Illini Basketball

Tenacious Day

Geoff Alexander paused, and looked up from the list of newcomers.

“Can I pick somebody that’s not on this list?”

Of course, we assurred him. We want to know what you have to say about this team, not put words in your mouth.

“Benjamin Verdonk.”

Geoff Alexander

Geoff takes over as Big Man coach this year. So his choice of the 6’8″ Belgian, when prompted with the descriptive noun “bruiser,” must be the single-most noteworthy moment of Media Day 2021. This is a team, you’ll recall, that features an All-American center.

You’ll enjoy the rest of the Q&A, too. But Geoff’s praise for Ben is the scoop of the day. And it wasn’t limited to bruising.

Benjamin Bosmans-Verdonk

Here’s what you’ll see when the videos are cut & pasted:

Coleman Hawkins & Omar Payne enjoy a chemistry which, if it works as well on the court as off it, promises explosively hilarious basketball.

Perhaps hilarity isn’t what you’re looking for from your #Illini, in which case you should hope that it’s simply great chemistry, and manifests itself as great basketball when they’re hooping, and great comedy when they’re clowning.

Coleman Hawkins & Omar Payne

Brandin Podziemski has a chip on his shoulder. He will tell you that he plays with a chip on his shoulder. His teammates and coaches will tell you that he plays with a chip on his shoulder.

It’s almost like he’s from Wisconsin.

So thank your lucky stars that Greg Gard’s program hit a rough patch since the Kobe King incident. If Podz were playing in red, he’d be under your skin for the next four years. Like Bruesewitz and Krabbenhoft and Davison. All those irritating Badgers.

Illinois finally has its Lucas Johnson back.

Brandin Podziemski
Luke Goode

Luke Goode is super earnest. A true yeoman Midwesterner. He’s earned the respect of grinders like Da’Monte Williams and Chester Frazier. That’s hard praise to merit. ‘Monte and Chet are two of the toughest, no-short-cuts men to don an Illini uniform, ever.

Once you’ve known him for five minutes, you’ll want Luke to be your pastor, and Chief of the Boat.

And the guy every single one of them praised to high heaven was Alfonso Plummer. Brad Underwood was irritated that we weren’t writing about him already, and this was before any media were introduced to the guy.

Alfonso Plummer, the assassin

Plummer topped the poll when asked about snipers, and motor. Each player & coach channeled Reese from The Terminator: HE WILL. NOT. STOP. UNTIL YOU ARE DEAD. That kinda thing.

All right, time to start editing the clips. Stay tuned.