Greatest Illini basketball team

#7      
Spokane, WA
Ayo Dosunmu
Deron Williams
Kendall Gill
Deon Thomas
Kofi Cockburn

I wanted to put Dee in there but it got crowded... was also looking at Eddie Johnson but he's before my time so I dunno
 
#8      
The guys that played 1949-1952 collectively need consideration. 3 FF's in 4 yrs is a hell of an accomplishment. Yes it was when CBB wasn't near the big deal it is now, and the Tourney was much smaller with fewer games to win, but still gotta give them credit where credit is due.
 
#11      
Ayo Dosunmu
Deron Williams
Kendall Gill
Deon Thomas
Kofi Cockburn

I wanted to put Dee in there but it got crowded... was also looking at Eddie Johnson but he's before my time so I dunno
I'm in the same camp re: guys prior to the Flyin' Illini. And even for those guys I was very young, so hard for me to differentiate too much. Can't really look at stats and get a full picture without having seen the guy in action. I like your list, would probably switch either Deon or Kofi for Brian Cook. He had a heck of a career and was a much better shooter than either of those guys, which would help in this hypothetical where they're all playing together.

As to @illiniu's question, I think it's a toss-up between the '89 and '05 teams -- take your pick. I'll go with '05 simply b/c I was older and could appreciate their brilliance more. That and the fact that their sole regular season loss was so surprising that it speaks to their overall dominance that year.
 
#13      
The best basketball players I have seen play for Illinois, in order of recruiting class:

Don Freeman: 1962-1966
Rich Jones: 1964-1966
Nick Weatherspoon 1969-1973
Derek Harper 1980-1983
Nick Anderson 1986-1989
Kendall Gill 1986-1990
Deron Williams 2002-2005

Those 7 are my best of the best, and omit some great basketball players:

Bill Burwell 1959-1963
Dave Downey 1959-1963
Tal Brody 1961-1965
Skip Thoren 1961-1965
Jim Dawson 1963-1967
Eddie Johnson 1977-1981
Bruce Douglas 1982-1986
Efrem Winters 1982-1986
Ken Norman 1983-1987
Kenny Battle 1986-1989
Marcus Liberty 1987-1990
Deon Thomas 1989-1994
Kiwane Garris 1993-1997
Frank Williams 1998-2002
Brian Cook 1999-2003
Dee Brown 2002-2006
Ayo Dosunmu 2018-2021
Kofi Cockburn 2019-
André Curbelo 2020-
...
Mark Smith 1977-1981
Lowell Hamilton 1985-1989
Cory Bradford 1997-2002
Brandon Paul 2009-2013
Trent Frazier 2017-
Adam Miller 2020-2021
...
Demetri McCamey 2007-2011
Rayvonte Rice 2012-2015
Malcolm Hill 2013-2017
Kendrick Nunn 2013-2017
 
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#14      
The best basketball players I have seen play for Illinois, in order of recruiting class:

Don Freeman: 1962-1966
Rich Jones: 1964-1966
Nick Weatherspoon 1969-1973
Derek Harper 1980-1983
Nick Anderson 1986-1989
Kendall Gill 1986-1990
Deron Williams 2002-2005

Those 7 are my best of the best, and omit some great basketball players:

Bill Burwell 1959-1963
Dave Downey 1959-1963
Tal Brody 1961-1965
Skip Thoren 1961-1965
Jim Dawson 1963-1967
Eddie Johnson 1977-1981
Bruce Douglas 1982-1986
Efrem Winters 1982-1986
Ken Norman 1983-1987
Kenny Battle 1986-1989
Marcus Liberty 1987-1990
Deon Thomas 1989-1994
Kiwane Garris 1993-1997
Frank Williams 1998-2002
Brian Cook 1999-2003
Dee Brown 2002-2006
Ayo Dosunmu 2018-2021
Kofi Cockburn 2019-
André Curbelo 2020-
...
Mark Smith 1977-1981
Lowell Hamilton 1985-1989
Cory Bradford 1997-2002
Brandon Paul 2009-2013
Trent Frazier 2017-
Adam Miller 2020-2021
...
Demetri McCamey 2007-2011
Rayvonte Rice 2012-2015
Malcolm Hill 2013-2017
Kendrick Nunn 2013-2017
Your list leaves out an old friend of mine "Dave Scholz" He was a survivor of the "slush fund" He also
was, for a stretch, the all time leading scorer for Illinois with over 1,400 points, he has been passed by more than 10 players.
Dave only lasted in the NBA for about two years. He was with the Philadelphia 76's for that brief time. When Dave came back to graduate
school, we played together on a the grad intramural team. That year we were the best team in the grad intramural
league. Dave was 6'8" with a deadly outside shot. I was a guard, that loved feeding Dave, and having wide open
15 to 20 foot jump shots because the defense was always trying to collapse on Dave. He played in 71 games for
the Illini, and averaged a little over 20 points per game. You have a long list of former players, and I just wanted
add Dave to your list
 
#15      
For me, having been watching Illini teams since '56, I would rather watch the Flyin' Illini than any other team ever. The '05 team was a very close second, but that '89 team was unique in their passing and overall shooting ability. They were up and down the floor constantly, regardless of how many defenders were back to stop them. Also, their ability to get off the floor so quickly with elite and exceptionally fast verticals made them all about 3 inches taller....even though they were all of similar height. They killed teams with their quickness and athleticism....and were likely the most unselfish team I have ever seen. If a guy wasn't going to score, he got the ball to someone else who could so quickly it often seemed our foes thought there were 8 guys out there in Illini uniforms because someone was always moving to get open. I could watch that team play anyone forever if locked in time.
 
#18      
Aurora, IL
I had more overall fun with the 2005 team than any other I watched. I gotta say, this year's team was more cathartic than any team I ever watched, because it was such a long time coming, and the guys were so darn likeable. 1989 was fantastic, but I was in high school and thinking that Illinois always did this.
 
#23      
The 2005 team was 6 points from two games away from an unbeaten season. That close.

The Flying Illini would have won it all if Michigan doesn’t change coaches right before the tourney.

Douglas and Altenberger probably make the Final Four if it wasn’t a Kentucky home game to qualify.

My final answer; Flying Illini. But cannot really naysay anyone liking 2005 either.


I am afraid 2021 goes in the Austin Peay class. Better ... and the B1G trophy is nice ... but as far as the NCAAs are concerned still a huge disappointment
 
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#24      
I had no idea of the response when I posted "Flying Illini" as greatest Illini team of all time. I believe it, but you certainly can make the case for Whiz Kids, '84, 2001, 2005, 2021. Even my own personal favorite 14-18 team which nearly won the Big tournament title

And I'm not savvy enough to rate the players.

I think any Illini basketball player who's done his job is a hero in my book.

.May I please mention some names? Harrington and Grandy. Because I've met them right here in DeKalb where they lived once upon a time. Grandy at a "Men Can Cook" fundraiser at NIU and Sean in line at the local Jewel

I think this is a truly great thread because it gets our minds off the crap college basketball has become. I wouldn't take Coach Underwood's millions for anything. I'm happy with my social security, small pension, and stimulus checks. (I do have a cash nest egg
 
#25      
I missed the edit window, sorry. I wish Coach Brad the best. But for any coach nowadays, it's Heart Attack City. Check out that BP, coach, take care of yourself.


P.S. Matt Heldman. What happened to the "Matto" award?