Illinois 99, Rutgers 94 OT POSTGAME

When I saw the vids I kept saying that I saw Ethan Happ in his game. He isn't the same caliber athlete that Happ is (Happ is one of the best college players of the past decade), but his footwork, soft touch, easy hook and ball handling are all right there with him. I tried to temper my expectations due to rankings and I will admit that I never saw it coming this year (although I did see it very possible as an upperclassmen).

As I type this, Happ is doing to Michigan what Giorgi did to Rutgers today. The exact same post moves, over and over. Glad we have one of them on our side.
I didn't realize this game was already played. I've been drinking since the win, cut me some slack.
 
Likes: sinmyp
Is Bezhanishvili the best freshman in the history of Illinois basketball.
Agree/Disagree :)
In the history of Illinois basketball not to many double digit scorers, I'm talking about true freshmen. So no Deon, Frankie, Liberty, nick Anderson. Giorgi IMHO is further ahead than Brian Cook abd Meyers Leonard as freshmen. GB has a bright future, very quick feet for a big man.
 
Likes: foby
Just finished watching on DVR and came to say the same thing--Feels like we've had more good passes into the post than we've had in the last decade. We have several players that are both willing and able to enter the ball down low; we have seen seasons with rosters that were filled with players that were either/or (and in some cases, neither!). Really great to see and a huge factor in the emergence of Giorgi's scoring.
Agreed. Feeding the post is a lost art and Illinois in particular was horrible in that regard for a long, long time.
 
Likes: Oskeefan
GB is athletic although it may not be in areas most equate to being athletic. He certainly has much better hand eye and foot coordination most big men. He also is close to ambidextrous which is an athletic trait. GB is more athletic the Greg Ebo was it just isnt in explosive jumping.. Ask Rutger's big men if the way he moves, his strength, and the way he uses both hands if think he as athletic? He was the most athletic and skilled bug man on the court today.
I know he's athletic, but Ethan Happ is a different beast of athletic college big man. That's not a knock on Giorgi, his other skills are right there with him, like when he brought the ball up the court today. I compared him cold out of high school based purely on those workout vids to Happ when he was ranked #500. Don't take it as a slight to him, Giorgi is a stud and to say he's a step behind Happ as a freshman to senior comparison isn't a bad thing when you are probably talking about the best senior center in the country. Giorgi could get there, sooner than we all thought.
 
Have to give some credit to Giorgi because he is the PERFECT big for this scheme. Can post on either block, finish with both hands, face up and drive it at the elbow or even out to the 3 point line, can pass, actually reads what the defense is doing and makes the right play accordingly. If he can add a consistent jumper it's game over for everyone else. I actually like that he stopped shooting this year because even though he made some shots it just wasn't efficient. That really shows how smart he is as a player.
Plus he's already the guy huddling them during breaks in action.
 
In the history of Illinois basketball not to many double digit scorers, I'm talking about true freshmen. So no Deon, Frankie, Liberty, nick Anderson. Giorgi IMHO is further ahead than Brian Cook abd Meyers Leonard as freshmen. GB has a bright future, very quick feet for a big man.
I don't remember a fr center with better footwork and ball control, plus great hands, shoots consistently with either hand and has learned not to foul, sorta good. Plus a better fr dancer.
 

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Have to give some credit to Giorgi because he is the PERFECT big for this scheme. Can post on either block, finish with both hands, face up and drive it at the elbow or even out to the 3 point line, can pass, actually reads what the defense is doing and makes the right play accordingly. If he can add a consistent jumper it's game over for everyone else. I actually like that he stopped shooting this year because even though he made some shots it just wasn't efficient. That really shows how smart he is as a player.
I think you described the perfect big for every scheme. Is there some team out there where Giorgi wouldn't do well?
 
Sycamore, Illinois
He obviously has to make a good move to get the shots up but, Giorgi’s touch around the rim is what impresses me most. His shots find a way in. Hitting his free throws today was also a big plus.
 
Thoren had a few with that hook shot of his and of course Deon, but you're right, it's been a while since a big man dominated like that.
But Skip didn't play as a freshman. Actually, Deon didn't either. Then again, Giorgi isn't a typical freshman from an age standpoint
 
What a fantastic game by Giorgi. I just can't believe how much he has improved throughout the season and the poise he has for a freshman. He has turned into a phenomenal player and I can't believe that we are going to have 3 more years of watching him play for the ILLINI. What a game and he represents the Illini culture as well as any player that I can remember. He is going to be an all time Fan favorite
 
Likes: sinmyp
Have been looking for a video of the shove of Giorgi from Omoruyi in the post game line. Does it seem like he just didn't like Giorgi having a record game against the Rutger's front line? Can't find it. Does anyone have that on video?
Everybody misses things, I WAS at the frig chasing a celebratory beer after the game and didn't see the altercation.
 
Centralia, IL
Have been looking for a video of the shove of Giorgi from Omoruyi in the post game line. Does it seem like he just didn't like Giorgi having a record game against the Rutger's front line? Can't find it. Does anyone have that on video?
Everybody misses things, I WAS at the frig chasing a celebratory beer after the game and didn't see the altercation.
Check out the game highlights on the front page it happens at the very end. Wasn’t anything too serious.
 
Washington State
Has there ever been a pair of freshman on the level of Ayo and Giorgi? I'd say they are the best fresh duo ever for the Illini.
I'm way too lazy to do the research, but anybody know if have we ever had multiple B1G All-Freshman players in the same season? If so, were they both true freshman?
 
Giorgi:
The only thing I remember liking when viewing video when he committed was that he looked quick and had really great footwork.
I didn't know, I'll bet nobody knew, that his repertoire of moves in the paint was so developed.

Still say that the best thing about the player is his personality. If he doesn't already, he's gonna own the campus.
Recruit more dancers?
 
Check out the game highlights on the front page it happens at the very end. Wasn’t anything too serious.
Really crappy poor sportsmanship, however. Looks like at the end of the clip Giorgi was looking for someone's had to shake. I wonder if it was Omoruyi.
 
Regarding freshmen big men at Illinois, I looked at points and rebounds for freshmen going back to 1980, and included both Centers and Forwards (excluded those with less than 1.0 ppg) -

1981-82
Anthony Welch, 3.0 ppg, 1.5 rpg
George Montgomery, 3.6 ppg, 3.7 rpg

1982-83
Efrem Winters, 12.4 ppg, 6.9 rpg
Scott Meents, 2.8 ppg, 1.2 rpg

1985-86
Lowell Hamilton 3.7 ppg, 1.7 rpg
Olaf Blab, 1.2 ppg, 0.6 rpg
Jens Kujawa, 2.3 ppg, 2.4 rpg

1988-89
Marcus Liberty, 8.4 ppg, 3.9 rpg
Andy Kaufman, 4.3 ppg, 1.7 rpg

1989-90
Rodney Jones, 7.4 ppg, 4.3 rpg
Andy Kpedi, 2.8 ppg, 2.8 rpg

1990-91
Deon Thomas, 15.1 ppg, 6.8 rpg
Tom Michael, 4.2 ppg, 2.7 rpg
TJ Wheeler, 4.5 ppg, 2.2 rpg

1991-92
Scott Pierce, 5.8 ppg, 3.5 rpg
Robert Bennett, 4.8 ppg, 3.8 ppg
Marc Davidson, 1.7 ppg, 1.2 rpg

1993-94
Jerry Hester, 8.1 ppg, 4.0 rpg
Chris Gandy, 3.4 ppg, 1.9 rpg

1994-95
Jarrod Gee, 6.0 ppg, 3.4 rpg
Brian Notree, 2.6 ppg, 2.1 rpg
Brian Johnson 2.1 ppg, 2.0 rpg
Brett Robisch, 1.3 ppg, 0.7 rpg

1995-96
Ryan Blackwell, 3.9 ppg, 2.9 rpg

1996-97
Victor Chukwudebe, 2.7 ppg, 2.2 rpg

1997-98
Sergio McClain, 3.5 ppg, 3.1 rpg
Awvee Story, 3.2 ppg, 1.9 rpg

1998-99
Lucas Johnson, 4.4 ppg, 3.1 rpg
Damir Krupalija, 4.6 ppg, 5.5 rpg
Robert Archibald, 3.0 ppg, 3.1 rpg

1999-2000
Brian Cook, 9.0 ppg, 4.5 rpg

2001-02
Nick Smith, 3.8 ppg, 2.2 rpg
Roger Powell, 2.9 ppg, 1.8 rpg

2002-03
James Augustine, 7.0 ppg, 5.8 rpg
Kyle Wilson, 2.6 ppg, 1.6 rpg
Aaron Spears, 3.2 ppg, 1.5 rpg

2003-04
Brian Randle, 2.7 ppg, 2.3 rpg
Warren Carter, 1.2 ppg, 0.6 rpg

2004-05
Shaun Pruitt 1.4 pff, 0.9 rpg

2005-06
Richard Semrau, 3.6 ppg, 2.2 rpg
Brian Carlwell, 1.7 ppg, 1.4 rpg
Charles Jackson, 1.1 ppg, 1.5 rpg

2007-08
Mike Tisdale, 3.6 ppg, 1.7 rpg
Mike Davis, 2.6 ppg, 1.8 rpg
Bill Cole, 2.3 ppg, 1.4 rpg

2009-10
Tyler Griffey, 3.3 ppg, 1.8 rpg

2010-11
Jereme Richmond, 7.6 ppg, 5.0 rpg
Meyers Leonard, 2.1 ppg, 1.2 rpg

2011-12
Myke Henry, 3.2 ppg, 1.1 rpg
Nnanna Egwu, 1.9 ppg, 1.5 rpg

2012-13
Maverick Morgan, 1.5 ppg, 1.2 rpg
Austin Colbert, 1.3 ppg, 0.8 rpg

2014-15
Leron Black, 5.0 ppg, 4.3 rpg

2015-16
Michael Finke, 7.5 ppg, 3.7 rpg

2016-17
Kipper Nichols, 4.9 ppg, 2.9 rpg

2017-18
Greg Eboigbodin, 2.2 ppg, 2.4 rpg

2018-19 (through Rutgers game)
Giorgi Bezhanishvili, 12.2 ppg, 5.0 rpg
Samba Kane, 1.9 ppg, 0.6 rpg

Illinois has never had the reputation for acquiring and developing big men, but suffice it to say that if the season were to end today, Giorgi has had the 3rd best freshman season of any Illini big in the last 30+ years, and the season's not out yet. The other two (Efrem Winters and Deon Thomas) had pretty great careers as Illini, and Giorgi is on the right track. Even lottery pick Meyers Leonard's sophomore season was only a bit better than Giorgi's at 13.6 ppg, 8.2 rpg. (Meyers leaving for the NBA was the right thing for him, but we will always wonder "What if. . . . ?")

I'm not going to go back and dig up the data on freshmen duos, but suffice it to say that Giorgi and Ayo are amongst the top 2 or 3 freshmen duos over the same timeframe.
 
Would love to see a Jordan Murphy on this team. Physical player that is our missing piece IMO. Aaron does a great job for his size but is manhandled by larger players. Maybe Leron could have been that piece but it isn't there in any case. Kofi will add the physical but it will sure change Giorgi's role. Maybe that piece is a spring recruit we don't know about ala Giorgi.
 
Likes: rtbritt
Paducah, Ky
https://www.stltoday.com/sports/college/illini/bezhanishvili-s-illini-freshman-record-points-key-ot-win-over/article_85060951-6b39-5f08-9272-6c3a572320ca.html

In the final game of three that Davit saw Giorgi in person while visiting from Vienna, Austria, Giorgi promised him he would make Davit’s trip to Illinois unforgettable.

Giorgi, an Illinois freshman, kept up with his promise, scoring 35 points in Illinois’ 99-94 overtime win against Rutgers at the State Farm Center on Saturday to sweep a three-game homestand.
“For me family is everything,” Giorgi said. “I would do anything for my family.”

______________________________________

The Illini family is proud to have GB and he has been a GREAT BREATH OF FRESH AIR TO A PROGRAM THAT HAS BEEN STAGNANT FOR TOO LONG !
 
Haven't seen Giorgi take the 12-15 ft shot that Mav developed his senior year as did LB. I believe he will get there as well as a three point shot with those soft hands. The problem with that, however, is he may not be a four year player with those skills as he also may be a draft choice. He will need those skills playing with Kofi and the increased defensive attention he will be getting. That defensive attention should open up shots for Kipper, Aaron, and Tevian as a result.
 
.4 percent is still in it kids
Virginia
Not sure if Rutgers was playing extra hard for their coach yesterday or not - but it seemed like every tough shot they took went in and up until the end (which took down their percent) seemed to be making 3s at a higher clip than on average. And it really looked more like street ball offense more than anything else. I haven't watched them much this year but the scouting was a slowed down 1/2 court offense - which they completely abandoned yesterday.

They played well - and had a few breakout performances. We played well and had one over the top performance by Giorgi (assisted by RU's refusal to play post D of course - but you take what the D gives you).

And what key pickups both Adonis and Dre were in the off season - absolute homerun additions to this team.