Illini Basketball 2019-2020

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#52
I like that fact that our returning top starters and AF are solid from the FT line. I hope that Kofi is effective and working on that part of his game. I am hopeful he can make a good percentage to not be a liability at the end of games from the line. Outside of that we should be able to put 4 guys on the floor that can hit 75% or better in the final minutes to close out games with the lead. .
We may have different definitions of "solid from the FT line."

Illinois was tied for 187/353 in FT% in 2018-19. That's bad. Free Throw shooting was probably our 2nd worst team flaw, after only our inability to defend within 5 feet of the rim. Not sure what 4 guys you think will shoot 75% or better but they definitely didn't do it last year. Hope you're right and our guys can figure it out and get to those number though.

>80% is "good" (84% is what it takes to be top 100 in the country).
70-80% is "expected" / "okay"
55-70% is "bad"
<55% is "really bad"
I also expect players to get to the line at least once every 14 minutes on the floor with the cut off for being "good" every 11 minutes.

Ayo: 69.5% / 10.5min - Not great for an NBA prospect scoring guard.
Trent: 75.9% / 11.8min - Okay but not great for one of our teams best shooters.
Giorgi: 65.7% / 8.0min
Andres: 75.5% / 7.8min - By far our best free throw shooter when considering ability to get to the line and convert and there's still room for improvement.
Da'Monte: 70.0% / 14.2min
Kipper: 57.9% / 15.7min - Bench worthy performance for any respectable power conference team.
Tevian: 90.9% - 20.1min - Good percent but only took 11 shots from the stripe in 221 minutes played. Going to need to get to the line a lot more this year.
Alan: 61.1% - 13.5min - Pretty awful from one of our teams "shooters".
 
#53
5th-8th place in the B1G is definitely a good goal and absolutely attainable. Can Kofi be an average 5 in the B1G? I see us having a top 3 backcourt, probably a slightly below average 3 spot, and probably a slightly above average 4 (assuming giorgi plays there most of the time). That would probably see us right about that range, and I think depth is a plus in the 1-3 position.

Maybe crazy to say, but I think this teams true potential hinges on Kofi. If he is at least the 7th best center in the B1G, I think we make the tournament. Him being there alievates so much pressure off of the tweener guys. I guess I should say I'm assuming moving Giorgi at the 4 is at worst a lateral move in terms of his value (which would mean a major upgrade at the 4 for the overall team). If Kofi can't perform to those standards, it degrades two positions on the court.
I don't think Kofi performs to those standards because they are too low. He's better than the #7 center in the B1G.
 
#54
OK everyone settle down. He's a legit 6'7" 230. Huge rear-end. He has post abilities that are extremely rare for a pass-first ambidextrous PG. Maybe Lebron is a stretch :)
If he starts posting often i am sure Kofi will slide over to help eliminate that fairly quickly much like Harms does at Purdue but with a more physical presence
 
#57
We may have different definitions of "solid from the FT line."

Illinois was tied for 187/353 in FT% in 2018-19. That's bad. Free Throw shooting was probably our 2nd worst team flaw, after only our inability to defend within 5 feet of the rim. Not sure what 4 guys you think will shoot 75% or better but they definitely didn't do it last year. Hope you're right and our guys can figure it out and get to those number though.

>80% is "good" (84% is what it takes to be top 100 in the country).
70-80% is "expected" / "okay"
55-70% is "bad"
<55% is "really bad"
I also expect players to get to the line at least once every 14 minutes on the floor with the cut off for being "good" every 11 minutes.

Ayo: 69.5% / 10.5min - Not great for an NBA prospect scoring guard.
Trent: 75.9% / 11.8min - Okay but not great for one of our teams best shooters.
Giorgi: 65.7% / 8.0min
Andres: 75.5% / 7.8min - By far our best free throw shooter when considering ability to get to the line and convert and there's still room for improvement.
Da'Monte: 70.0% / 14.2min
Kipper: 57.9% / 15.7min - Bench worthy performance for any respectable power conference team.
Tevian: 90.9% - 20.1min - Good percent but only took 11 shots from the stripe in 221 minutes played. Going to need to get to the line a lot more this year.
Alan: 61.1% - 13.5min - Pretty awful from one of our teams "shooters".
i should have looked it up. i thought our top 5 guys were all at or above 70% (ayo, TF.AF, GB. and likely Tev and DW from last season) GB seemed to get worse when he hurt his hand then got support from his brother. I thought that was kind of funny.
I am not sure what type of percentage Verdonk shot overseas.
 
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#58
Agree to disagree. Nojel will have a GREAT year. 6'7" PG who shoots it MUCH better than people think. I know him personally and the dude put up 500 shots a day this offseason. He's 230 pounds...could post up Lebron. Crazy mismatch for all of our guards and in my opinion will be drafted after this season
I'm sure he could post up Lebron, but realize posting him up and scoring once you get there are two different things. Post up, sure, Lebron would sit behind him and send his shot into the 3rd row.
 
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#59
CSB sports understands that a good illini team is good for ratings in a major city like Chicago.
they desperately want Illinois to be good.
 
#60
Verdonk needs to be a 5 and 5 guy for us at the 4 spot. Hope the injury isn't serious. If this can be accomplished we will be sitting pretty.
 
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#61
M tipping over
Pdx
I'm with you. I would be interested if somebody could come up with a better 6th man in all of the B!G. His 3 point shooting is his big weakness, plus his assists are low considering he was one of the top JUCO's in that category.
I think he is one of the best sixth men in the B1G. The only new criticism I could think of is that when he decides to drive, he kind of gets locked into that action. I'd like to see him adjust a little better when he gets closed out. But that's being a bit nit-picky.
 
#62
I don't think Kofi performs to those standards because they are too low. He's better than the #7 center in the B1G.
Not trying to disagree with you, but no one has seen him against college level opponents. There's always risk of a player busting. I might be biasing my opinion a bit, but I watched him a couple times in college and came away very unimpressed. Now, plenty of factors you can throw out to counter that, mainly the fact that I watched like maybe 20 minutes of his play. But it did quell my expectations.

Bigs are very tough to pin down. Freshman bigs rarely perform as well as guards around their rankings. I think having a baseline expectation of him being the 7th best center in the B1G is pretty dead on.

I do think it will be very apparent whether he's better or worse than that ranking, especially given how quickly we play a P6 opponent.
 
#65
A guy can have an NBA body, he can practice like a beast and be the same in high school or even against inferior
mid major or D-II programs, but until Kofi plays one big ten game, lets stop putting him in the top half of big ten
centers.
Thanks for your paternalistic advice, but don't tell me what opinion to have. He lead the EYBL in rebounding and was 3rd team All EYBL. Plus, he played at a prep school which plays against many of the top schools inn the country. Are you saying that the B1G has better centers than EYBL which has the top players in the nation every year? Plus, it's not like he needs to put on more weight/muscle.
 
#66
A guy can have an NBA body, he can practice like a beast and be the same in high school or even against inferior
mid major or D-II programs, but until Kofi plays one big ten game, lets stop putting him in the top half of big ten
centers.
For the most part i agree about reasonable expectations. But he doesnt need to be all B10 or even an all round skilled 5. i hope that he is but i do not expect him to be a big offense threat outside the lane. Kofi needs to do the things we lacked last season. From a physical stand point and appearing to be athletic for his size i think he can. If Kofi can rebound, set screens, not be pushed around inside, and provide a defense presence at the rim then that is what we need from him. Any other skills he has as a freshman would be a bonus. I do expect him to be among the leading rebounders in the B10 and a shot blocker. By the smirk on BU face when he talks about Kofi i feel he can at least do those things and we will be just fine.
 
#67
A guy can have an NBA body, he can practice like a beast and be the same in high school or even against inferior
mid major or D-II programs, but until Kofi plays one big ten game, lets stop putting him in the top half of big ten
centers.
I see your point, but plenty of preseason player rankings include freshman who have never played a college game before. Kofi has played (and performed well against) some of the top high school bigs in the country. 17&8 against Armando Bacot & Jeremiah Robinson-Earl as an example. It's not crazy far-fetched to call him a top 7ish center in the Big10.
 
#68
Not trying to disagree with you, but no one has seen him against college level opponents. There's always risk of a player busting. I might be biasing my opinion a bit, but I watched him a couple times in college and came away very unimpressed. Now, plenty of factors you can throw out to counter that, mainly the fact that I watched like maybe 20 minutes of his play. But it did quell my expectations.

Bigs are very tough to pin down. Freshman bigs rarely perform as well as guards around their rankings. I think having a baseline expectation of him being the 7th best center in the B1G is pretty dead on.

I do think it will be very apparent whether he's better or worse than that ranking, especially given how quickly we play a P6 opponent.
Really, so you think the top centers in the nation from last year's class, all of whom played in the EYBL, aren't "college level opponents"? Interesting view, maybe you should tell Coach K and Squid this one and done thing will never work.
 
#69
Thanks for your paternalistic advice, but don't tell me what opinion to have. He lead the EYBL in rebounding and was 3rd team All EYBL. Plus, he played at a prep school which plays against many of the top schools inn the country. Are you saying that the B1G has better centers than EYBL which has the top players in the nation every year? Plus, it's not like he needs to put on more weight/muscle.
Really depends on his ability to defend without fouling IMO. Giorgi had problems and he was great for a freshman. Very few moving screens in contrast to past bigs.
 
#70
That's a whole lot easier when you are 285+ pounds, 7 foot tall with a 7'6" wing span, but I agree that will be the biggest issue.
Never seems the refs give a guy that size an even break. Shaq was frequently mugged without a call but they were quick to call him for touch fouls. Hope that isn't true with Kofi but certainly not confident of it.
 
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#71
These early predictions from media outlets regarding the Illini are encouraging to me. We've had threads on here in the past which connected recruit rankings to performance, but these media prognostications have often been a much truer indication of where the performance each season will fall. Going back to 2013-14, and taking the average of 5 (arguably) reputable predictions* for the Big Ten season, here is how the Illini performance has stacked up against those predictions:

2013-14 - Avg. Predicted Finish: 7.8, Actual Finish: 8th
2014-15 - APF: 7.4, Actual: 7th
2015-16 - APF: 8.8, Actual: 12th
2016-17 - APF: 9.2, Actual 9th
2017-18 - APF: 11.4, Actual 11th
2018-19 - APF: 13.2, Actual 10th

*Predictions from SI, Athlon, BTN, Sporting News, USA Today, CBS Sports, Athletic, Bleacher Report, 247 Sports - I just did some quick searches, so someone else might be able to have/find more reliable sources
 
#72
st petersburg, fl
Really, so you think the top centers in the nation from last year's class, all of whom played in the EYBL, aren't "college level opponents"? Interesting view, maybe you should tell Coach K and Squid this one and done thing will never work.
Let's forget about Kofi for a second and take a broader view. How have incoming Illini freshman players panned out vs. expectations prior to the season beginning in the past? I'd say the only player that really lived up to the hype is Ayo. Trent and Giorgi blew past expectations on the upside. But I'd argue the more often than not, the highest rated guys come in below expectations, esp the first year....even going as far back as Jereme Richmond.

My point is, college basketball is different than high school, and freshman are typically significantly disadvantaged vs. older competitors. From the tone on this board, sounds like people are very high on Kofi. Looking at history, that likely means he won't live up to expectations. I hope I'm wrong and he turns out like Ayo. But I'm not putting $$ on it.
 
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#74
My point is, college basketball is different than high school, and freshman are typically significantly disadvantaged vs. older competitors. From the tone on this board, sounds like people are very high on Kofi. Looking at history, that likely means he won't live up to expectations. I hope I'm wrong and he turns out like Ayo. But I'm not putting $$ on it.
One of the principal reasons the young guys typically underperform is because they cannot handle the physicality of college ball. Don't think Kofi will have that problem. The speed of the game may be an issue for him, but as a big guy, as opposed to a guard, that is probably not as difficult to adjust to.
 
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