Open Practice (Oct. 9th)

#52      
Great to see some of the video. We are a veteran team and they look locked in and all business. Great to hear Hutcherson with PG minutes, gives us more depth. We have had deep teams in the past without the impact players at the top. This team has both, a ton of weapons and options.
I like the depth that we appear to have. Interesting to note that our two best teams in the last 40 years have not had much depth. The '89 and '05 teams, the starters played about as much as they could. The '89 team had two good guys off the bench in Liberty and Larry Smith. After that it was a huge drop off to P.J. Bowman and Earvin Small. And I'm not sure we ever played more than those nine guys (think A Kaufman redshirted that year).

And I think the 2005 team used even less depth. I believe all starters averaged over 25 min/game. There was a huge drop-off in min/game and points, rebounds, etc after the starting 5. We only played Ingram, McBride, N. Smith, and W. Carter when we had to give the starters a quick breather. Or when the refs took Augustine out of the game in the Final.
 
#53      
I like the depth that we appear to have. Interesting to note that our two best teams in the last 40 years have not had much depth. The '89 and '05 teams, the starters played about as much as they could. The '89 team had two good guys off the bench in Liberty and Larry Smith. After that it was a huge drop off to P.J. Bowman and Earvin Small. And I'm not sure we ever played more than those nine guys (think A Kaufman redshirted that year).

And I think the 2005 team used even less depth. I believe all starters averaged over 25 min/game. There was a huge drop-off in min/game and points, rebounds, etc after the starting 5. We only played Ingram, McBride, N. Smith, and W. Carter when we had to give the starters a quick breather. Or when the refs took Augustine out of the game in the Final.
Agree with most...but I remember Bowman and especially Small playing key roles in some important games.
 
#55      
Yes, teams sometimes play better after an AA leaves. I do not only think we are better but I know we will. We were not a fluent 3 point shooting team. Teams were not scared of out outside game. They will be this year. We have multiple players who will force opposing teams to spread the court. I would bet that if this years team played Loyola last year, we would smoke them.
Our three point fg% was pretty high nationally. Our attempts were very low.
 
#56      
Our three point fg% was pretty high nationally. Our attempts were very low.
True but teams were not scared of it. We did not have true three point shooters. This year we will. Teams knew the DW was a slow release shooter so they could sag off of him. Miller was not a consistent shooter and Trent was our best pure shooter. Loyola knew what to stop and they were not impressed by our shooting or lack of. We had players who could not create their own shot outside of Ayo. If we had a healthy Hutch, teams would have been mit would have ore concerned with our shooting and it would have forced them to stretch the floor. Kofi not being able to pass out of the post hurt. I bet his passing improves this year as we will have faster, better shooters on the floor.
 
#57      
True but teams were not scared of it. We did not have true three point shooters. This year we will. Teams knew the DW was a slow release shooter so they could sag off of him. Miller was not a consistent shooter and Trent was our best pure shooter. Loyola knew what to stop and they were not impressed by our shooting or lack of. We had players who could not create their own shot outside of Ayo. If we had a healthy Hutch, teams would have been mit would have ore concerned with our shooting and it would have forced them to stretch the floor. Kofi not being able to pass out of the post hurt. I bet his passing improves this year as we will have faster, better shooters on the floor.
Agreed on Kofi's passing....will be interesting to see how our offense will progress.....establish Kofi then start passing out......also have a feeling that we'll have some unexpected surprises. It's going to be an interesting season....but expecting success!
 
#58      
Pics from this morning.
 

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#60      
The first hour and a half was a regular practice. Lots of drills. At one point, the team split into bigs and guards. Grandison and Williams went with the bigs. Goode and Melendez went with the guards. About half way through the drill, Grandison, Williams and Hawkins joined the guards.

During the drills part, the team shot the ball exceptionally well, especially Plummer. Can't miss type shooting. Same with Hutcherson, Goode, Podziemski and Frazier. Frazier is shooting the ball as well as I have ever seen him. There were some Wisconsin fans sitting near me, and one of them commented about what a great shooting team this is.

Underwood was not happy with the defensive intensity. He even commented to the crowd after practice that he hoped the team would play some defense the next time they saw them. At one point, he jumped on Damonte for lack of effort, and Williams responded positively. Probably used Damonte as an example knowing that he could take the criticism.

When they finally scrimmaged, it was four 4 minute quarters although time was added to set up plays. The team was mix and matched. No set lineups.

Kofi- an average practice for him. Dunked a lot. Did not take a shot other than a dunk or layup. Dominate. But I've seen him a lot better. He did make several nice passes out of the post. He was bothered at the rim a few times by Payne and didn't finish. Not concerned, though. He is an All American.

Curbelo- He is probably the best player on the team or at least tied with Kofi. He shot the ball well from outside in both drills and scrimmage although he did force a few threes. He is uncanny getting into the lane. He was deadly with that little ten foot fadeaway in the lane. He did not turn the ball over that I remember. If he doesn't turn it over, his efficiency is off the charts. The Wisconsin fans even high fived each other when Curbello did a spin move in the lane and somehow ended up with a layup.

Hutcherson- not his best practice. I've seen him much better. Very good in the drills. Shot the heck out of it. He played a lot of point in the scrimmage. Coach Frazier was working with him before practice on point skills. He turned it over a couple of times and seemed to be overthinking it. If there was a game tomorrow, Frazier would be the backup point. Hutcherson needs more time there to improve but developing a third point guard is a good move even if Hutcherson is not ready to do it against BT teams. On the wing, he played much better. Made a nice three and brought the crowd to life with a drive to the rim. He was a foot above the rim as he went for the dunk, but he was hammered by Payne and the dunk missed. Made both free throws. He is healthy, though, and will be a factor even if it takes some time.

Frazier- played very well today. Confident. Played D, handled the ball and hit shots. He did force a couple of shots and Underwood let him know they were bad shots. Best I've seen him in awhile.

Grandison- had a really good practice. Hit open shots and even finished at the time a couple of times. He plays D and passes well. He is a glue guy that the opponents can't leave open. Starter if the game was tomorrow.

Plummer- never seemed to miss a shot in drills. Such a quick release. In the scrimmage, he hit his first shot but did not shoot the ball well afterwards. Played defense and did not turn it over. Not worried about him. Great shooter who will carry the team in some games.

Payne- I expected a bit more offensively. Good backup center for Kofi. Altered shots and made Kofi work. did not take any outside shots. All at the rim. Will be a matchup problem for some teams. Great on the screen and roll. I don't see him at the four often.

Hawkins- has definitely gotten bigger but is still pretty thin. He is playing with a lot of confidence. Looks for teammates and goes to the boards. Unselfish. He missed all threes that he took today. If he hits a few of those, he will be a matchup nightmare.

Williams- after a slow start, he played well. Was off on his three ball, but he had a couple of nice layups in traffic that I haven't seen from him before. Likely starter if game was tomorrow.

Goode- wow. Was the surprise of the scrimmage. Shot the carp out of the ball. Smooth stroke and he did not pass up any open looks. He even went by a defender running at him and hit a midrange shot. Also had a putback in the lane. Could have been the leading scorer in the scrimmage. If he plays like this every day, he will get minutes.

Podziemski- made everything in drills. Really good stroke. In the scrimmage, he had trouble getting open looks. He did not back down on defense as he checked Frazier and Hutcherson at times. A year away.

Melendez- if Goode hadn't been so good, I might be talking more about RJ. Very athletic. Hit a few jumpers and had a thundrous alley oop dunk. He needs to tighten his handles but he has a bright future.

BBV- Will get a few minutes here and there as the third center. He is healthy. Has trouble finishing at the rim against Kofi and Payne. But he fights defensively and rebounds.

Lieb- pretty darn skilled. Had a couple of dunks. Last fall, he would have been knocked down with lack of strength. Still really skinny but noticeably stronger. I don't know if he will ever see the court consistently at Illinois, but he has some talent. At least a year away.

Here are my picks for best practice today. Not my starting lineup, but who had the best practice today.

1. Curbelo
2 Frazier
3 Goode
4. Kofi
5. Grandison

I almost put Goode ahead of Frazier, but I thought I might be overreacting to the "new toy" that was deadly from three today.
 
#61      
The first hour and a half was a regular practice. Lots of drills. At one point, the team split into bigs and guards. Grandison and Williams went with the bigs. Goode and Melendez went with the guards. About half way through the drill, Grandison, Williams and Hawkins joined the guards.

During the drills part, the team shot the ball exceptionally well, especially Plummer. Can't miss type shooting. Same with Hutcherson, Goode, Podziemski and Frazier. Frazier is shooting the ball as well as I have ever seen him. There were some Wisconsin fans sitting near me, and one of them commented about what a great shooting team this is.

Underwood was not happy with the defensive intensity. He even commented to the crowd after practice that he hoped the team would play some defense the next time they saw them. At one point, he jumped on Damonte for lack of effort, and Williams responded positively. Probably used Damonte as an example knowing that he could take the criticism.

When they finally scrimmaged, it was four 4 minute quarters although time was added to set up plays. The team was mix and matched. No set lineups.

Kofi- an average practice for him. Dunked a lot. Did not take a shot other than a dunk or layup. Dominate. But I've seen him a lot better. He did make several nice passes out of the post. He was bothered at the rim a few times by Payne and didn't finish. Not concerned, though. He is an All American.

Curbelo- He is probably the best player on the team or at least tied with Kofi. He shot the ball well from outside in both drills and scrimmage although he did force a few threes. He is uncanny getting into the lane. He was deadly with that little ten foot fadeaway in the lane. He did not turn the ball over that I remember. If he doesn't turn it over, his efficiency is off the charts. The Wisconsin fans even high fived each other when Curbello did a spin move in the lane and somehow ended up with a layup.

Hutcherson- not his best practice. I've seen him much better. Very good in the drills. Shot the heck out of it. He played a lot of point in the scrimmage. Coach Frazier was working with him before practice on point skills. He turned it over a couple of times and seemed to be overthinking it. If there was a game tomorrow, Frazier would be the backup point. Hutcherson needs more time there to improve but developing a third point guard is a good move even if Hutcherson is not ready to do it against BT teams. On the wing, he played much better. Made a nice three and brought the crowd to life with a drive to the rim. He was a foot above the rim as he went for the dunk, but he was hammered by Payne and the dunk missed. Made both free throws. He is healthy, though, and will be a factor even if it takes some time.

Frazier- played very well today. Confident. Played D, handled the ball and hit shots. He did force a couple of shots and Underwood let him know they were bad shots. Best I've seen him in awhile.

Grandison- had a really good practice. Hit open shots and even finished at the time a couple of times. He plays D and passes well. He is a glue guy that the opponents can't leave open. Starter if the game was tomorrow.

Plummer- never seemed to miss a shot in drills. Such a quick release. In the scrimmage, he hit his first shot but did not shoot the ball well afterwards. Played defense and did not turn it over. Not worried about him. Great shooter who will carry the team in some games.

Payne- I expected a bit more offensively. Good backup center for Kofi. Altered shots and made Kofi work. did not take any outside shots. All at the rim. Will be a matchup problem for some teams. Great on the screen and roll. I don't see him at the four often.

Hawkins- has definitely gotten bigger but is still pretty thin. He is playing with a lot of confidence. Looks for teammates and goes to the boards. Unselfish. He missed all threes that he took today. If he hits a few of those, he will be a matchup nightmare.

Williams- after a slow start, he played well. Was off on his three ball, but he had a couple of nice layups in traffic that I haven't seen from him before. Likely starter if game was tomorrow.

Goode- wow. Was the surprise of the scrimmage. Shot the carp out of the ball. Smooth stroke and he did not pass up any open looks. He even went by a defender running at him and hit a midrange shot. Also had a putback in the lane. Could have been the leading scorer in the scrimmage. If he plays like this every day, he will get minutes.

Podziemski- made everything in drills. Really good stroke. In the scrimmage, he had trouble getting open looks. He did not back down on defense as he checked Frazier and Hutcherson at times. A year away.

Melendez- if Goode hadn't been so good, I might be talking more about RJ. Very athletic. Hit a few jumpers and had a thundrous alley oop dunk. He needs to tighten his handles but he has a bright future.

BBV- Will get a few minutes here and there as the third center. He is healthy. Has trouble finishing at the rim against Kofi and Payne. But he fights defensively and rebounds.

Lieb- pretty darn skilled. Had a couple of dunks. Last fall, he would have been knocked down with lack of strength. Still really skinny but noticeably stronger. I don't know if he will ever see the court consistently at Illinois, but he has some talent. At least a year away.

Here are my picks for best practice today. Not my starting lineup, but who had the best practice today.

1. Curbelo
2 Frazier
3 Goode
4. Kofi
5. Grandison

I almost put Goode ahead of Frazier, but I thought I might be overreacting to the "new toy" that was deadly from three today.
Appreciate it!
 
#62      
Chicago Burbs
The first hour and a half was a regular practice. Lots of drills. At one point, the team split into bigs and guards. Grandison and Williams went with the bigs. Goode and Melendez went with the guards. About half way through the drill, Grandison, Williams and Hawkins joined the guards.

During the drills part, the team shot the ball exceptionally well, especially Plummer. Can't miss type shooting. Same with Hutcherson, Goode, Podziemski and Frazier. Frazier is shooting the ball as well as I have ever seen him. There were some Wisconsin fans sitting near me, and one of them commented about what a great shooting team this is.

Underwood was not happy with the defensive intensity. He even commented to the crowd after practice that he hoped the team would play some defense the next time they saw them. At one point, he jumped on Damonte for lack of effort, and Williams responded positively. Probably used Damonte as an example knowing that he could take the criticism.

When they finally scrimmaged, it was four 4 minute quarters although time was added to set up plays. The team was mix and matched. No set lineups.

Kofi- an average practice for him. Dunked a lot. Did not take a shot other than a dunk or layup. Dominate. But I've seen him a lot better. He did make several nice passes out of the post. He was bothered at the rim a few times by Payne and didn't finish. Not concerned, though. He is an All American.

Curbelo- He is probably the best player on the team or at least tied with Kofi. He shot the ball well from outside in both drills and scrimmage although he did force a few threes. He is uncanny getting into the lane. He was deadly with that little ten foot fadeaway in the lane. He did not turn the ball over that I remember. If he doesn't turn it over, his efficiency is off the charts. The Wisconsin fans even high fived each other when Curbello did a spin move in the lane and somehow ended up with a layup.

Hutcherson- not his best practice. I've seen him much better. Very good in the drills. Shot the heck out of it. He played a lot of point in the scrimmage. Coach Frazier was working with him before practice on point skills. He turned it over a couple of times and seemed to be overthinking it. If there was a game tomorrow, Frazier would be the backup point. Hutcherson needs more time there to improve but developing a third point guard is a good move even if Hutcherson is not ready to do it against BT teams. On the wing, he played much better. Made a nice three and brought the crowd to life with a drive to the rim. He was a foot above the rim as he went for the dunk, but he was hammered by Payne and the dunk missed. Made both free throws. He is healthy, though, and will be a factor even if it takes some time.

Frazier- played very well today. Confident. Played D, handled the ball and hit shots. He did force a couple of shots and Underwood let him know they were bad shots. Best I've seen him in awhile.

Grandison- had a really good practice. Hit open shots and even finished at the time a couple of times. He plays D and passes well. He is a glue guy that the opponents can't leave open. Starter if the game was tomorrow.

Plummer- never seemed to miss a shot in drills. Such a quick release. In the scrimmage, he hit his first shot but did not shoot the ball well afterwards. Played defense and did not turn it over. Not worried about him. Great shooter who will carry the team in some games.

Payne- I expected a bit more offensively. Good backup center for Kofi. Altered shots and made Kofi work. did not take any outside shots. All at the rim. Will be a matchup problem for some teams. Great on the screen and roll. I don't see him at the four often.

Hawkins- has definitely gotten bigger but is still pretty thin. He is playing with a lot of confidence. Looks for teammates and goes to the boards. Unselfish. He missed all threes that he took today. If he hits a few of those, he will be a matchup nightmare.

Williams- after a slow start, he played well. Was off on his three ball, but he had a couple of nice layups in traffic that I haven't seen from him before. Likely starter if game was tomorrow.

Goode- wow. Was the surprise of the scrimmage. Shot the carp out of the ball. Smooth stroke and he did not pass up any open looks. He even went by a defender running at him and hit a midrange shot. Also had a putback in the lane. Could have been the leading scorer in the scrimmage. If he plays like this every day, he will get minutes.

Podziemski- made everything in drills. Really good stroke. In the scrimmage, he had trouble getting open looks. He did not back down on defense as he checked Frazier and Hutcherson at times. A year away.

Melendez- if Goode hadn't been so good, I might be talking more about RJ. Very athletic. Hit a few jumpers and had a thundrous alley oop dunk. He needs to tighten his handles but he has a bright future.

BBV- Will get a few minutes here and there as the third center. He is healthy. Has trouble finishing at the rim against Kofi and Payne. But he fights defensively and rebounds.

Lieb- pretty darn skilled. Had a couple of dunks. Last fall, he would have been knocked down with lack of strength. Still really skinny but noticeably stronger. I don't know if he will ever see the court consistently at Illinois, but he has some talent. At least a year away.

Here are my picks for best practice today. Not my starting lineup, but who had the best practice today.

1. Curbelo
2 Frazier
3 Goode
4. Kofi
5. Grandison

I almost put Goode ahead of Frazier, but I thought I might be overreacting to the "new toy" that was deadly from three today.
Thanks combes. Appreciate it as always.

Kofi is getting all of the preseason hype (and understandably so), but Curbelo deserves to be talked about more. We all know how talented he is, but I think we still underestimate how special he is going to be. I (and the coaches as well) would not be the least bit surprised if he competes for B1G player of the year.
 
#63      
The first hour and a half was a regular practice. Lots of drills. At one point, the team split into bigs and guards. Grandison and Williams went with the bigs. Goode and Melendez went with the guards. About half way through the drill, Grandison, Williams and Hawkins joined the guards.

During the drills part, the team shot the ball exceptionally well, especially Plummer. Can't miss type shooting. Same with Hutcherson, Goode, Podziemski and Frazier. Frazier is shooting the ball as well as I have ever seen him. There were some Wisconsin fans sitting near me, and one of them commented about what a great shooting team this is.

Underwood was not happy with the defensive intensity. He even commented to the crowd after practice that he hoped the team would play some defense the next time they saw them. At one point, he jumped on Damonte for lack of effort, and Williams responded positively. Probably used Damonte as an example knowing that he could take the criticism.

When they finally scrimmaged, it was four 4 minute quarters although time was added to set up plays. The team was mix and matched. No set lineups.

Kofi- an average practice for him. Dunked a lot. Did not take a shot other than a dunk or layup. Dominate. But I've seen him a lot better. He did make several nice passes out of the post. He was bothered at the rim a few times by Payne and didn't finish. Not concerned, though. He is an All American.

Curbelo- He is probably the best player on the team or at least tied with Kofi. He shot the ball well from outside in both drills and scrimmage although he did force a few threes. He is uncanny getting into the lane. He was deadly with that little ten foot fadeaway in the lane. He did not turn the ball over that I remember. If he doesn't turn it over, his efficiency is off the charts. The Wisconsin fans even high fived each other when Curbello did a spin move in the lane and somehow ended up with a layup.

Hutcherson- not his best practice. I've seen him much better. Very good in the drills. Shot the heck out of it. He played a lot of point in the scrimmage. Coach Frazier was working with him before practice on point skills. He turned it over a couple of times and seemed to be overthinking it. If there was a game tomorrow, Frazier would be the backup point. Hutcherson needs more time there to improve but developing a third point guard is a good move even if Hutcherson is not ready to do it against BT teams. On the wing, he played much better. Made a nice three and brought the crowd to life with a drive to the rim. He was a foot above the rim as he went for the dunk, but he was hammered by Payne and the dunk missed. Made both free throws. He is healthy, though, and will be a factor even if it takes some time.

Frazier- played very well today. Confident. Played D, handled the ball and hit shots. He did force a couple of shots and Underwood let him know they were bad shots. Best I've seen him in awhile.

Grandison- had a really good practice. Hit open shots and even finished at the time a couple of times. He plays D and passes well. He is a glue guy that the opponents can't leave open. Starter if the game was tomorrow.

Plummer- never seemed to miss a shot in drills. Such a quick release. In the scrimmage, he hit his first shot but did not shoot the ball well afterwards. Played defense and did not turn it over. Not worried about him. Great shooter who will carry the team in some games.

Payne- I expected a bit more offensively. Good backup center for Kofi. Altered shots and made Kofi work. did not take any outside shots. All at the rim. Will be a matchup problem for some teams. Great on the screen and roll. I don't see him at the four often.

Hawkins- has definitely gotten bigger but is still pretty thin. He is playing with a lot of confidence. Looks for teammates and goes to the boards. Unselfish. He missed all threes that he took today. If he hits a few of those, he will be a matchup nightmare.

Williams- after a slow start, he played well. Was off on his three ball, but he had a couple of nice layups in traffic that I haven't seen from him before. Likely starter if game was tomorrow.

Goode- wow. Was the surprise of the scrimmage. Shot the carp out of the ball. Smooth stroke and he did not pass up any open looks. He even went by a defender running at him and hit a midrange shot. Also had a putback in the lane. Could have been the leading scorer in the scrimmage. If he plays like this every day, he will get minutes.

Podziemski- made everything in drills. Really good stroke. In the scrimmage, he had trouble getting open looks. He did not back down on defense as he checked Frazier and Hutcherson at times. A year away.

Melendez- if Goode hadn't been so good, I might be talking more about RJ. Very athletic. Hit a few jumpers and had a thundrous alley oop dunk. He needs to tighten his handles but he has a bright future.

BBV- Will get a few minutes here and there as the third center. He is healthy. Has trouble finishing at the rim against Kofi and Payne. But he fights defensively and rebounds.

Lieb- pretty darn skilled. Had a couple of dunks. Last fall, he would have been knocked down with lack of strength. Still really skinny but noticeably stronger. I don't know if he will ever see the court consistently at Illinois, but he has some talent. At least a year away.

Here are my picks for best practice today. Not my starting lineup, but who had the best practice today.

1. Curbelo
2 Frazier
3 Goode
4. Kofi
5. Grandison

I almost put Goode ahead of Frazier, but I thought I might be overreacting to the "new toy" that was deadly from three today.
Thanks for the great writeup. I'm not worried about Hutch looking off trying to play PG. He's our "if the SHTF" point guard, behind Andre and Frazier. I just want him to be fully healthy so we can see what he can do at the 3 spot.
 
#64      
The open practice was great. A few of my observations. (my 2 cents might only be worth a penny).

This team looks really good. This team has some depth, great experience, and really good team chemistry. I spent a lot of time with the 04-05 team and they had incredible camaraderie and chemistry. This team seems to have that as well. Loved seeing them interact with each other. They laughed, smiled, joked and gave each other funny looks, while at the same time they encouraged, challenged, pushed each other. They have a competitive edge and a good intensity. The depth is awesome because they are going against great talent every day. No doubt some on our bench would be starting on many other D-1 teams. Coach got on them some to push themselves even harder and they responded each time. I can tell Underwood really likes this team, but I believe he's determined to push them farther than they think they can go. The shooting today was great. They hit a high percentage in all of their drills.

Kofi looked great. Omar gives him someone to practice against. It was clear Kofi owns him 1 on 1, but I think Omar will give us some good minutes whenever Kofi needs a rest and we will still have a big presence in the paint.

Curbelo is absolutely awesome. His energy and acumen equal Dee Brown. He was amazing today in all that he did, including his outside shooting.

Trent looked like Trent. Very confident. Didn't hit all of his shots. I hope he doesn't get cocky at all and channels his energy on being even better than he has been. He's great, just not Ayo great.

Demonte looked like a stud. Muscles budging like a linebacker. Incredible physique. He is a presence too. Not the most talented on the team, but definitely the elder statesman. His leadership and toughness is huge for this team. Highly respected by all.

Luke Goode looked Goode. :) hit some big shots in the scrimmage. Hope he will be that guy this year that can play an important role as a deep ball threat. Not sure how strong he is though.

Plummer. He was impressive. Great resume, but seemed like he was trying to hard to be cool out there. Hope he is is more humble than I think. Great talent tho.

I really liked what I saw out of RJ Melendez. He seemed hungry and humble. Hard worker and definitely has some talent. Looks like he has some toughness that will help him and us in the Big Ten. reminds me of those no-name Wisconsin, Iowa, Purdue players that just play tough.

Can't say much about Ben Bos-Verdunk as I cant remember that much from today. He shot well, and he seemed to blend right in. I think he will be a great player for us.

Loved what I saw out of Podziemski. He's gonna be good. Probably won't get much pt this year. Hope he sticks around as he has a high ceiling.

Hutcherson looks like a real talent. He might be as good as well all have hoped. NBA sized guard. Not great today, but hope he surprises.

Coleman Hawkins seems ready to blossom. He's a little goofy off the court, but looks good once he steps inside the lines. I sense a little hesitancy from him and think the only thing holding him back is confidence. Plays a little soft in my opinion. If he can get past that he could be a great player.

Loved what I saw from the coaching staff. Chester looked like he could take any one of them on. He is definitely an asset to this staff. Alexander ran things and I was impressed. He kept the energy and tempo up and commanded everyone's attention. Anderson seems to play the good cop role slapping backs and giving high fives. He was also working the crowd along the sideline, interacting with the recruits and coaches sitting courtside. Underwood guarded his tongue (didn't cuss much), stepped in from time to time to remind everyone he was there, and did well working the crowd.

Other than Illinois not offering any parking options for attendees, the open practice was awesome. Can't wait to see this team in action. It's going to be a special season. Go Illini!
 
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#65      
True but teams were not scared of it. We did not have true three point shooters. This year we will. Teams knew the DW was a slow release shooter so they could sag off of him. Miller was not a consistent shooter and Trent was our best pure shooter. Loyola knew what to stop and they were not impressed by our shooting or lack of. We had players who could not create their own shot outside of Ayo. If we had a healthy Hutch, teams would have been mit would have ore concerned with our shooting and it would have forced them to stretch the floor. Kofi not being able to pass out of the post hurt. I bet his passing improves this year as we will have faster, better shooters on the floor.
I do recall BU, either during the B1G Tournament or the NCAAs, telling a reporter at halftime, that he was upset with us taking too many outside shots. I tend to think that guys were discouraged from them because he wanted the ball going inside to Kofi. Not saying that it was the wrong strategy. Just concerned that he will do the same thing this year.
 
#66      
Doesn’t seem to have any negatives from attendees. Closest was probably about Omar or Kofi not shooting from outside. Did either shoot any free throws in drills? Has to be on our biggest weakness list late in the game.
 
#67      
Doesn’t seem to have any negatives from attendees. Closest was probably about Omar or Kofi not shooting from outside. Did either shoot any free throws in drills? Has to be on our biggest weakness list late in the game.
I said that Plummer struggled with his shot in scrimmage, Hutcherson did not have a good practice, BBV struggled to score against size, Melendez needs to tighten his handles, Williams was not playing hard early and struggled with his 3 ball, the coach said they needed to play better defense, Hawkins missed all of his threes, etc.

Definitely room for improvement.

Kofi and Payne are the questionable free throw shooters. The rest of the rotation are good to really good.
 
#70      
I do recall BU, either during the B1G Tournament or the NCAAs, telling a reporter at halftime, that he was upset with us taking too many outside shots. I tend to think that guys were discouraged from them because he wanted the ball going inside to Kofi. Not saying that it was the wrong strategy. Just concerned that he will do the same thing this year.

Not sure which game you're referring to, but overall, we had guys who were good at driving and getting fouls, and of course we have Kofi, who you mention. Need to see who can shoot the three this year, but Plummer, Trent, DaMonte, should all be weapons. If Goode gets minutes, or AC can pull teams out more to guard him, even better.
 
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#71      
Not sure which game you're referring to, but overall, we had guys who were good at driving and getting fouls, and of course we have Kofi, who you mention. Need to see who can shoot the three this year, but Plummer, Trent, DaMonte, should all be weapons. If Goode gets minutes, or AC can pull teams out more to guard him, even better.
Grandison too
 
#74      
Paducah, Ky

Unlike some fans who were only able to watch Illinois on TV last season, Tyler Taylor of Monticello said he went to Indianapolis and saw the Illini down Ohio State in person in the Big Ten tournament. Illinois’ memorable season came to a close one week later with a second-round loss to Loyola in the NCAA Tournament.
At Big Ten Media Days in Indianapolis last week, Curbelo said he thinks this season’s team can be better than last season’s. Even without consensus first team all-American point guard Ayo Dosunmu, who now plays for the NBA’s Chicago Bulls, Taylor fully agrees after getting a glimpse of the new-look Illini.
The team will begin its season on Nov. 9, at home against Jackson State.

“I’m on that train, dude. I think we have the potential to go deep in the NCAA Tournament,” Taylor said. “I’m ready to see what our future holds, but I think we’re going deep this year, man, and I think a lot of people believe it.”

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nice read
 
#75      
I do recall BU, either during the B1G Tournament or the NCAAs, telling a reporter at halftime, that he was upset with us taking too many outside shots. I tend to think that guys were discouraged from them because he wanted the ball going inside to Kofi. Not saying that it was the wrong strategy. Just concerned that he will do the same thing this year.

Grandison too

Good catch --he deserves a mention. Great FT shooter as well.