Illini basketball


Did you enjoy the Wolf Mask Reveal? Was it Worth The Wait?

Good. Now, let’s get back to regularly scheduled programming. The fifth game of Kofi’s Epoch produced, sadly, only his fourth double-double.

This Jamaican manchild is already imperfect in His Domination, His Resurrection of The Program. HE’S ONLY 80% ON DOUBLE-DOUBLES!

Fortunately for him, Kofi has not yet been told that he is Our Savior.

His naïveté is charming.

Two days ago, Kofi became “available” to the media. [DIA policy changes without notice, and it’s hard to keep up. For example, Mark Smith was “not available” until his dad had already thrown in the towel on Illinois’ failure to promote Mark Smith. Ayo was available immediately, perhaps because of the Mark Smith fiasco.]

In his first postgame press-conference, Kofi explained to the Illini media corps that he’s seven feet tall. It was as though, in his mind, he needed to introduce himself, as if we didn’t know about him.

One of Kofi’s record-setting 17 rebounds

After his record-setting performance, Kofi apologized for stealing a double-double from his good friend Giorgi.

He explained that he’d tried, to no avail, to convince Brad Underwood that Giorgi should stay in the ballgame, to get that double-double.

It’s as if Kofi has no handlers to tell him he’s god’s gift to basketball.

Despite having the words king and alpha in his Twitter handle, you almost get the feeling that he’s a humble kid (certainly not a @HumbleKid).

Giorgi scored 16 points, and grabbed NINE NOT TEN rebounds

It was a good night for frankness. Brad Underwood took a question from former Illini Tyler Cottingham (Walkon) in the postgame, and tacitly admitted that Everything Has Changed and everything is subject to change.

Mostly this question/answer concerned defensive concepts & strategy. But it can be extrapolated to all facets of the game. The point is that Underwood is not announcing major renovations, he’s simply implementing them as soon as data demands. It’s the reason you want Brad Underwood rather than an ideological dinosaur who’s incapable of changing his ways (ooh, Bruce Weber comes to mind).

Underwood tacitly admitted that Ayo has struggled, for an NBA first-round draftee value of “struggled.” If the actual words were reprinted here, you would not find “struggled” among them.

Underwood is deft at parrying, better at messaging. He was glad to see Ayo score a goodly amount of points against The Citadel.

In a separate moment, he praised Da’Monte Williams for being an integral and necessary part of this Illini team, while also demanding a whole lot more from Da’Monte without mentioning “points” or “scoring,” plausibly because that’s not what he meant.

What did he mean?

Side note: I rarely see the TV versions of Illini games, so I don’t know how many of you saw Da’Monte crash through three folding chairs Wednesday night.

At least two people were concerned

Final observation: While we were waiting for the participants to arrive in the media room, I asked Kent Brown if he recalled the date of Deon Thomas’s 16 rebound performance.

He did.

It elicited a good story.