Greatest Illini basketball team

#53      
Are you saying Head was better than Battle??
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#54      
Deron is a 3x all-star, 2x all-NBA second team. Nick Anderson and Derek Harper had great careers, but combined for exactly 0 all-star games.
Yeah, just focusing on Deron, it’s hard not to pick ‘05 with him running the show. When things were darkest too, look how he performed against Zona and in the ‘05 title game’s second half. With the ball in the best players hands every possession I’ll take my chances. My opinion, Derons the best Illini in my lifetime without hesitation.

That being said, still a difficult choice who wins between ‘89 and ‘05. I’ll go with ‘05.
 
#55      
#56      
Hard to argue against EJ as having the best NBA career: 17 years and 88-89 6th man of the year: https://www.basketball-reference.com/players/j/johnsed03.html

Eddie Johnson Game-Winning 3pt - Game 4 - '97 Conference Finals - 5/25/97 (original broadcast):

Some things arent worth arguing. Deron is the best basketball player to come out of Illinois over the past 60 decades. Its not close at all actually.

He was a Top PG in the NBA for a good 8-10 years. All Star selection, All NBA selection, Olympic team selection, Gold Medal winner, etc. Eddie, Gill, Cook, Nick, and Harper had nice careers as role players. Deron was the the best player on his teams for years.
 
#59      
Dang, didn't realize Illinois basketball had been around that long.
2020 - 600 years = 1420. Basketball was invented by the American Indian Tribes and then
discovered by Columbus. Actually it was only word of mouth at that time because no one made
it inland to the Illinois location for some time to see the Indians playing the game.
 
#60      
2020 - 600 years = 1420. Basketball was invented by the American Indian Tribes and then
discovered by Columbus. Actually it was only word of mouth at that time because no one made
it inland to the Illinois location for some time to see the Indians playing the game.
Yes, and when basketball made it to the Illinois location, legend has it that the Iocal Indians formed a team called the Fighting Cowboys and had an Indian dressed as a cowboy dance around at halftime while they played music and sang tribal loyalty songs.

Cancel culture didn't come to the area for several hundred more years.
 
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#61      
Yes, and when basketball made it to the Illinois location, legend has it that the Iocal Indians formed a team called the Fighting Cowboys and had an Indian dressed as a cowboy dance around at halftime while they played music and sang tribal loyalty songs.

Cancel culture didn't come to the area for several hundred more years.
We really didn't have cowboys in Illinois, let's say the dancing Indians dressed up as Davey Crockett and wore coonskin caps!
 
#62      
We really didn't have cowboys in Illinois, let's say the dancing Indians dressed up as Davey Crockett and wore coonskin caps!
Can't do that any more:
They tried to replace him with a bird mascot but that didn't work either. :unsure:
 
#63      
#1. 1988-1989 - their athleticism would have overwhelmed every other Illini team. Just like Baylor dominated the NCAA tourney this year.
#2. 2004-2005 - their 3 point shooting, and ball movement would have beat every other team besides 88-89.
#3. 2000-2001 - their physicality and size would have given the 2020-21 too many problems
#4. 2020-2021 - 4th best team of the last 40 years.
#5. 2001-2002 - this was a great team in their own right. Simply ran into a loaded Kansas team. The 02 vs 21 is close though
 
#64      
#1. 1988-1989 - their athleticism would have overwhelmed every other Illini team. Just like Baylor dominated the NCAA tourney this year.
#2. 2004-2005 - their 3 point shooting, and ball movement would have beat every other team besides 88-89.
#3. 2000-2001 - their physicality and size would have given the 2020-21 too many problems
#4. 2020-2021 - 4th best team of the last 40 years.
#5. 2001-2002 - this was a great team in their own right. Simply ran into a loaded Kansas team. The 02 vs 21 is close though

Not a bad list. I only go back to the Flyin Illini personally, but this seems to be about how I'd rate it, although I get why people go with the 2004-5 team for #1. Hard to argue with anyone taking the team that was undefeated until that last regular season game on a last second shot. And the motion offense that team ran was as good as anything I've seen from any team in the country since then.
 
#65      
Best college player and best NBA player are not necessarily the same IMO. Kofi’s domination at college will not translate to NBA but doesn’t diminish his “greatness” as a college player. Frank Williams was an unbelievable college player who didn’t sustain in NBA. Don Freeman is another example and there are many more but comparing the individuals is tough in a team game. We have had a lot of great players but not as many great teams.
 
#66      
Baja Ontario
Best college player and best NBA player are not necessarily the same IMO. Kofi’s domination at college will not translate to NBA but doesn’t diminish his “greatness” as a college player. Frank Williams was an unbelievable college player who didn’t sustain in NBA. Don Freeman is another example and there are many more but comparing the individuals is tough in a team game. We have had a lot of great players but not as many great teams.
Donnie Freeman was better than you remember.
 
#67      
Remember in early March when people on here were saying this year's team was better than '05. Now, in this thread, the argument for greatest team is strictly between '05 and '89. lol
 
#68      
Remember in early March when people on here were saying this year's team was better than '05. Now, in this thread, the argument for greatest team is strictly between '05 and '89. lol
Always felt like a stretch. ‘05 was incredible. This years team was great, but did struggle from time to time.

I don’t fault anyone for getting that fired up over this years team. It was very exciting. Now that the dust has settled, even with the way this year finished I’d put these guys as our 4th best team this millennium:

#1 ‘04/‘05
#2 ‘00/‘01
#3 ‘03/‘04 (remember how these team closed the year)
#4 ‘20/‘21

Again, as far as ‘89, I have them second in my lifetime. But, love the discussion.

Go Illini
 
#69      
Guys who played in the ABA before the 1976 merger tend to get overlooked. Skip Thoren, whose ABA career was shortened by injuries, is another example.

There were also guys like Dave Downey and Jim Dawson who could have played the ABA or NBA, but the pay was not that good back then, the travel was brutal, and they chose to pursue lucrative business oppurtunities.

Tal Brody was another one who had other plans.
 
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#70      
Orange Krush '13 -'14
Deron is a legend for Arizona game but I think Nick Anderson and Derek Harper both had longer, more successful NBA careeers.

Deron was a top 15 player in the NBA for multiple seasons, no Illini has reached the NBA heights he did.

Longevity? Sure. Deron's ankles really betrayed him and robbed him of the second half of his career, but when he was at the top of his game, there was a legit argument that he was the best PG in the entire league. One of the nastiest crossovers I've ever seen, and his combination of strength and quickness was hard to beat.

Honestly you could make the argument that Weber's motion offense didn't showcase his skills enough, which is crazy to think about considering he was still the 3rd overall pick!
 
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#72      
We really didn't have cowboys in Illinois, let's say the dancing Indians dressed up as Davey Crockett and wore coonskin caps!
9
Maybe not true cowboys, but Illinois did produce Wyatt Earp, Monmouth, and Hickok, Troy Grove (there is a small marker there if you want to exit off I-39). As we said in the 50s and early 60s: neat!
 
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