This special report comes courtesy of my brother, who attended last Sunday’s Illini Exhibition opener against Florida Southern. The Illini won 82-61 – the first game in what will be a very interesting season. By the way, you can catch this Sunday’s game on the Big10 Network website (supposedly); however, good luck watching the football game. And now, without further preamble, the report:
We started very slow probably due to Weber trying to appease all three seniors and starting Brock at the PF spot. That said once we put in a group of guys who were used to playing the positions they were in we started rolling pretty good. Keep in mind that Purdue beat this team the night before 96-64 or some such thing. They are also a Div. II school I believe.
We started Tisdale, Brock, Meacham, Frazier and McCamey. Not a very athletic line up and not as I said above a group used to playing the positions they were in. Tisdale got his first glimpse of what a real big guy is like as Florida Southern’s center was 7’0″ 285 legit. Tossed Tisdales first two attempts and was having his way on the offensive end. Then Semrau and Davis came in and McCamey and Tisdale sat down. Brock moved to the 3 and we rolled from there. Semrau looks very good early on and handled FSU’s center much better than Tisdale did.
McCamey: I’m hoping he isn’t suffering through a Richard Keene sophomore slump that lasts until half way through his Junior year. Granted it was our first game, but D-Mac looked terrible. He shot too much and didn’t handle the ball or run the show like he supposed to. He made up for those things by sitting on the bench not supporting his teammates and pouting like a 6 year old! He also got beat off the dribble like a rented mule! Worst game I’ve seen out of him since he got here last year. All in all I give him an F- (I’d go lower if there was such a thing).
Meacham: Looked good as always against inferior talent. If you remember the last couple years he set the world on fire in our exhibition games and then pretty much disappeared when the talent level rises. That said he looked confident and was probably our best overall player last night. A.
Frazier: Chet was Chet. He ran the show better than he ever has and hit his FT’s, going 3-4 I believe. He’s still our best defender and was helping less than in the past so he was locking down their best guy other than their center. We got up and down the floor better with him at the PG position as well. I’ll give Chet a B. Keep in mind unless he scores 10 points in a game a B for Chet will be as high a grade as he’ll get from me all year due to his inadequacies on offense and the liability that imposes on the rest of the team.
Jordan: Jeff looked very good last night. He played the second most minutes trailing Meacham by 1 minute. He hit the open jumper and just missed a three (which is better than last year when he’d just hit the backboard most of the time). He also ran the floor and the show better than McCamey. Probably our second best defender on the ball and penetrated whenever he wanted to. His leap from last year to now is astounding. Great B-ball IQ as you’d expect given his pedigree. B+.
Brock: Calvin was probably runner up for MVP for this game. He played well as eveidenced by his 10 points and 8 Rebounds. Played good defense hit an open 15 footer as usual and hit a three from the corner. He got several (3 or so ) offensive rebounds as well and crashed very well. A-.
Keller: Domonique played pretty well. You could tell he’s used to being the man and thought he had to make something fantastic happen every time he touched the ball. His offensive game reminds me of Scott’s only better. He throws up some odd looking stuff but it goes in. Really nice up and under and he’s very strong. He’ll get more and more PT as he settles into his role. C+
Davis: Mike did well, but still would disappear at times. When he and Semrau came in, in the first half he lit it up for about 4 minutes then disappeared. I’m not sure if he just gets worn out or if its something else. He looks much more comfortable in the Motion now so that should help. B-
Semrau: Richard played very hard. He gets up and down the floor like Auggie used to and had a run out like Auggie used to that the 7 footer from FSU goal tended, but he should be good for one or two of those a game especially against slower centers. He used his strength much better than he did in the O&B game and didn’t let the other guys push him around a bit. Also had three offensive boards. B.
Tisdale: Probably not real used to playing against someone as tall as he is. That said he’ll get trial by fire this year as he clearly has to start at Center. He got his first two shots blocked, but then figured out that he could hit a pull up over the other guy and faced him up very well. In addition, to his Credit he was slapped with a couple fouls that Scott would say were Shite! Overall I’ll give him a C.
Simpson: Stan made the most of his time. He looked a little lost on offense, but knew what to do with it when he got the ball. Overall, I’m hoping he redshirts this year, but Weber being the Sally he is will leave it up to Stan and he probably won’t as he’s the only Freshman on the team. C+.
Jackson: CJ played all of 4 minutes and smiled the whole time. I don’t know why I like CJ, because he’s not very good. He’s fun to watch cause he smashes people, most of the time without even realizing it. That and the fact that I have a higher verticle than CJ!!! He had 4 points in 4 minutes though. B.
Team: Overall we shot a respectable 43% from three not too bad. I didn’t hear what we were from the line but it was significantly better than last year probably aroun 73-75%. We did have a stretch in the begining where we were something like 1 for 7 from the field with 5 of those misses being threes. That was a bit distrubing. We out rebounded a physically overmatched Div. II school by 15. Eddie Hightower still sucks! If we have to depend on McCamey and this first game is any indication of what we can expect we’ll be worse than last year. He played like he thought he was already in the NBA and that this game was a pain in the arse to him. I’m hoping that he gets it together. Our best five last night were Frazier at PG, Meacham at SG, Brock at SF, Davis at PF and Semrau at C. That group ran very well together. I’ll stop short of downgrading McCamey anymore as it was an exhibition game and our first of the year, but I’ll say this one last
thing. When Legion is set to play if McCamey is playing like he did this first game, he’ll be the 5th or possibly even 6th option at either guard spot after Chet, Meacham, Legion, Brock and Jordan. Tisdale will be OK, and if not Semrau looks to be more than up to the challenge. I hope Stan Simpson redshirts! Overall team grade….C+ (Not good competition to rate them against I’m afraid.)