine turnovers. Is that because of effort? I don't think so. Opposing coaches figure a way to beat it. The philosophy to keep teams off balance only works if you keep changing it. We were probably limited because of our young team this year but just Kofi is not going to make it successfull IMO. Coach also has some off season work.
I agree we need to add more to our defense and I think that is likely part of BU’s plan. I think he limited some of his strategies given the number of new players on the team. With a team of mostly underclass men this makes sense. I think you will see more added next year now that we have gained some experience.
 
Forgottonia
Kofi’s size should be a big help, but my question is where will he play in the defense? Our problem with the rotation last year was because Giorgi was out top double teaming and the other guys couldn’t cover the basket. Maybe Giorgi can understand the rotations better and play the 4 at a higher level, but I don’t see Kofi’s size as being the big factor there. He should be a big help on rebounds under the basket where we got demolished way too many times because of size. I just don’t see him being back as a rim protector unless Underwood is going to run a different defense next year. Which would not hurt my feelings.
 
I haven't seen the pre-Big Ten schedule, but have heard it's supposedly easier than this year's. Therefore, 20 wins next year is reasonable.

The guard play (Ayo, Frazier, Feliz and Williams) should be solid. What needs to happen to attain 20 wins is the following:

A big sophomore jump from either Jones or Griffin.

Kofi puts up freshmen numbers similar to Daniel Oturu (top 50 recruit for Minnesota, who averaged 10/7/1.5).

Giorgi gets stronger, has an improved jumper, and becomes a smarter defensive player in his 2nd year.

They add a transfer who can defend the 4.
Jones will be much better if he can figure out how not to foul as soon as he hits the floor.

If Kipper or Giorgi can hit the 3 at like 35%, it would be huge for our floor spacing.
 
If we add their shooting percents from 3 last year together, they barely get over .350. That's not happening for either one.
Kipper hit almost 38% last year. 44% the year before. If he can gets fixed mentally, which I don't even know if he can, he can hit 35% easy.

I think Giorgi can hit 30%, he has great touch and his FT% is a reasonable. FT% is what scouts usually use to project 3PT% ceiling. His FT% is similar to Demarcus Cousins, and he was able to improve his 3PT. Obviously Cousins is a lot more talented, but i think there is room to improve.
 
Our biggest issue was the lack of a consistent physical presence in the post other than GB. We had AJ, Kip, and DaW out of position and getting out muscled by most B10 teams. Adding Kofi and a transfer like Holyfield will change and address that glaring weakness. I think Tev and Grif are more of a 3 than a 4 unless they change thier bodies drastically it would be more of the same.
I expect the starters to be Ayo, TF, GB, Kofi, and hopefully Holyfield and Tev, Grif, and DW subbing in in that order. We must have more strength inside and Kofi and a transfer like Holyfield address those holes best imo. Holyfield is a strong rebounder and can shoot too. I think Tev and Griff can grow and mature into that role too it just may take time.
Did you forget about Feliz or do you actually think he shouldn't get any playing time next year?
 
For most BIG teams we need two of Giorgi,Kofi,Samba and Antwan playing at the same time. Maybe certain matchups allow us to play only one for periods of time but the exception rather than the rule. Didn't see enough of Samba to make any judgements but thought what I did see was better than Ebo who played 14 mins per game. Maybe some of the judgements are coming from people who know something about practices. From an athletic standpoint he and Antwan together would be impressive rim protectors. He obviously hasn't had much time at the game nor had the coaching Giorgi had. Work for OA in the off season, but you can't have too many 7'ers.
 

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Kipper hit almost 38% last year. 44% the year before. If he can gets fixed mentally, which I don't even know if he can, he can hit 35% easy.

I think Giorgi can hit 30%, he has great touch and his FT% is a reasonable. FT% is what scouts usually use to project 3PT% ceiling. His FT% is similar to Demarcus Cousins, and he was able to improve his 3PT. Obviously Cousins is a lot more talented, but i think there is room to improve.
I sincerely wish I believed there's still hope for Kipper.
 

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Trent- needs to be Dee
Griffin- needs to shoot like Head
Jones- needs to watch N Anderson film
Kofi- needs to take dance lessons and maybe some cone work
Giorgi-needs his brother back to work on his jump shot.
So what you're saying is that if Trent, Griffin and Jones compare favorably to three of the greatest players in Illinois history(all three on Final Four teams).....then we could be good.

Solid analysis! :)
 
Excuse me if this has already been posted but I skimmed and didnt see it...

I think we’ll be better team next year assuming we don’t lose our young core to transfers. For me the big question mark is will we improve more than Iowa, Minnesota, Maryland, Ohio State, Indiana, Rutgers, and Penn State?

All of those teams had better seasons than us. Indiana and OSU already have better classes coming in, etc.

I’ll be sorely disappointed if we don’t improve next year; I’m just not convinced that even with improvement our standing will raise.
 

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Count me as one who does not like the defense being employed. I prefer to force teams to take uncomfortable shots rather than relying on them screwing up and turning the ball over. I don't know if it can work in the B1G. Until this defense gets light years better, it's hard to say the team next year will be much better from this year.
 
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