By Michael O'Brien

Mike Dunigan on Oregon: "They were the only school that followed my rules."

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Clyde Travis gets Dunigan's side of the story...

"It was all about the presentation," Dunigan said. "When I went for my visit they didn't just show me the athletic places, they gave me an overall view of where I'd be taking my classes, how it would be set up for me to be successful and graduate. One of the big things is they were the only school that stuck to my rules. I didn't want to be bugged every minute by every coach. They were the only school I felt that didn't pressure me."

On Illinois:

"Illinois was in there but I feel very comfortable with the decision I've made."

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Have either of you authors of this blog ever asked what it is about UI that Chicago kids seem to dislike? This has been going on for the last 15 years or so. There has to be a reason because previous coaches have encountered the same problem as Weber. Is it the school they object to, or is it the coaches? Thanks.

Lou Henson and Jimmy Collins never had any problems getting the homeys to Champaign.

The reason UI cant get any recruits to Urbana is because most athletes that comes out of Chicago which is mainly black, doesn't want to go to a school that they feel uncomfortable at. I also want to make a comment on the last blog by Bob, when he stated that Lou Henson and Jimmy Collins never had a problem getting the "homeys" to Champaign, what does that means. I feel that comment was so ignorant, and you wonder why a lot of players feel uncomfortable to go to UI, because there are a lot of white people out there like you that continues to sterotype the common black athlete.


Thanks for your answer, very interesting. So, you think it's the reputation of the school and the area, rather than who the coach happens to be? By the way, I didn't say anything about "homeys".

"The reason UI cant get any recruits to Urbana is because most athletes that comes out of Chicago which is mainly black, doesn't want to go to a school that they feel uncomfortable at."

Then why go to a school in Eugene, Oregon? I guarantee that there are a lot fewer black students at UO than UI. Was it just about the head coach?

I think it has more to do with the head coach. Bill Self did pretty good in Chi-town. Look at the kids from the Chi that he has recruited for the Jayhawks. He got Sherron Collins and Julian Wright and he was right there with Derrick Rose. I think it is about the current coach more than anything.

Truth is that coaching and recruiting are two different skillsets. Weber better hurry up and sign up for the Ron Zook Recruiting school.....Illnois is quickly transforming from a bball school to a football campus.

The truth is that Weber has won 112 games the past 4 years at UI, the most of any coach in the country over that period. His last recruiting class is a top 25 class. His last two years at SIU his teams went to the dance and to the sweet 16, with less talent than he has now. Illinois is not getting superstars, the one and dones. So what? They are getting good players, they make the tourney every year, and usually make some noise once they get there. While losing Gordon was a blow to the '07 class, this '08 class is very weak nationally, and locally. I have seen all of our top players play, and I will say this: Liggins is extremely challenged fundamentally, and has no jumpshot. Dunigan is a good rebounder and defender with almost no offensive game. He is rated top 60, right around where Carlwell was rated, and he's just as challenged. Humphrey pouts, takes games off, and has limited strength and almost no inside game. Shumpert is more complete, but he lacks aggressiveness. Simpson lacks strength, Kelly a shot, and like Liggins is already 19, Freundt lacks quickness, and Verdell Jones bulk. Crittle is a man-child with almost no athleticism or offense, Lewis Jackson is tiny, and Matt Roth and Luke Fabrizius are shooters missing the rest of their games. These are the best players in Illinois in '08, although some would argue for an undersized Ryan Hare,or an athletically challenged big man in Bret Thompson. Eventually, I expect Shumpert and Jones to be the best players in this class, but there are at least 5 better players in the '09 and '10 class then all but Shumpert, in my opinion. Sporting News has said the same thing, calling the '08 class terrible. Bottom line to me is that the best coaches will develop the players from this class, because outside of perhaps the best 5-10, there really isn't that much difference up to 100.

I just don't believe it's the coach. Someone pointed out on one of the Illini Boards how over the past 15 years the school has signed only 2 top 50 kids from Chicago. One was Dee Brown, recruited by Bill Self and Brian Carlwell, signed by Bruce Weber. I tend to agree with Karlton's assessment.

Worldwide Wes

Worldwide Wes

Worldwide Wes

come on Mike, just say the name the sealed the deal for you. we won't hold it against you.

Illinois has never ever gotten the best players from Chicago, putting aside whether Weber is doing a good recruiting job or not. I think Dee Brown and Marcus Liberty are pretty much the only top ones they've gotten in my lifetime. I can't remember how great Luther and Calvin were supposed to be even though they won honors in the CPL.

Maggette, Q Richardson, Bobby Simmons, Antoine Walker, Michael Thompson, etc. all went to other top programs. It's been going on forever, and I wish it'd stop sometime but I'm doubtful. The snub of Jimmy Collins might not ever rub off in the minds of a lot of Chicago coaches.

Hey Ryan:
I assume you were born after Audie Matthews, Levi Cobb and Eddie Johnson, but you had to be breathing when Kendall Gill, Nick Anderson, and Deon Thomas signed.

Don't forget Ben Wilson and Ervin Small....

Oh, I forgot to mention Lowell Hamilton in the second group.

IIRC, I don't think Ben Wilson signed with anybody. Hambric wouldn't let him sign until the spring and he got murdered around Thanksgiving. However, it was the consensus opinion that he was was going to be an Illini.

[quote]Worldwide Wes, come on Mike, just say the name [/quote]

Are you referring to Mike O'Brien? He's never heard of Worldwide Wes.

And Sonny Vaccaro never knew that Reggie was Derrick's brother either.

Dox - I was only in grade school when I was imitating the Flying Illini players in my driveway so I didn't know any of them were as highly thought of as Liberty was, but again -- that's going from roughly 1989 to 2001 where we didn't get a single top Chicago kid who actually starred at U of I? That's a long time for an in-state program pretty much anywhere. Don't know what it's going to take, rather than eventually hiring a former CPL or Catholic League coach who has went on to the college ranks.

Look at what the other Big 10 schools in the past did at recruiting Chicago Area players. Indiana- Isiah, Tony Freeman and Darryl Thomas from St. Joes(All three won national titles at IU) , Purdue- Ed McCants and Everette Stephens, Wisconsin- Michael Finley and Alando Tucker, Michigan- Juwan Howard.

Even recently Iowa recruited Freeman Jr. and Pierre Pierce (2nd leading scorer in IHSA history and Ohio St. recruited Evan Turner. U of I neeeds to step up their recruiting game.

Liberty was #1 or #2 in the country (Dennis Scott being the other). Anderson and Thomas were the top players in the state, with Hamilton behind only Wilson. Matthews and Johnson were the top players in the state as well, with Cobb probably the best in the Public League (or Byrd or Lester).

And of course, a little bit later came Thomas Hamilton. They did sign Jamie Brandon but he didn't stick around. Lately, they have been picking Peoria clean, especially when Manual won all those state championships. So what if they didn't get Livingston? He never played college ball anyway.

"Are you referring to Mike O'Brien? He's never heard of Worldwide Wes. "

no, Mr. Mike Dunigan

weber wouldnt last one round of the world series of poker. he bet the house on rose and gordon; promising them the backcourt if they would come while patrick beverly was begging illinois to recruit him. well, weber has no gordon and rose and beverly is flourishing at arkansas and playing for the US under 21 national team.

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This page contains a single entry by Michael O'Brien published on July 16, 2007 9:34 PM.

Farragut coach Wolf Nelson: "I may not agree with his decision but I respect it." was the previous entry in this blog.

Ron Ashlaw is the new Waukegan coach is the next entry in this blog.

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