Posted April 11, 2012 on
The Fighting Illini basketball team lost more than a bunch of games and its coaching staff this season. It is also losing its potentially dominating center Meyers Leonard to the NBA draft. The big man met reporters Tuesday to discuss his situation and remind he will be a loyal Illini for life.
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Illinois Fighting Illini fans were partially responsible for Bruce Weber becoming the former Illinois head men’s basketball coach. The Fighting Illini had missed the NCAA tournament in three of the past five seasons and that was the breaking point.
While many, including Michigan State coach Tom Izzo, thought Weber was given a raw deal, Weber could have left on ugly terms. But...
Fighting Illini basketball coach John Groce has made some tough decisions in his short tenure at his new school. He has hired two assistants, both of whom worked with him at Ohio. He is close to naming his third assistant, but it will not be former Illini player and assistant Jerrance Howard. Groce has great respect for Howard, but he needed to go a different direction.
Freshman point guard Tracy Abrams was the surprise selection as Most Valuable Player at the 90th annual Kiwanis Basketball Banquet Tuesday evening. Former Fighting Illini coach Bruce Weber returned to campus to hand out awards for the players he coached. So the night was a tribute both to the accomplishments of the players and to the nine-year Weber tenure at Illinois.
The Fighting Illini basketball team was recruiting a top Iowa player for the past couple years. But he suffered a serious knee injury that slowed his development, and the Illini have now changed coaches. Still, if new Illini coach John Groce is interested, Peter Jok is willing to listen.
The Fighting Illini football team held a draft Tuesday of players and coaches to compete against one another in the annual Spring Game Saturday. Coach Tim Beckman shared information about the draft and described the format for the game, which will be fan friendly despite limits on play calls to keep opponents from getting a good scouting report on a new team.
The Fighting Illini football team held a special team scrimmage Monday. It allowed all six special teams plenty of practice opportunities against live opponents. Since special teams were a sore spot the past few years, it sounds like the Illini are making definite strides in that area.
There's one week to go before the Fighting Illini showcase their new football team for fans in the annual Spring Game in Memorial Stadium. Before Monday's practice, head coach Tim Beckman updated the progress of his team and talked about the draft that will be used to divide the players into Orange and White teams.
With the coming graduation of Graham Pocic and Hugh Thornton, the interior of the Fighting Illini offensive line will have to reload. With a strong emphasis on in-state recruiting, Illinois coaches have targeted an offensive guard out of Chicago in the 2013 class.