Chicago Sun-Times
With Sun-Times sports reporter Herb Gould

January 2011 Archives

Don't believe what you see and hear on the internet. The rumors about Jereme Richmond transferring from Illinois are unfounded. After missing two days of practice and the Wisconsin game, Illinois' standout freshman is back with the team, coach Bruce Weber said Monday.
He just needed to attend to some personal issues, Weber said, adding that's all there was to it.
``I'm not sure where all the rumors come from,'' Weber said. ``That's one of your dilemmas that you [media] have to deal with, all the internet [stuff]. It really is a negative thing. I feel bad for you guys. We [coaches] don't feel good about things that were put out there. There's a lot of distrust that happens.
``Jereme had some personal issues that he wanted to deal with. He went home and talked with his family. He was in Madison and at practice Sunday.''
The days he missed, combined with a small, but nagging achilles injury, have impeded the progress of Illinois' first McDonald's All-American since Dee Brown, but Weber expects Richmond to overcome those issues.
``Hopefully, he'll be a valuable member of our team down the stretch run,'' Weber said. ``We can use him. The the sad part is, he was really starting to figure it out and feel comfortable, starting to help our team. Hopefully, we can get him back on track. He can add a lot to our team. He gives us a lot of versatility, especially when you talk about [Tuesday opponent] Michigan State playing small ball. He can guard a lot of people. When he and Brandon Paul can create, they could really ease the pressure on Demetri [McCamey] as far as having to create, not only for themselves but also for other people.''

What's up with Jereme Richmond?
Big Ten Network announcer Jim Jackson entered the fray Saturday, first tweeting that there was a rumor Richmond may transfer, then quickly retracting that.
What Jackson was thinking--or not thinking--who knows? But he didn't exactly exercise good judgment--especially for a media personality.
After Richmond did not play at Wisconsin Saturday, Illini coach Bruce Weber said Richmond sat because he hadn't practiced Thursday and Friday, having left the team to attend to a personal family matter. Weber said Richmond, who was on the bench, is expected to resume practicing Sunday and play against Michigan State on Tuesday.
There seems to be something going on--or maybe something that was going on has been resolved. But what it is--or what it was--is unclear.
Whether the problem is over and done with remains to be seen. Richmond is a sharp, articulate young man as well as a talented ballplayer. But his high-school career had its share of controversies and brush fires.
So it's a situation that bears watching. And watch it, we will. Closely.
Here's Jackson's initial tweet: ``Illini fans may not want 2 hear this, but rumor has it the frosh jereme richmond may transfer. He supposedly didn't travel w/ team 2 Wisco.''
And here's his untweet: ``I will re-tract my earlier comment about jereme richmonds possible transfer, jumped the gun 2 soon, apologies 2 all illini fans!!!!''

So the Big Ten intends to shove the ridiculous Legends and Leaders down our throats for a year. What's the point? To get the disapproval rate down under 90 percent?
Here's my response: Big Ten East (Illinois, Indiana, Ohio State, Penn State, Purdue and Wisconsin) and Big Ten West (Nebraska, Northwestern, Michigan, Michigan State, Minnesota and Iowa).
It's easy to remember because in East andLeaders, the E is pronunced the same way. That's also true with West and Legends.
The only team that doesn't fit in the East is Wisconsin. (So what's the big deal? Dallas doesn't fit in the NFC East.)
The only teams that don't fit in the West are Michigan and Michigan State. But that's a lot more palatable than Legends and Leaders. And like the song says, the Wolverines are ``the champions of the West.''
Another thing to remember. . . if you really are annoyed by the Leaders and Legends division names, try to think of creative ways to let the Big Ten know. Because I have a feeling they'll back off if enough people--and by that, I mean alums and fans--make it clear how offended they are by the arrogance of the whole deal.

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