Tuesday, November 08, 2005


Some news and notes

1) Expect DJ White to be out 1-2 months, not the 2 weeks that was initially reported. Mike Davis is hoping to have White back for the Big Ten season. IU will lean heavily on newcomers Cem Dinc and Ben Allen to fortify the frontcourt in White's absence. Could lead to some early season consternation among the Hoosiers faithful.

2) Andy Katz reported in his Daily Word that David Palmer is expected to have a big impact at Seton Hall this season...will be interesting to watch how Palmer emerges over the next four years compared to, say, Charles Jackson.

3) An article from the Lawrence Journal-World states that KU may not start Julian Wright this season...if true, that's an unbelievable talent coming off the bench. And that pretty much means that Brandon Rush must be a complete stud.

4) Two articles have come out in the last two days about Bruce Weber's lack of recruiting success...one in the Chicago Sun-Times hinting at a comparison between Illinois and Purdue http://www.suntimes.com/output/campus/cst-spt-cruit07.html, one from the Rockford Register titled "Illinois Wins Big, Recruits Small" http://www.rrstar.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20051108/SPORTS14/111080031. Interesting that both come from local media rather than the national press that many conspiracy theorists want to believe have it out for Illinois.

5) Chester Frazier and Warren Carter are banged up, may not play much if at all against Quincy in Wednesday's exhibition. Carter's days of starting at power forward appear to be close to over. Also, will be interesting to see if Jamar Smith can continue his strong play and overtake Rich McBride for the starting shooting guard spot.

What was the deal with Palmer? Why did he decommit?
Palmer played lousy in the AAU season between his junior and senior seasons, then continued lethargic and disappointing play while at Oak Hill. Weber dropped him like a bad habit, withdrew the scholarship offer and gave it to Charles Jackson instead.

Palmer has always had good athletic ability and size but some people have questioned his head.
Since Wright is playing the '4' his competition is actually
walkon Christian Moody, Sasha Kaun, CJ Giles and Darnell Jackson. How long until Micah Downs leaves?

David Palmer is in a good spot if he can get early PT. Just like CJ, he wouldn't have gotten much at Illinois. I don't think, no matter what he does at Seton Hall anyone will lose any sleep at Illinois. Talk about a conspiracy theory.

Don't know about the local or national media, but I also don't know who ever said that it was national 'conspiracy' against Weber. Recruiting hasn't been what anyone had hoped, and I've never seen anyone say anything different.
IMO, the most important factor in recruiting is relationships.

Facilities, Prestige, NBA aspirations, SOP...etc, are all good, selling points and gets your foot in the door, but at the end of the day, the recruit will commit to the coach/staff that he feels most comfortable with.

Now some Coaches/Assistants are able to build relationships faster than others ie, Matta, Zook, Self etc... And some take longer than others.

Old Arenas, being a fan of a team, taking 2 years before recruiting kicks in...etc, are just excuses, IMO.

Every Program faces negative recruiting, Every Coach faces adversity, there are no perfect situations. It is how you rise above this and get results that seperate you from the others.

I wish BAM would have said that he is recruiting by building relationships, his staff has no strong ties (except McClain-only Peoria)either and are now building relationships also, that is why it is taking us longer. I would agree with that.

Unless we hire a new assistant(recruiting) with strong ties(Chicago, Texas, California...etc.), it will take time(now building relationships), before we see immediate improvement in recruiting.JMO :)
Agree with you Deux. That's why I like that Eric Gordon has stated that he has built a very good relationship with Weber.
I still think Weber's biggest obstacle to recruiting is our basketball program and the perception of our inability to keep a coach. I have to believe opposing coaches use this tact when recruiting against us and repeat it over and over. I think Weber could overcome the problems if he were the first coach to succeed Henson like Lon was and even the 2nd coach like Self, but to be the 4th coach in 10 years is not the ideal recruiting tool. tOSU, Stanford and Georgetown have had great recruiting success with new coaches, but, say what you will, those situations are not even close to what Weber has to overcome.

I'm not making excuses for Weber's recruiting problems, but we need to be realistic in our expectations and realize the problem is as much institutional as it is Weber and his staff. Weber needs time, sadly, I don't know if Illini fans have the patience.
Three things:

1) Brandon Rush is a complete and total stud and would be the most talented player almost instantly on any team in the country

2) Julian not starting? I believe you ryan, but wow - I have a hard time believing that one. The kid was a borderline 1st round NBA pick this year if he went pro.

3) Micah Downs leaving would be a blow for KU and a boon for any team that can get him. His dad is a whack job and total pain for any coach to deal with - but the kid can just flat out score. Imagine a little skinnier Adam Morrison (Gonzaga), but with better hops and more range on his jumper.
Wouldn't surprise me at all to see Downs leave Kansas after this year...with Washington or Gonzaga as the likely destinations.
Deux, you make some outstanding points and I agree with you 100%. You don't hear Thad Matta, John Thompson III or Bruce Pearl talking about taking 2-3 years to recruit effectively. Then again, I'm sure they're cheating, since that seems to be the favorite excuse for why Weber loses recruits.

All I know is that every other Illinois basketball coach in my lifetime has been able to recruit effectively. I have a hard time understanding why it would be any different for Weber. I do think his assistant coaches, with the exception of Webster, are not dynamic recruiters along the lines of the Billy G/Norm Roberts/Rob Judson staff that Self had in his early days at UI.
Ryan, I agree that the "he's cheating" excuse is getting old already but in all fairness it's usually reserved for KU.

Illini32, the question is when will the tide turn for this staff? You and I differ on our chances with Rose and there's a reason Gordon is holding off on committing to us. Could it be he wants to see what Duke does?
The issue with Wright is that he is a man without a position. Self is already on record as saying that right now, Wright is most likely going to play in the post. Problem being that he's only weighing in right now at about 215, and that ain't gonna get it done defensively or on the glass at the power forward position.

Of course, he can create some mismatches as well, but he doesn't understand the game well enough yet to make that happen consistently. And, of course, his shot is just simply broken.

Reports from KU are intimating that of their incoming freshman class, Wright will eventually have the most impact on the program, but right now is the farthest away from being ready to contribute.
Butts - I doubt Downs would go to Gonzaga (not a big enough stage for him) or UW (Romar hates his dad).

Ryan - Though I agree that Weber hasn't cracked the recruiting nut yet, I think it's really tough to compare what it takes to recruit today - to what it took to get it done even 5 years ago. Especially when it comes to the top 30 ranked kids.

It has changed so much, and so much big money is involved in where these kids end up that it is a totally different ball game.

My question is who is our shoe contract with - and why are they not spending any money to help send some top ranked kids to IL? It happens at all the other schools....
Efrem throws Adidas out there.
Illinois is a Nike school. Larry Butler runs a Nike program, the Illinois Warriors. He used to send top players to Illinois all the time before Weber got to C-U. He did send Jamar Smith to Illinois last year. MeanStreets Ferrari is a Nike program. Derrick Rose and Sherron Collins are both Nike kids, as was Julian Wright in high school.

For who want to blame all Illinois ills on Bill Self, Kansas is an Adidas school. You'd think that there would be a conflict between Butler and Kansas, and some of Self's recruits and Kansas, if all of this came down to shoe companies sending players to certain schools.
Efrem...if he doesn't play at Kansas, Downs is going to want to be guaranteed being the man....he can find that at Gonzaga...maybe not another elite program...he isn't going to want another Kansas situation.
Butts - he won't go to Gonzaga. I'm willing to guarantee it.

Hey - Adidas is KU's shoe company and they have the largest shoe deal of any University. Ferrari had little or no impact on SC's decision. I'm just tossing out ideas...
To finish that thought - I wonder what shoes Crane wears? Or if they're getting stuff from anyone?

If you don't think it happens - just ask 32.
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