University of Illinois Fighting Illini Basketball 2009-10

Mike Davis Going After a Rebound versus Presbyterian

(AP Photo/Stephen Haas)
(AP Photo/Stephen Haas)

An Early Season Look at Fighting Illini Basketball

 We are three games into the 2009-10 NCAA Basketball season but the University of Illinois is looking very impressive.  The Fighting Illini squad has very talented mix of solid young freshman and some experienced upper classmen. 

The player who has stood out over the first three games is Freshman Brandon Paul. Paul has been the leading scorer in two of the first three games.  There has been a balanced attack for the Fighting Illini in each game. 

Freshman D.J. Richardson scored 15 points in the 94 to 48 victory over Presbyterian.  The contest against Presbyterian was the first game of the Las Vegas Invitational.  Mike Davis had 12 points and 9 rebounds, one shy of a double-double.

Jeff Jordan returned to action versus Presbyterian after sitting out the first two games for violating NCAA rules.   Jordan is the oldest son of NBA Hall of Famer, Michael Jordan. 

The veteran leadership of the team will be provided by Demetri McCamey, a three year starter.  Mike Davis is a solid scoring and rebounding forward.  Center Mike Tisdale has bulked up to become an imposing presence in the middle. 

The bench strength of the Fighting Illini includes the likes of Alex Legion, Dominique Keller, Bill Cole, and Richard Semrau.  Other players looking to contribute to the rotation include Freshman Tyler Griffey, Stan Simpson, and Joseph Bertrand, who is currently injured. 

Coach Bruce Weber is surrounded by a very talented team that will only get better in the next few years. 

The non-conference schedule for the Illini is pretty tough playing foes Gonzaga at the United Center, Boise State, Utah, Bradley or Oklahoma State in the Las Vegas Invitational, Georgia on a neutral site, at Clemson for the Big Ten/ACC Challenge, Vanderbilt and the annual border war versus Missouri in St. Louis.

The Big Ten will be a very strong as conference play begins in January.  Michigan State is being picked to win the conference.  Purdue, Ohio State, Michigan, and Illinois look to battle the Spartans in the standings.

Look for the young Illini to succeed and make it to the field of 65.   This is a very solid team that will only get better as the season goes on.  Fans start chanting, "ILL..................INI"!

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Comments 1 comment

Tony Malano 7 years ago

Hello Pat, great article on the Illini! Here is my take:

This team will have flashes of greatness followed by times of slumps. My most optimistic predicition would be a 3rd place finish in the Big Ten and a trip to the Elite 8. But more than likely you are looking at a 4-5 finish in the Big Ten followed by a Sweet Sixteen Knock out.

The 3 freshman will contribute greatly(thats right, Griffey is going to be a great addition). Here are the pro's and cons

Cons

Freshman are young and inexperienced

Lack of rebounding, for Tisdale and Davis are not great against bigger teams. Hopefully Semreau will be able to fill in for he is a big body

Lack of leadership-McCamy was in Weber's doghouse last game, has to emerge and always play hard on both ends

Tough Big Ten - The toughest the conference has been in a long time

Pros

Freshman are studs

McCamey/Davis are juniors

Lots of depth

Wild Cards

Legion - Will he show up this year

Toughness - Will the big guys rebound

Will the likes of Semraue, Cole make an impact

Whatever happens, the Illini should be real fun to watch this year and really fun to watch next year with additions such as Richmond, Meyers Leonard, and Head. Meyers Leonard is not as talked about(yet), but could end up being the best of the 3

ILL!!!!!

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