Illinois basketball has been very up-and-down over the last few years, and last year was no exception. Illinois rolled through the beginning of the season 12-0 and were ranked #10 in the country at one point but were highly inconsistent. They went through a tailspin in January, losing at Purdue and Wisconsin and at home against Minnesota and Northwestern only to beat #1 Indiana at home on February 7th. They wrapped up the regular season 23-13 and although Indiana got payback in the Big Ten Tournament, Illinois got a big Tournament win against Colorado and gave Miami and serious run for their money before falling short. The roster will see plenty of turnover now as leading scorers Brandon Paul and D.J. Richardson have graduated, as have key players Tyler Griffey and Sam McLaurin. Enter the new recruits where Illinois has a strong class coming in. They signed Simeon’s Jaylon Tate and Kendrick Nunn in an unsuccessful attempt to sign Jabari Parker, but Nunn is still a great player on his own. Other four-star recruits include guard Malcolm Hill and power forward Austin Colbert. Illinois is moving in a definite positive direction.
The Illinois Fighting Illini operate under Coach John Groce at the State Farm Center (formerly Assembly Hall) in Champaign. Their best season was in 2005, when Deron Williams, Luther Head, Dee Brown, and more led the Illini to the National Championship Game only to lose to North Carolina. That remains their only appearance in the title game although they have made the Final Four five times and the NCAA Tournament 30 times. 40 Illini have made the NBA although the only two currently are Williams, the three-time All-Star point guard of the Brooklyn Nets, and Meyers Leonard, big man on the Portland Trailblazers. Other notable alums include Brian Cook, Head, Brown, former-Bull Kendall Gill, Nick Anderson, Derek Harper, and Eddie Johnson. Illini B-ball could get even better with this great recruiting class, and the team always benefits from their notable home-court advantage at the State Farm Center. Get your Illini tickets from Gold Coast Tickets!