Illini Basketball 2019-2020

#1
Schedule
The non-conference schedule is typically release in early August, the full 31-game schedule typically released in late August. What we know so far:

@Grand Canyon (Friday, November 8th)
@Arizona (Sunday, November 10th)
Home vs Hawaii (Monday, November 18th)
Home vs The Citadel (Wednesday, November 20th)
Home vs Hampton (Saturday, November 23rd)
Home vs Miami FL (Monday, December 2nd in B1G/ACC Challenge)
Home vs Old Dominion (Saturday, December 14th)
vs Missouri in St. Louis (Saturday, December 21st)

B1G home & away opponents:
Iowa
Maryland
Michigan
Michigan State
Northwestern
Purdue
Rutgers

B1G home-only opponents:
Indiana
Minnesota
Nebraska

B1G away-only opponents:
Ohio State
Penn State
Wisconsin


Roster
Ayo Dosunmu_______________So.___G
Trent Frazier_____________Jr.___G
Andres Feliz______________Sr.___G
Tevian Jones______________So.___G
Alan Griffin______________So.___G
Da'Monte Williams_________Jr.___G
Kipper Nichols____________Sr.___F
Benjamin Bosmans-Verdonk__Fr.___F
Giorgi Bezhanishvili______So.___PF
Samba Kane________________So.___C
Kofi Cockburn_____________Fr.___C
Bernard Kouma_____________Fr.___PF
 
Last edited:
Likes: Rad
#2
I am excited about this upcoming season. We have 3 returning guys that I feel should certainly contend to be on an all B10 team. Kofi seems perfect to improve our team D, rebounding, and assist by drawing the opposition's big guy off GB.
Plus, when I watched a game of BK vs what I believe was Whitney's team he used both hands, hit from mid range, and was a force on the boards. It was not just some highlight real for a season. Benji seems like a big strong skilled mature freshman too.i think these 3 new guys along with a years of experience for last years new comers will have a major impact on filling our major issues from last year.
Let's win all our home games in 19-20 and going forward. We may not be able to but that should be one goal or close to it.
 
#5
The original, university, roster actually shows Samba Kane on it?
I would assume this is because he's technically still enrolled at UIUC. All he's done so far is ask for permission (perhaps intent is a better word) to transfer via the NCAA.

Also, anyone heard of possible landing spots? I know it's been talked about that his circle really doesn't see his future here, but is there really 0 chance he returns?
 
#7
I was wondering who people think will take a big step forward this year. We have some players that are very proven in what they have accomplished already like Ayo, Trent, Feliz and Giorgi but we also have some players that have not achieved (yet) the level of play we had hoped like DMW and Kipper. Tevian and Griffin have had limited playing time but have shown flashes of what they can do Then, we have the new additions Kofi, Kouma, and Bosmans-Verdonk.

Here's my take:

I expect Ayo to continue his play at a high level and at his current trajectory.

I think Trent will improve this year because he was pretty beat up last year. I do think people forget how well he played and the many big shots he made but a deeper bench should help with keeping his minutes reasonable. His PPG was only fractionally less than Ayo's.

Feliz will likely have a similar year. I am curious to see if he attempts more threes like he did in JC.

Giorgi will get a chance to play at his natural position which will be interesting as will having two capable bigs playing at the same time. Having his thumb injury should help as well. I still expect Giorgi to get plenty of minutes at the five and I am really excited to see how much we can improve on defense with the addition of Kofi.

Kofi - I expect that there will be plenty of freshmen mistakes but I think he will provide a huge boost at both ends of the floor. Fouls often happen as a result of a different player being out of position and a player sliding over to help picking up the foul. Adding Kofi to a team with some experience should help to minimize this (especially help from Giorgi).

DMW - I am optomistic for positive strides in his game. The article where DMW mentions recovering fully (especially mentally) from his ACL injury and finally feeling like he is 100%.

Kipper - I'm neither confident nor doubtful that he can be "Good Kipper" this year. The guys has lots of ability but struggles with the mental aspect of the game - if he can get/keep his head straight he can be a huge contributor and a key part of getting us to the dance.

Tevian - It was really unfortunate that Tevian had the 8-game suspension as I really like his game. Kid has a sweet looking stroke and I can see him having many more performances like the one against Maryland at MSG. If his defense is sufficient during training Iwould expect his to start.

Griffin - I don't think he gets the amount of attention he deserves. The kid can shoot and he has a knack for getting to the right spot for steals and rebounds. I hope we have some games where we blow teams out to give guys like Griffin some meaningful minutes (not just garbage time). I think that is all that is necessary for his development.

Verdonk - Not sure how serious the injury is but I expect him to get some minutes but he will have to catch up on conditioning andactually experience running BU's plays He has good size and decent handles.

Kouma - Hopefully he gets cleared soon. He definitely will be behind and Fletch has work to do. I see him as a project that could work out in a year or two.

My 2 cents
 
Last edited:
#9
I was wondering who people think will take a big step forward this year. We have some players that are very proven in what they have accomplished already like Ayo, Trent, Feliz and Giorgi but we also have some players that have not achieved (yet) the level of play we had hoped like DMW and Kipper. Tevian and Griffin have had limited playing time but have shown flashes of what they can do Then, we have the new additions Kofi, Kouma, and Bosmans-Verdonk.

Here's my take:

I expect Ayo to continue his play at a high level and at his current trajectory.

I think Trent will improve this year because he was pretty beat up last year. I do think people forget how well he played and the many big shots he made but a deeper bench should help with keeping his minutes reasonable. His PPG was only fractionally less than Ayo's.

Feliz will likely have a similar year. I am curious to see if he attempts more threes like he did in JC.

Giorgi will get a chance to play at his natural position which will be interesting as will having two capable bigs playing at the same time. Having his thumb injury should help as well. I still expect Giorgi to get plenty of minutes at the five and I am really excited to see how much we can improve on defense with the addition of Kofi.

Kofi - I expect that there will be plenty of freshmen mistakes but I think he will provide a huge boost at both ends of the floor. Fouls often happen as a result of a different player being out of position and a player sliding over to help picking up the foul. Adding Kofi to a team with some experience should help to minimize this (especially help from Giorgi).

DMW - I am optomistic for positive strides in his game. The article where DMW mentions recovering fully (especially mentally) from his ACL injury and finally feeling like he is 100%.

Kipper - I'm neither confident nor doubtful that he can be "Good Kipper" this year. The guys has lots of ability but struggles with the mental aspect of the game - if he can get/keep his head straight he can be a huge contributor and a key part of getting us to the dance.

Tevian - It was really unfortunate that Tevian had the 8-game suspension as I really like his game. Kid has a sweet looking stroke and I can see him having many more performances like the one against Maryland at MSG. If his defense is sufficient during training Iwould expect his to start.

Griffin - I don't think he gets the amount of attention he deserves. The kid can shoot and he has a knack for getting to the right spot for steals and rebounds. I hope we have some games where we blow teams out to give guys like Griffin some meaningful minutes (not just garbage time). I think that is all that is necessary for his development.

Verdonk - Not sure how serious the injury is but I expect him to get some minutes but he will have to catch up on conditioning andactually experience running BU's plays He has good size and decent handles.

Kouma - Hopefully he gets cleared soon. He definitely will be behind and Fletch has work to do. I see him as a project that could work out in a year or two.

My 2 cents
A few things I'd add:

1. You talk about Trent having less PPG but it was just a 3 pt difference. Trent had 439PTS in 980MIN (0.448pts/min) and Ayo had 442PTS in 994MIN (0.445pts/min) so Trent was actually more efficient but it was so close it doesn't even matter.

2. I could see Feliz and/or DMW losing minutes this year to Griffin. I expect these 3 to provide an outside threat to keep the defense honest. Last season DMW, Griffin, and Feliz had 31.7, 30.4, and 27.0 3P% with only 41, 46, and 37 shots taken from deep. Their combined shots need to go from 124 to 200+ and they need to shoot closer to 35+%. If any of them are able to increase their shots to 75+ while making 35+% from deep I could see them poaching minutes from whoever isn't keeping up. It'd be great if they could all shoot like Trent at 40+% on nearly 200 attempts, but even 35% and 75 attempts would go a long way this season.

3. I'm interested to see Kofi on defense. Does he have the stamina to make it back down the court every time? Are his feet fast enough to defend the paint?

4. If Giorgi's "thousands" of shots in Ubben this off season pay off and he can shoot 50 3's at 35% while also playing well with Kofi on the floor he's about to see his name in all the NBA mock drafts. Hopefully he's loving life at Illinois enough that he can do that AND still decides to play 4 years for us!
 
#12
Giorgi will get a chance to play at his natural position which will be interesting as will having two capable bigs playing at the same time. Having his thumb injury should help as well. I still expect Giorgi to get plenty of minutes at the five and I am really excited to see how much we can improve on defense with the addition of Kofi.

DMW - I am optomistic for positive strides in his game. The article where DMW mentions recovering fully (especially mentally) from his ACL injury and finally feeling like he is 100%.

My 2 cents
Giorgi's natural position is at the 4? I don't really have an opinion just curious--I didn't think this was the sentiment. Personally I think he's got good enough handles and moves to be able to perform well there, but I hate to take away post looks from him.

I've read a lot of times it can take guys who have ACL tears the better part of two years to really get back to where they once were. Hoping DMW can really come on strong this year--he's a great small 3 if he can start to contribute more offensively.
 
#15
Giorgi's natural position is at the 4? I don't really have an opinion just curious--I didn't think this was the sentiment. Personally I think he's got good enough handles and moves to be able to perform well there, but I hate to take away post looks from him.

I've read a lot of times it can take guys who have ACL tears the better part of two years to really get back to where they once were. Hoping DMW can really come on strong this year--he's a great small 3 if he can start to contribute more offensively.
I saw Giorgi quoted (News Gazette maybe) as saying that before last year he always played the 4.
 
#16
A few things I'd add:

1. You talk about Trent having less PPG but it was just a 3 pt difference. Trent had 439PTS in 980MIN (0.448pts/min) and Ayo had 442PTS in 994MIN (0.445pts/min) so Trent was actually more efficient but it was so close it doesn't even matter.

2. I could see Feliz and/or DMW losing minutes this year to Griffin. I expect these 3 to provide an outside threat to keep the defense honest. Last season DMW, Griffin, and Feliz had 31.7, 30.4, and 27.0 3P% with only 41, 46, and 37 shots taken from deep. Their combined shots need to go from 124 to 200+ and they need to shoot closer to 35+%. If any of them are able to increase their shots to 75+ while making 35+% from deep I could see them poaching minutes from whoever isn't keeping up. It'd be great if they could all shoot like Trent at 40+% on nearly 200 attempts, but even 35% and 75 attempts would go a long way this season.

3. I'm interested to see Kofi on defense. Does he have the stamina to make it back down the court every time? Are his feet fast enough to defend the paint?

4. If Giorgi's "thousands" of shots in Ubben this off season pay off and he can shoot 50 3's at 35% while also playing well with Kofi on the floor he's about to see his name in all the NBA mock drafts. Hopefully he's loving life at Illinois enough that he can do that AND still decides to play 4 years for us!
Thanks for the info 90. Good post.
 
#18
Giorgi's natural position is at the 4? I don't really have an opinion just curious--I didn't think this was the sentiment. Personally I think he's got good enough handles and moves to be able to perform well there, but I hate to take away post looks from him.

I've read a lot of times it can take guys who have ACL tears the better part of two years to really get back to where they once were. Hoping DMW can really come on strong this year--he's a great small 3 if he can start to contribute more offensively.
Giorgi said he has played the 4 (alongside another big) his whole life until last year.
 
#20
Giorgi said he has played the 4 (alongside another big) his whole life until last year.
Amazing to me that he has played on teams with a kid bigger than him. Then we have guys like DW having basically played the 4 or 5 in high school simply because they are the tallest on the team.
 
#21
Conference should be pretty strong. Maryland and MSU project to be elite teams, and the next tier has potential. Middle of the conference should be a real dog fight.

Curious to see how Michigan does after losing Beilein.
 
#22
I was wondering who people think will take a big step forward this year. We have some players that are very proven in what they have accomplished already like Ayo, Trent, Feliz and Giorgi but we also have some players that have not achieved (yet) the level of play we had hoped like DMW and Kipper. Tevian and Griffin have had limited playing time but have shown flashes of what they can do Then, we have the new additions Kofi, Kouma, and Bosmans-Verdonk.

Here's my take:

I expect Ayo to continue his play at a high level and at his current trajectory.

I think Trent will improve this year because he was pretty beat up last year. I do think people forget how well he played and the many big shots he made but a deeper bench should help with keeping his minutes reasonable. His PPG was only fractionally less than Ayo's.

Feliz will likely have a similar year. I am curious to see if he attempts more threes like he did in JC.

Giorgi will get a chance to play at his natural position which will be interesting as will having two capable bigs playing at the same time. Having his thumb injury should help as well. I still expect Giorgi to get plenty of minutes at the five and I am really excited to see how much we can improve on defense with the addition of Kofi.

Kofi - I expect that there will be plenty of freshmen mistakes but I think he will provide a huge boost at both ends of the floor. Fouls often happen as a result of a different player being out of position and a player sliding over to help picking up the foul. Adding Kofi to a team with some experience should help to minimize this (especially help from Giorgi).

DMW - I am optomistic for positive strides in his game. The article where DMW mentions recovering fully (especially mentally) from his ACL injury and finally feeling like he is 100%.

Kipper - I'm neither confident nor doubtful that he can be "Good Kipper" this year. The guys has lots of ability but struggles with the mental aspect of the game - if he can get/keep his head straight he can be a huge contributor and a key part of getting us to the dance.

Tevian - It was really unfortunate that Tevian had the 8-game suspension as I really like his game. Kid has a sweet looking stroke and I can see him having many more performances like the one against Maryland at MSG. If his defense is sufficient during training Iwould expect his to start.

Griffin - I don't think he gets the amount of attention he deserves. The kid can shoot and he has a knack for getting to the right spot for steals and rebounds. I hope we have some games where we blow teams out to give guys like Griffin some meaningful minutes (not just garbage time). I think that is all that is necessary for his development.

Verdonk - Not sure how serious the injury is but I expect him to get some minutes but he will have to catch up on conditioning andactually experience running BU's plays He has good size and decent handles.

Kouma - Hopefully he gets cleared soon. He definitely will be behind and Fletch has work to do. I see him as a project that could work out in a year or two.

My 2 cents
I expect the biggest increase in contribution to come from Tevian. That, with the addition of Kofi's contribution on both offense and defense should project us to the middle of the conference pack. Then we need a surprise contribution from Kipper, Kouma or Verdonk to make it to the top of the conference. I do expect to see more of Alan as a zone breaker and other roles to change but not sure to the extent.
 
#23
I expect the biggest increase in contribution to come from Tevian. That, with the addition of Kofi's contribution on both offense and defense should project us to the middle of the conference pack. Then we need a surprise contribution from Kipper, Kouma or Verdonk to make it to the top of the conference. I do expect to see more of Alan as a zone breaker and other roles to change but not sure to the extent.
I agree if TJ can get his feet under him literally, big big jump. Kipper is well Kipper, Kouma who knows, and Verdonk is the wild card, B1G body ready, international play, accustom to the 3pt line range already. He will not play as a freshman imo.