Illini Basketball 2019-2020

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I am going to try and rate the Illini squad using buckets or tiers. This has nothing to do with positions just how I rate contributions using buckets, which if you are familiar to drafting will be familiar with.
Bucket 1, Ayo , Trent, Giorgi...proven talent with possible post season awards not surprising.
Bucket 2, Feliz...proven talent...less than 50/50 at post season award level not surprised but expecting it would be Kool Aid level
Bucket 3, Kofi, Williams, proven talent or potential and need have me predicting starter or 6th man level contributions/minutes.
Bucket 4, Jones, Griffin, Nicholls, possible high upside with a floor of contributing backup minutes
Bucket 5 Verdonk, Hamlin. Ceiling solid backup minutes or need allows opportunity. Floor practice depth and mopup with walkons.

Trying to wrap my head around why I expect a good season. Injuries at 4/5 or a tier 1 player would derail. I...L,,,L...
 
There’s literally zero chance he doesn’t play some at the 4. Unless your under some delusion that Kofi/Giorgi/Verdonk can cover 80 minutes at the 4/5 (or 75 if you think Hamlin can play 5 which I’m not convinced of).

I’ll give Giorgi 25-30 (prob 28) min, Kofi 18-25 (prob 22) min, and Verdonk 10-22 (prob 14) min... And Hamlin 3-8 (prob 5) min.

At the high end that’s 30+25+22+8 = 85... but I think it’s closer to 28+22+14+5 = 69 which leaves 11 minutes for Kipper and Tevian at the 4.
Hopefully this is correct but Verdonk is the unknown to me. If we get 19 mins from he and Hamlin we will be fine. Playing small ball will work on specific opponent matchups for 10-11 mins but a problem for 30 mins IMO.
 
Austin, TX
based on what I have read, Verdonk is the new Giorgi. V should play the minutes GB played last year. My expectation/speculation.

I just looked up GB's numbers from last year: ave 26+ minutes. In some games as much as 32 minutes. Guess he sat with fouls in games he played lesser than 26.

I think Verdonk can play more than that at 4. IF he is foul free.

In fact, I would expect all three GB, Kfi and V, to clock hugh minutes IF they can be foul free.
 
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Austin
Lineups that I’m most excited to see

1) Ayo, Trent, Alan, Giorgi, Kofi

IMO this lineup fits together well. I like Alan over Tev for shooting and rebounding. Needs to fix his TO issues from last year.

2) Ayo, Trent, Griffin, Tev, Giorgi/Kofi

I like this one for the speed, quickness and length(minus Trent) on the defensive perimeter. Feel like we could give teams trouble with our pressure.

3) Ayo, Griffin, Tev, Giorgi, Kofi (Maybe Verdonk for Giorgi if he’s a revelation, and then either Giorgi or Kofi for the 5).

I love zone defense. I like what we did with our 1-3-1 and 2-3 looks in Italy, particularly our start in 1-3-1 and switch to 2-3 mid-possession look. A long, tall fairly athletic group with good activity and sound principals are a deadly zone combination. The weaknesses are generally covering the 3 and rebounding, but with that size and length we should be able to cover shooters and rebound.

One year Boeheim was asked why he plays so much zone, he said something like: why wouldn’t I want to guard everybody’s second offense?
 
Lineups that I’m most excited to see

1) Ayo, Trent, Alan, Giorgi, Kofi

IMO this lineup fits together well. I like Alan over Tev for shooting and rebounding. Needs to fix his TO issues from last year.

2) Ayo, Trent, Griffin, Tev, Giorgi/Kofi

I like this one for the speed, quickness and length(minus Trent) on the defensive perimeter. Feel like we could give teams trouble with our pressure.

3) Ayo, Griffin, Tev, Giorgi, Kofi (Maybe Verdonk for Giorgi if he’s a revelation, and then either Giorgi or Kofi for the 5).

I love zone defense. I like what we did with our 1-3-1 and 2-3 looks in Italy, particularly our start in 1-3-1 and switch to 2-3 mid-possession look. A long, tall fairly athletic group with good activity and sound principals are a deadly zone combination. The weaknesses are generally covering the 3 and rebounding, but with that size and length we should be able to cover shooters and rebound.

One year Boeheim was asked why he plays so much zone, he said something like: why wouldn’t I want to guard everybody’s second offense?
Might be a difference in "end of game" lineup and starting lineup. May want Alan playing with Dre because of his shooting, DaMonte with Ayo and Trent for the same reason. Believe BU looks at the rotation rather than just the best five. I love your #1 lineup but not sure it will be automatic. Also matchups important as when Trent and Dre drove Winston nuts with their defense. Still believe the year's success rests on the defense.
 
I think Verdunk is being underrated here...
I agree with this. On another note I think our bench play this year will be critical. I expect us to play at a very fast pace with more frequent substitutions than last year. We have some experience and depth this year on the bench which should help. I am a bit disappointed with how many posters seem to have written off Kipper Nichols. I completely understand the skepticism based on last year's play but I think we can and should expect a level of play more consistent with his sophomore year as opposed to last year. Last year saw too many people playing out of their natural position due to our lack of size. We had Jordan defending the 4 at times! It's fair not to get our hopes up too much regarding Kipper but I think he can really help us this year and while none of us have seen Verdonk play at the D1 level I am very optomistic.
 
And he also has us as one of 4 schools (Maryland, Iowa, Michigan and Illinois) as having 3 players in the top 50 from last year returning. Throw in the best 6th man, Feliz, in the B!G plus one of the best Freshman(Kofi) and you can see where we should be in the#3-#6 range in the B!G with a 12-8 record. The key is going to be early on, we play 3-top 25 teams in a row and our first 5 B!G games are some of our toughest of the year. Go 3-2 or 4-1 early on in the B1G and watch out. OTOH, go 1-4 or 0-5 and it could be a long season.
BTW, 3 teams (IU, Nebraska, and NW) have zero returning top 50 players from last year.
 
Illini optimist
Charleston
One year Boeheim was asked why he plays so much zone, he said something like: why wouldn’t I want to guard everybody’s second offense?
This might be one of the smartest things I have read quoting a coach in a long time.
 
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Illini optimist
Charleston
And he also has us as one of 4 schools (Maryland, Iowa, Michigan and Illinois) as having 3 players in the top 50 from last year returning. Throw in the best 6th man, Feliz, in the B!G plus one of the best Freshman(Kofi) and you can see where we should be in the#3-#6 range in the B!G with a 12-8 record. The key is going to be early on, we play 3-top 25 teams in a row and our first 5 B!G games are some of our toughest of the year. Go 3-2 or 4-1 early on in the B1G and watch out. OTOH, go 1-4 or 0-5 and it could be a long season.
BTW, 3 teams (IU, Nebraska, and NW) have zero returning top 50 players from last year.
However, I do not see it being a long shot that we get to Maryland at 7-0. AND, I love the fact that I EXPECT us to be better than those clown pants.
 
Austin
I'm basketball-stupid, could you explain what this means exactly?
Most teams play man to man defense, so most teams allot significantly more practice time to their man to man offense, sets, out of bounds plays, etc.

By playing zone, boeheim is saying that he gets to play his primary defense, against the offense that most teams don’t practice as much.

In terms of how this applies to us, BU talked a lot about zone for the Italy trip. I think he wants it in his bag this year. He has gone 3-2 most of the time, but we worked 1-3-1 and 2-3 (and combos in the same possession) in the games I saw. I think we have the ability to put out a “poor man’s Syracuse” type lineup that can play a long, athletic and active zone to frustrate teams. It will be interesting to see how the longer 3 pt line impacts zones as well.
 
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There’s literally zero chance he doesn’t play some at the 4. Unless your under some delusion that Kofi/Giorgi/Verdonk can cover 80 minutes at the 4/5 (or 75 if you think Hamlin can play 5 which I’m not convinced of).

I’ll give Giorgi 25-30 (prob 28) min, Kofi 18-25 (prob 22) min, and Verdonk 10-22 (prob 14) min... And Hamlin 3-8 (prob 5) min.

At the high end that’s 30+25+22+8 = 85... but I think it’s closer to 28+22+14+5 = 69 which leaves 11 minutes for Kipper and Tevian at the 4.
Hamlin isnt going to see the court unless it's a blow out barring injuries and even then likely wont. If there ever was a project to redshirt its him. He is far from good enough to play in meaningful games yet on a decent team. There is a reason he had so few offers and wasnt expect to play any D 1 next year. His contribution will be in practice and being committed to learning and improving hopefully in a few years he can get to that level.
 
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Virtually every team practices and plays primarily against man to man defenses. Little of the time spent in practice is against zone. So, a zone defense forces teams into playing an offense that is their second choice.
BU's defense has always been to keep the opponent off balance. He did play some zone last year with success. Hopefully with a more experienced team he can add several wrinkles because last year just didn't work for whatever reason.
 
Bonnaroo Land
I think Verdunk is being underrated here...
After a few years of BU coach speak, he is going to have to prove it on the court first. I am pulling for him, but expecting nothing more than a few minutes here or there until he proves it will happen otherwise.
 
Likes: ROFOIllini
After a few years of BU coach speak, he is going to have to prove it on the court first. I am pulling for him, but expecting nothing more than a few minutes here or there until he proves it will happen otherwise.
There is alot more to Verdonk the BU speak. First off you can clearly see he physically is stronger and has more size than others to play the 4. Ayo and other players have said he is unlike anyone on the team. He can truly play inside, handle the ball, and shot over 40% from international range. Who else other than him on our team can do those things? He doesnt just look good on film but when I heard Ayo others speak of him and his skill set as well as see his size. It's not just BU. I think it's pretty clear he will play.
 
you feel me, dog?
Elmhurst
There is alot more to Verdonk the BU speak. First off you can clearly see he physically is stronger and has more size than others to play the 4. Ayo and other players have said he is unlike anyone on the team. He can truly play inside, handle the ball, and shot over 40% from international range. Who else other than him on our team can do those things? He doesnt just look good on film but when I heard Ayo others speak of him and his skill set as well as see his size. It's not just BU. I think it's pretty clear he will play.
No squinting required.
 
Bonnaroo Land
There is alot more to Verdonk the BU speak. First off you can clearly see he physically is stronger and has more size than others to play the 4. Ayo and other players have said he is unlike anyone on the team. He can truly play inside, handle the ball, and shot over 40% from international range. Who else other than him on our team can do those things? He doesnt just look good on film but when I heard Ayo others speak of him and his skill set as well as see his size. It's not just BU. I think it's pretty clear he will play.
And when he proves his build and playing style translate to excellence on the court, then super. Until then, he looks really good coming off the bus.
 
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