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The Air to the Throne


DDR

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Furthering my theory that Illinois is a stronger basketball program than Valparaiso, Jeffrey Jordan, son of former White Sox farmhand Michael Jordan, has announced he will attend the University of Illinois, and attempt to walk-on to the basketball team. Here's the story: http://sports.espn.go.com/ncb/news/story?id=2851105

My initial reactions were mixed: One, it's good publicity for Illinois, if he makes the team (which I think he should). If he becomes any sort of player for them, you know ESPN would love to televise a few more Illini games. Two, as we all know, Michael was cut from his high school basketball team before blossoming. So, even though he's not thought of as a superior talent, Jeffrey could still become a good college player. And three, I thought it was kind of sad that this is what it's come to: it takes a walk-on player to pump some life into what was just three years ago a National Championship runner-up. Maybe a few Assembly Hall MJ sightings can help boost recruiting. Yeah, I'm grasping at straws.

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Furthering my theory that Illinois is a stronger basketball program than Valparaiso, Jeffrey Jordan, son of former White Sox farmhand Michael Jordan, has announced he will attend the University of Illinois, and attempt to walk-on to the basketball team. Here's the story: http://sports.espn.go.com/ncb/news/story?id=2851105

My initial reactions were mixed: One, it's good publicity for Illinois, if he makes the team (which I think he should). If he becomes any sort of player for them, you know ESPN would love to televise a few more Illini games. Two, as we all know, Michael was cut from his high school basketball team before blossoming. So, even though he's not thought of as a superior talent, Jeffrey could still become a good college player. And three, I thought it was kind of sad that this is what it's come to: it takes a walk-on player to pump some life into what was just three years ago a National Championship runner-up. Maybe a few Assembly Hall MJ sightings can help boost recruiting. Yeah, I'm grasping at straws.

Sounds like a potential circus that Bruce Weber might be better off not dealing with...

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Nah, this is HUGE for us.

(1) The kid isn't JUST MJ's son. He's not a super high-recruit, but he's a 3-star talent with a great work ethic. In 2-3 years he'll be a serious contributer.

(2) Though it COULD Be a circus, I think more likely any publicity that comes from having MJ's kid on the team has to be good. MJ will be regulated in some manner as for how much he can be around the team as an NBA owner, but he'll be around at games plenty I'm sure, and that should be good.

(3) MJ's other son, Marcus, class of 2009 I believe, IS a top-notch recruit. We may not land him, but now we've got an in with him.

And, actually, while it seems like the Illini have sure hit a rough stretch after just being in the NC game, things are looking up again.

Weber got spurned by Eric Gordon reneging on his long time and often re-enforced verbal at the last minute, but he's brought in a class of Demitri McAmey, Quinton Watkins, Rodney Alexander, Mike Tisdale, Bill Cole, and now walk-on Jeffrey Jordan that actually will probably end up being a top 20 or 25 recruiting class.

It's quite a recovery and Bruce is showing great improvement in his recruiting strengths.

We won't be a favorite to be in the Final Four next year, but we'll have a good shot at getting ourselves back in as a 15-25 ranked team, and even if we can't manage that next year, the years after are only looking up.

It's certainly weird to celebrate a walk-on recruit so much, but it really will make a big impact on this program, and it's also kind of a celebration of capping off a great recruiting recovery by our coaching staff.

The future's looking bright again for the Illini.

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Okay, I'm assuming you'll know this, STL. I can't for the life of me remember the name of the freshman Weber got a verbal from. I belive it was this past fall. So class of 2010. 2009 at the earliest. Anyway, it made some headlines in the Chicago papers. One, because the kid was young to be committing, but also because he's supposed to be a very talented kid. None of the recruiting sites have 2010 up in much detail, if at all.

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Okay, I'm assuming you'll know this, STL. I can't for the life of me remember the name of the freshman Weber got a verbal from. I belive it was this past fall. So class of 2010. 2009 at the earliest. Anyway, it made some headlines in the Chicago papers. One, because the kid was young to be committing, but also because he's supposed to be a very talented kid. None of the recruiting sites have 2010 up in much detail, if at all.

Jereme Richmond, class of 2010.

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Awesome. Thanks. You know much about him? All I've heard was tremendous potential, and such.

Edit: Actually, after doing some more research, this kid is an in-state phenom, at least, and quite possibly a top national recruit.

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On the South Side, it's split among several schools, most notably Illinois and Notre Dame. Notre Dame? Yeah, it's pretty close and the Irish people love to root for anything Irish. Matter of fact, I was an ND fan at a young age. At U of I, I would venture to say that the vast majority of students are from the Chicago-land area. After that, I'd guess the St. Louis metro area. My girlfriend is from what essentially amounts to a suburb of St. Louis, but it's on the Illinois side. But, that's beside the point. So, yeah, DePaul has some support. The other state schools have some. But, at least amongst the people I knew, Illinois and ND. And, like you asked, college sports are definitely secondary to the pro teams, but there are still plenty of fans, and in '05 when Illinois made its run to the Championship game, people were all about Illinois.

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Just out of curiosity, what school does Greater Chicago root for? Do they bother with collegiate sports? I would assume U of I, but I figured DePaul might be up there too.

I'm not from Chicago obviously, but the impression I've gotten is...

The media is always relatively harsh on UI athletics (at least basketball), and the fans (who aren't alums) tend to root UI but in a bandwagon fashion. Like, I think everyone was on board for the magical run in 2005, but since then I don't think the support has been as much.

But like I said, I've never spent much time up there, so I can't say for sure.

As for Richmond, yeah, he looks to be top notch. His HS doesn't play the best competition, but he does what he's supposed to, and he'll be playing better competition with his AAU team.

I've read that he'll probably be at least #2 in his class (not sure if that's at his position or not) by the the next rankings come out. And he's a born and bred Illini at heart. He's not likely to backout of his verbal.

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UI always had the rep of not being able to grab Chicago city talent, that was reserved for Depaul under the Ray Meyer days (i.e. Mark Aguirre). And the ones that Depaul couldn't get, left for bigger programs (i.e. Isiah at Bloomington).

I think Lon Kruger started a nice pipeline to Peoria (I think Peoria Manual, specifically, when it was dumping out tons of talent), Self ran with it, and I think Weber's in the spot now to make his own inroads in recruiting.

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UI always had the rep of not being able to grab Chicago city talent, that was reserved for Depaul under the Ray Meyer days (i.e. Mark Aguirre). And the ones that Depaul couldn't get, left for bigger programs (i.e. Isiah at Bloomington).

I think Lon Kruger started a nice pipeline to Peoria (I think Peoria Manual, specifically, when it was dumping out tons of talent), Self ran with it, and I think Weber's in the spot now to make his own inroads in recruiting.

Exactly. Self actually tapped Chicago really well, but since he left for another college and not the pro's, that pipeline just went with him to Kansas.

And unfortunatley, about half of the Chicago Public League coaches don't like Weber, likely because he won't play their games. (Not to say all those "games" are dirty and illegal--some are, some aren't, but Weber, at least to this point, wants nothing to do with those games either way.)

Bruce's recruiting is getting there, though. I just hope he keeps it up and keeps improving.

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I edited it out because I had it wrong, but just to correct,

Demitri McCamey's brother, DeAndre, is in the class of 2010, one year behind Jeff Jordan's brother, Marcus.

Also pretty well ranked in that class of 2010 is Crandall Head, brother of former Illini and current Houston Rocket Luther Head.

The Illini might not have enough scholarships available to get all those guys even if they could (although Marcus Jordan and Crandall Head could certainly find tuition money from elsewhere in the family), but there's going to be a lot of good talent with strong links to the Illini program coming up.

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UI always had the rep of not being able to grab Chicago city talent, that was reserved for Depaul under the Ray Meyer days (i.e. Mark Aguirre). And the ones that Depaul couldn't get, left for bigger programs (i.e. Isiah at Bloomington).

I think Lon Kruger started a nice pipeline to Peoria (I think Peoria Manual, specifically, when it was dumping out tons of talent), Self ran with it, and I think Weber's in the spot now to make his own inroads in recruiting.

Yeah, the Manual 3 (Sergio McClain, Marcus Griffin, and Frank Williams) did start a little trend of Peorians playing for Illinois. Not that that's a bad thing, since Peorians are usually pretty good at basketball.

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UI always had the rep of not being able to grab Chicago city talent, that was reserved for Depaul under the Ray Meyer days (i.e. Mark Aguirre). And the ones that Depaul couldn't get, left for bigger programs (i.e. Isiah at Bloomington).

I think Lon Kruger started a nice pipeline to Peoria (I think Peoria Manual, specifically, when it was dumping out tons of talent), Self ran with it, and I think Weber's in the spot now to make his own inroads in recruiting.

I recently heard Kendall Gill (an Illinois alum and Chicago-area native) say that on a radio apperance (and I'm paraphrasing here) that for whatever reason, Illinois (until recently) was hesistant to go after Chicagoland talent, much for the same reason you explained above. Depaul has pretty much been the city's top basketball program, with Northwestern and UIC not being much a factor in comparision. Depaul also had an indirect effective recruting tool in Superstation WGN, as they carried a lot of their weekend games through the early 1990s.

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UI always had the rep of not being able to grab Chicago city talent, that was reserved for Depaul under the Ray Meyer days (i.e. Mark Aguirre). And the ones that Depaul couldn't get, left for bigger programs (i.e. Isiah at Bloomington).

I think Lon Kruger started a nice pipeline to Peoria (I think Peoria Manual, specifically, when it was dumping out tons of talent), Self ran with it, and I think Weber's in the spot now to make his own inroads in recruiting.

Exactly. Self actually tapped Chicago really well, but since he left for another college and not the pro's, that pipeline just went with him to Kansas.

And unfortunatley, about half of the Chicago Public League coaches don't like Weber, likely because he won't play their games. (Not to say all those "games" are dirty and illegal--some are, some aren't, but Weber, at least to this point, wants nothing to do with those games either way.)

Bruce's recruiting is getting there, though. I just hope he keeps it up and keeps improving.

Oh, the games in the Chicago city school league are legendary. Same with Detroit, tons of games, making friends with the right high school and AAU contacts and coaches. Very sticky situation, you've got to be the consummate salesman.

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And unfortunatley, about half of the Chicago Public League coaches don't like Weber, likely because he won't play their games. (Not to say all those "games" are dirty and illegal--some are, some aren't, but Weber, at least to this point, wants nothing to do with those games either way.)

I honestly think the Chicago media blew that out of proportion, and they've had an axe to grind with Weber after losing the freshman season of Eric Gordon (never mind that Indiana will probably end up facing sanctions and be stripped of anything they earn faster than you can say Kelvin Sampson). I certainly don't think the most prestegious basketball coach in the state and half of the CPL coaches are at odds. Anyway, the leaglity or illegality of the things they do should fall under the purview of the IHSA. Which is incompetent. So nothing will get done. Oh well, maybe those coaches will learn...

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Exactly. Self actually tapped Chicago really well...

That's what she... never mind, wrong thread, wrong forum. :upside:

I'm not quite sure I understand the hype over Jordan fils as a marketing tool-to-be. First and foremost, for that to work, he has to be on the floor playing valuable minutes. And if his best offer short of walking on at Illinois was Valparaiso, this is not the recruiting coup people should be floored by. Illinois is a good enough program where they shouldn't be fighting Valpo for walk-ons. When your program is recruiting guys, look at the other schools in the pursuit; it can be very telling about a guy's abilities. I remember when UNC recruited Neil Fingleton, the 7-foot Englishman who went to high school in Worcester, Massachusetts. The only other school interested was Holy Cross! So if a guy isn't being recruited outside his hometown, what's a school with a pedigree doing going after him?

And the whole "if we sign this kid, we'll get his kinfolk" argument fails more than it works. UNC signed Shammond Williams as much for the fact that he's Kevin Garnett's cousin as his ability to shoot from long range. He was (and is) an erratic point guard who can be a streaky shooter. He held his own in the ACC, but I doubt he would've been looked at as favorably if he wasn't related to KG. Same goes for Vince Carter and his cousin, Tracy McGrady. Since KG and T-Mac both skipped college, the ancillary benefits of recruiting Shammond and Vince were lost.

All I am saying, is don't get your hopes up. He's a guy who should be playing for the Valpos of the world trying to walk on at Illinois. For now, that's all he is, his father and his name notwithstanding.

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On the South Side, it's split among several schools, most notably Illinois and Notre Dame. Notre Dame? Yeah, it's pretty close and the Irish people love to root for anything Irish. Matter of fact, I was an ND fan at a young age.

Just wanted to lend credance to the notion Chicagoans can be Notre Dame fans...

I grew up in the western suburbs (Downers Grove), and am a ND fan to this day (although really only for football). It helped a lot that my Grandfather loved to hate ND ("those damn rich Catholics") - but still watched every Saturday (I kind of became facinated with them), and later I had a friend who started at LB under Lou Holtz.

Moose

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