Jeremy Werner // Illini Inquirer

Jeremy Werner answers your Illini questions and more: May 11

Illini Inquirer publisher Jeremy Werner answers premium members' Illini basketball and football questions -- and more!

What is your best educated guess for how the rest of the 2017 class will play out? Grad transfers or reclassified high school kids? Or both?

I agree with Derek Piper that Illinois will not fill all four available spots. I just don't think they'll be able to land four players that they really want. So expect them to bank at least one for 2018.The Illini would probably like to add two grad transfers so that they can get some immediate help for an NCAA push next season -- with the benefit of that scholarship again opening up for the 2018 class.

The Illini are hosting fifth-year transfers Mark Alstork and Akoy Agau the next few days. Alstork, a 6-foot-5 wing who averaged 19.0 ppg last season at Wright State, would likely be the go-to scorer for the Illini, and Agau would fill the Illini's biggest need of a post defender. The Illini have a lot of shots to sell Alstork and a lot of minutes to sell Agau. But the odds of landing both -- who have multiple high-major offers -- doesn't seem all that high. If they miss on one or both, I'm sure they'll work down the line of options and work quickly to land them.

The prep prospects continue to dwindle after Francesco Badocchi chose Virginia and Justin Minaya chose South Carolina. The top option of course is Ignas Brazdeikis, who may reclassify to 2017. But if he doesn't, there just aren't that many options out there right now. Of course, Jeremiah Tilmon still hasn't signed anywhere yet. We'll get to that here in a bit.


What were expectations of JW for BU and the 2017 class, and how do you see that changing for 2018 and 2019?

I don't think Josh Whitman set an expectation for the 2017 class. If he put such an emphasis on that, he probably would've kept John Groce. Whitman strongly supported retaining Jamall Walker, which Brad Underwood did -- and that paid off with the Illini landing 2017 Mr. Basketball Mark Smith. That was a big get -- both on- and off-the-court. The top player in the state just gave Illinois a major endorsement.

The staff has high expectations for the Class of 2018 and have some really good options in the class.

The 2019 class will be big in terms of numbers because Jalen Coleman-LandsMichael FinkeLeron Black and Aaron Jordan are all scheduled to graduate after the 2018-19 season. The staff has been busy offering prospects in that class as well, including in-staters Francis OkoroKahlil Whitney (playing in N.J.), E.J. Liddell and Malik Hall.


Who if any are possible big men recruits for 2017?

Where's the Beef? Curious as to any candidates that we may be able to bring in for the 2017 Class this year whether it be a PF or a C. Thx as always for your info.

Do we have any other options at the 5 for next year other than Tilmon or maybe Rooks?

Do you think the basketball staff can come up with a big or two for next years roster 17-18 season?

Yeah, big man is a big need. Illinois needs someone who can protect the rim a bit. Honestly, there's not much out there. I mentioned Agau, and Piper has previously listed Pitt grad transfer  Rozelle Knox, a 6-foot-11, 300-pound center. But he made little impact at Pitt. Those are probably the options available. Where's Sam McLaurin when you need him?


What is our basketball record and who starts next year

If Finke is the biggest guy on the roster next season, what will our record be?

Your starting five for the first Basketball game next fall and rotation is at currently stands now.

One, Finke is 6-foot-10, 230 pounds. He'd be one of the biggest guys on most teams. What Illinois needs is a big who can move better and play defense.

As currently constituted, I think Illinois is a bottom-half Big Ten team and likely one battling to get on the right side of the bubble. Of course, some transfers or recruits could add some wins.

My rotation right now (position based on who they guard)

5 - Finke // Black

4 - Black // Nichols

3 - Smith // Jordan // Da'Monte Williams

2 - Coleman-Lands // Frazier // Williams

1 - Lucas // Frazier


Are you now willing to call Mark Smith better than Jordan Goodwin Or u have both of them ready to commit, but you can only take one? Which one do you take?

Both are great players, and I expect both be immediate-impact players who develop into stars and lead their programs back to the NCAA Tournament.

They are both big-bodied guards, but they are very different players. Smith is a lead guard with plus athleticism and a killer stroke from deep. Goodwin is a more proven two-way wing who can be a match-up nightmare for bigger, slower defenders and smaller guards. He's one of those guys who fills up the stat sheet everywhere. Both are likely culture-changers because they're ultimate winners.

Sorry, but your last hypothetical just is so unrealistic. I don't think any program has ever had this dilemma where both players call at the same exact time wanting to commit on the spot. You take the first one who wants to commit. But I think you'd take both because they are different players who complement each other well.


If we have 3 scholarships for 2018, which three players do we target first?  What about if we have 4 scholarships what player do you add to that list?

There always is a spot for Ayo Dosunmu if he wants one. Despite great options at point guard, Dosunmu is just a game-changer. So you start there.

Illinois needs a do-it-all, versatile wing and has prioritized Horton-Tucker and Finke. Land one of them.

The biggest need is an athletic, Nnanna Egwu-like, rim-protecting big -- #NnannaEgwuDefendersClubForLife. Guys like Silvio De SousaDarius DaysAmadou Sow and Morris Udeze fit the bill. Gotta get someone like that.

If one more spot is available -- a possibility given the 2017 options and possible attrition -- a skilled, bigger forward in the mold of Michael Finke would be nice. Then you'd have two front-court pieces that complement each other. If Ignas Brazdeikis doesn't reclassify to 2017, he'd be the go-to guy, but Illinois also offered Colin Castelton.


Who do you believe will be Underwood's first 2018 commit?

Horton-Tucker. He's a good fit for Underwood, and he'd give Chin Coleman a nice start in Chicago.


Which basketball player makes the biggest "jump" under the new coaching staff in 2017-2018?

I think Coleman-Lands will become more dangerous with multiple ball-handlers on the court and the shoot-within-seven-seconds style. I also hope Underwood can push JCL as a defender because he has the quickness, length and smarts to do well there.

But I love Finke's fit as the high-post option in Underwood's offense. He's a phenomenal passer and shooter, sets good screens, crashes the offensive glass and can take the ball off the dribble. I think Finke will take a huge step as an offensive player and be one of the Illini's top scorers and rebounders. If Underwood can make him a serviceable defender, Underwood is one hell of a coach.


How does Coach Underwood's Offense and Defense stack up vs the rest of the Big Ten? Looked pretty good vs MI.

His offense ranked No. 1 in offensive efficiency in the country last season. Michigan was No. 4, and Purdue was next at No. 25.

Oklahoma State's defensive efficiency ranked No. 154 in the country, which would've ranked last in the Big Ten. Is that a concern? A bit.  Going back to the Stephen F. Austin numbers, the Lumberjacks' defensive efficiency would've ranked among Big Ten teams No. 6 in 2016, No. 11 in 2015 and last in 2014. But Underwood plays an aggressive style on offense (quick shots in transition) and forcing turnovers on defense. And most importantly, it's worked! It'll be interesting to see how it works in the Big Ten, but Michigan plays a similar style, and that's worked out pretty well for them.


Okay, I'll be that guy. Where do you think Jeremiah Tilmon plays his college basketball?

Any info on what Tilmon is waiting for at this point (whether with us or anyone else)? Any lingering academic concerns?

How excited are you to never cover Jeremiah Tilmon's recruitment again? (If it ever ends)

I honestly have no idea what Jeremiah Tilmon is thinking -- and few do. I'd still expect him to sign with Missouri, but nothing (including DePaul or Illinois) would shock me at this point -- because nothing shocks me in this recruitment anymore. 

There were some academic concerns before he went to La Lumiere Prep, but it's believed he had the scores to get into Illinois.

I'm definitely exhausted by this recruitment,  and I'm not covering it nearly as deep as Piper. It's a shame because the kid is talented, but as is so often the case, he's getting bad advice from some around him. I think he could thrive in the right environment, but there definitely are some red flags for me about this prospect. If he really wanted to end up at Illinois -- and, boy, he'd fill a big need -- I'd make sure that he knows he's not getting preferential treatment. As John Groce proved, developing a culture in your first few years as a head coach is so important.


Who do you think will end up being Illinois' biggest competition for Ayo? Who is a better fit in BU's system, TFinke or THT? Who do you like better? They would only take one of them right?

It's pretty amazing that Dosunmu doesn't  have more and bigger offers yet. Creighton, Northwestern, Florida State, Marquette and SMU are some of the others that stick out. But that should change after July. Expect the blue bloods to start getting in soon. But Illinois has a great foundation there.

Both Finke and Horton-Tucker are really good. You take whoever wants to sign up first. Finke is a bit longer and athletic. He's a bit of a streaky shooter, but he could be a Sam Dekker Litewhich is a really, really good player. Horton-Tucker brings toughness and a nice skill set. He's a skilled passer with a pretty solid shot. He could be a Jordan Goodwin Lite (again, I don't mean that term to be demeaning because that is a really, really good player). I can't imagine both will come to Illinois because of their desire for playing time and Illinois needing players elsewhere.


Remember hearing a couple weeks back that Antigua was trying to make inroads with Mohamed Bamba. Did that just fizzle? Sounds like he's deciding soon and wondering whether we should pay attention.

There was word that Antigua had a connection there, but it was far too late and Illinois far too unknown for Illinois to be a serious contender.


Looking ahead to some potential (what?!) point guard depth, would guys like Adam Miller be turned off from Illinois if they took a PG in every class leading up to when he would be on campus? Seems like all these guys want playing time, but if there is a Senior, Junior, and Soph PG already on the roster, would guys like him look elsewhere. I think Miller is a true PG, as opposed to an off-guard.

Man, what a great problem to have. But college basketball programs should probably add a point in most recruiting classes. Also, Te'Jon Lucas will be gone by the time Adam Miller arrives (that's how far away it is), and Trent Frazier and Mark Smith will be seniors when Miller is a freshman -- and Dosunmu would be a junior. Lastly, Underwood will employ multiple lead guards as so many other national powers have. I wouldn't worry about being too deep at the position.


Here's kind of a screwball question. With the 2017 hoops recruiting cycle rapidly coming to a close, do you see any chance for one of our walk-ons to be given a scholarship? I believe Clayton Jones and Cameron Liss are seniors this year, and the odds that we fill up all four available scholarships seems slim at this point.

Sure, that's always pretty cool. But you don't do that until the second semester. Otherwise, you're closing yourself off to possible mid-year transfers.


Can we ban "pipe daddy" or give u an equally as bad nickname

Please, and I think someone already beat you to the punch with "Wern Dog."


Besides MSU, any other B1G teams looking like Final Four material. League appears that it will be similar to last year where you have a lot of teams that are good, but do not stand out (IMHO).

FInal-four material? Someone could always make a surprise run, but I don't see it. I would've said Maryland if Melo Trimble stayed. If Caleb Swanigan returns, Purdue would likely get to the second weekend -- but they'd need Carsen Edwards to take a step forward and be the dynamic guard they've lacked for so long. The one team I think will be dangerous again in the second half of next season is Michigan. I love Wagner and D.J. Wilson (who I'd expect to come back). They lose Zak Irvin, but Charles Matthews could be better. The biggest loss and question mark, of course, is Derrick Walton Jr. But Xavier Simpson could add a tough defender, and freshman Jordan Poole packs a scoring punch. Oh, and John Beilein will John Beilein. He's one of the best coaches in the country and his teams almost always enter the tournament on a hot streak.


I know people are in tune to potential 5th year transfers for basketball, any rumblings on 5th year transfers for Football?

Very little. A source told me Illinois was waiting on a few transfers to ask for and be granted their releases, but no names have popped up yet. They certainly need some immediate-impact depth.


Any predictions on how well Illinois men will do in Golf regionals and subsequent nCAA finals?

Illinois enters the NCAAs ranked No. 7 in the country. It's a young, but very talented team with the best coach in the country. Dylan Meyer is one of the best in the country, and fellow junior Nick Hardy has had some big-time performances in the NCAA Tournament. Freshman Michael Feagles, a top-20 recruit, has had a great spring. Sophomore Edoardo Lipparelli took a big leap at the end of last season and has carried that momentum into this season, developing into a steady-scoring middle of the rotation option. Belgian freshman Giovanni Tadiotto has taken a step forward at the end of the season and unseated top-20 recruit Bryan Baumgarten

Mike Small always has his teams mentally prepared for these events. This is his most talented team too. It's just young. Illinois should advance through the regional easily and have a great chance to qualify for match play (top-eight) yet again. Once you get there, it's all about matchups and having a good day.


Do other schools use Illinois offer lists to try and steal football recruits? It seems like a host of offers always follows when Illinois finds a hidden gem. Do we do the same thing?

Programs always respond to one another. Plenty of programs offered Alex Palczewski after Illinois unearthed him. But Illinois takes more interest in players who receive big offers (like Hunter Woodard or Kendrick Green). It happens both ways.


Are you hearing anything on Lawson?

Any update on Dwanye Lawson? Is he still in the cards for this summer or fall? It sounds like he might be a redshirt candidate even if he gets in here before the season starts.

Any word on the QB football recruit from JC? WIll he be in CU in the fall??

I've been told the best-case scenario is that he arrives in early August with the worst case is that he'd arrive next January. If he arrives in August, it'd probably be best if he redshirts because he will barely know the offense, which will limit his ceiling. But can you count on Chayce Crouch staying healthy all season, and are you comfortable with Jeff George Jr. getting major snaps again? Also, most I talk to around the program don't think Garrick McGee will redshirt Lawson if he's available because Lawson just has too much tantalizing talent.

I honestly don't think Lawson is a better option than Crouch this season. So if he doesn't arrive on campus this fall, I don't think it's the worst thing in the long run. Lawson could learn for a spring and the 2018 fall behind/pushing Crouch and then go into 2019 as the favorite for the starting job, competing with junior Jeff George Jr., redshirt freshman Cam Thomas and freshmen Coran Taylor and (name that 2018 prospect).


What are your odds that the Illini go bowling this season? And how much do you think the record will positively or negatively effect recruiting for 2019 kids?

I'd imagine the Vegas over/under for Illinois will be 3.5, so the odds are not good. Maybe 10 percent? I mean, this team has eight seniors, half of which aren't big impact guys. They have 13 juniors. The sophomore class has some talent but still is pretty unproven. The freshman class is nice, but how many are truly ready to make Big Ten impacts? Maybe a handful. Plus, the schedule is pretty brutal with USF and Western Kentucky returning a lot, despite new coaches.

It's hard to recruit at a top level when you're not winning. Though Ron Zook finally broke through in a big way in 2007 and then the Rose Bowl catapulted him to his deepest classes in 2008 and 2009. That puts a lot of pressure on evaluation and for the staff to identify top talents that are recruitable 


How many games will Chayce Crouch start this fall?

If healthy, all of them. I love his toughness, but he's going to have to learn to take fewer big hits because he's not helping Illinois if he's not on the field. There's a drop off from him to Jeff George Jr.


Over/under 800 receiving yards for Dudek?

I never want to doubt Dudek, but I'll go under. One, can he stay healthy? Two, Illinois will pass less in this offense with Crouch at quarterback. However, Dudek had some of his biggest games with Reilly O'Toole at quarterback, so that number is definitely attainable.


What is the staff's expectations for this football season? Do you think that a full season with the players that they can "coach" them up and start winning more games or is this thing not going to get going until they get better guys?

The staff knows this could be a tough season, but they think a year in the system will really help their execution. The offense has nowhere to go but up, and it will be more of what Garrick McGee wants thanks to a dual-threat quarterback and a bit more speed at receiver. But the offensive line is thin, and the tight end group is really young. The defensive line also is a huge concern given all the talent and experience it loses. Again, four wins would be a solid season, in my opinion, given the inexperience and lack of talent in the upperclasses. 

I always remind people, most second-year coaches have two of their recruiting classes. Lovie has one, so this rebuild really is a year behind most. This is going to take time -- and, yes, a lot more talent.


The football staff closed remarkably strong last recruiting season. Is that repeatable? Where would you place the likelihood of that happening again?

Hitting on roughly 80 percent of their top targets doesn't seem repeatable, no. But as Garrick McGee told me, "Illinois has a true closer." Lovie is a dangerous weapon when he's allowed to get on the road in the fall and winter. I do think the Illini will close well, but last year was pretty remarkable. Outside of Reggie Roberson and Josh Fedd-Jacskson, there weren't many big disappointments during the final month or so (Odua Isibor, Zion DeBose and Jalen Harris went elsewhere, but Illinois was never really confident for any of those).


When are you going to let Piper teach you how to do a hyperlink?

When you upgrade to the new forums! I kid, I kid. See, we have something in our system that sends out a link to the forums once I publish a story. It's incredibly nice for a busy guy like me who must put these stories out on all our social media as well. So sometimes -- oftentimes -- I forget to hyperlink. But if you're using old forums, please upgrade. I know some on iPads have issues with the playercards, and I'll try to hyperlink more in the future.


After Cameron brown committed,How many St. Louis kids do you think we can get in the 2018 class?

It's about quality more than quantity of course. I actually like their chances for 4-star LB Ayodele Adeoye more than most people. Learning linebacker from Lovie Smith and Hardy Nickerson really appeals to him and he's visiting campus this weekend after a few previous visits to campus. The Illini are in the mix for three-star defensive back Dallas Craddieth, but Iowa and Mizzou are doing well there too. Quarterback Kaleb Eleby can be had if they truly want him. I think it's an up-hill climb to get the three stud defensive linemen: Trevor TroutMichael Thompson and Ronnie Perkins. But if they get  those guys on campus again, that might give them a shot. Some other names may emerge.


What state is going to be the most generous to Lovie for this class?

I still think about a third of this class will come from the state of Illinois. The Illini are prioritizing several in-state prospects, especially Gavin McCabe and T.J. Ivy, and continue to evaluate several other in-state prospects.

The Illini are really focused on getting some prospects from St. Louis, Texas and Georgia, but they may land more from Florida than any other state. They have a lot of offers out in the Sunshine State and have a lot of ties down there. A lot was made of the Illini's in-state efforts in 2017 (ten in-state natives signed with the Illini), but the Illini also signed seven from Florida in 2017.


what football recruit do you think we are currently in the best standing with or could get a commitment from?

Kaleb Eleby. If Illinois wants him, they'll get him. Several in the football offices really like him. He may not have an elite trait and doesn't have ideal height, but he is solid at everything and I love his demeanor. I think he'd push Taylor and Cam Thomas -- and wouldn't complain if he's a backup. In a lot of ways, he reminds me of Reilly O'Toole.

Others I think Illinois sits well with (though I won't go as far to say they'll definitely land them): Gavin McCabeT.J. Ivy and Ayodele Adeoye. I also think they are still a real competitor for Verdis Brown. There are several other players they could probably get if they offered, like Justin Hall.


Who will be Lovie's first big time recruit? I know he has gotten good players that will feature some possible NFL prospects, but I'm talking a 4-5* Top 100 Jeff Thomas, Benn, Mendenhall, Tez, Brent, Hawthorne, Liuget caliber player?

I would classify Adeoye and Verdis Brown in this realm, and I think they can land one. I don't like their chances with Houston Griffith at all.

I understand why everyone gets caught up in the rankings. Benn and Liuget were great players. Hawthorne was really good, and Martez Wilson was a freak athlete. But several four-star prospects from the Zook era didn't work out. His best classes (2008 and 2009) had a few four-star prospects (Scheelhaase, Jenkins, Pocic, Justin Green) surrounded by many three-  and two-star prospects who turned into really, really good players (Mercilus, Thornton, Spence, Buchanan, Allen, LeShoure).

I tend to be bullish on this staff's ability to evaluate so far, and I do think they'll land more and more four-star prospects once they get more established. We'll see in a few years.


Which 2nd or 3rd year (i.e. redshirt frosh, true soph, redshirt soph) players this fall do you expect to step up as contributors on the 2 deep or special teams for the first time? Which players on the Scout Team last year made the biggest impressions on the staff?

The Illini need a bunch to make the leap.

On offense, watch out for tight end Griffin Palmer, center Doug Kramer and offensive tackle Adam Solomon. Palmer has added a bunch of muscle and is a solid blocker (though he needs to keep getting bigger). He's not ridiculously athletic, but I think he can be a solid pass-catcher. Kramer is undersized but pretty strong, smart and effective. Solomon is massive and a road grader in the run game. He definitely has a long way to go as a pass blocker though. Of course, this is a big year for Gabe Megginson. It's his time. He showed some flashes last year and has the physical ability, but he was a bit overwhelmed mentally at times. He's had a great attitude though. Nick Allegretti struggled with the mental side as a redshirt freshman but was one of the top two Illini offensive linemen as a reshirt sophomore.

On defense, Jamal Milan could be an NFL player if he stays healthy. He has great quickness, balance and strength. Kenyon Jackson is short but strong as an ox. He started as a freshman and should take more strides. He has a lot of Steven Richardson to him. I really like Cameron Watkins' potential, but he was playing nickel in the spring with Frank Sumpter at cornerback. Sumpter has taken strides but I haven't seen as much potential there as Watkins, who is long, fast and physical.


Football Question: How does Illinois special team project this year to look ? Field Goal kicking- Punt returns. Who are go to players in this position? Do you see a improvement with special teams this year vs last year ?

I'm more bearish here. Chase McLaughlin had a solid year last season (though the Purdue kick hurt, obviously). But the Illini don't have many great options at punter. They lost Ryan Frain to graduation and missed on their top 2017 scholarship targets. They stole Bryce Baringer from SIU as a preferred walk-on punter, who will compete with walk-on Ryan Tucker and scholarship placekicker James McCourt.

The Illini tried a lot of people at punt and kick returner. Kendrick Foster, Reggie Corbin, Mike Dudek, Carmoni Green, Nate Hobbs, Tony Adams, M.J. McGriff (if he's ever healthy).


Samson Evans?

As my boy Lon Tay would say, that's a Jack Buck question. Iowa is in really deep with him. His Prairie Ridge teammate, Jeff Jenkins, already is committed to the Hawkeyes and Evans has visited Iowa City multiple times. Evans has a desire to play quarterback, so Northern Illinois remains a possibility. But the Illini just never really got in well there.


What is the #1 facility need on campus now for any sport? Would going south for a practice facility for football/basketball make sense in order to build a full size football field indoor facility and upgrade the basketball facility?

Easily football. The Illini are getting crushed there in the Big Ten. Northwestern's facility has been a boon for them on the recruiting trail. Yes, this stuff matters. It's not just flash. These guys want to play somewhere that invests in them. Right now, Illinois is lagging.

The baseball coaches won't be happy with me because they need a new stadium, but my next one would be basketball because they bring in money. Ubben is fine, but it's getting passed up by most of the Big Ten now. I don't know how far away it is, but there is talk of attaching a facility to north side of State Farm Center. It'd be nice for the two to be connected.


Do you do any recreational sports wagering?

Rarely. I was just in Vegas and put $20 win bets on Gunnevera and McCracken for the Derby -- I'm a loser, baby. I only gamble when I'm in Vegas and enjoy it a little. But I don't go to Vegas to gamble. I'd rather enjoy the sun, expensive drinks and the scenery. Watching my money wilt away at a table or a blinking machine is not fun for me. What I do "gamble" on is fantasy football and fantasy baseball -- I won both my leagues last year (no big deal). And HOT TAKE ALERT: fantasy baseball is way better than fantasy football. I love the grind, and it's a lot less luck-based than fantasy football. It rewards active managers, and it's really rekindled my love for baseball.


Pineapple on pizza?

It tastes all right. But the best pizza is a simple pepperoni pizza from Aurelio's.


Deep dish or thin crust? And where from?

Thin crust, Aurelios. If I wanted lasagna, I'd order lasagna.


Just off the green 40 feet from pin - wedge, 8 iron or hybrid?

What's a wedge? I kid ... kinda. Because I'm a terrible golfer, I'd probably putt-putt my way from 40 feet. How do people find time to be good at golf?!


Who has a winning season first. Illinois football or the Bears?

Oh, man. I'm pretty certain neither will happen in 2017. Mitchell Trubisky -- unlike many, I actually like that Ryan Pace picked a QB he's sold on, but we'll see how it works out -- probably will experience growing pains in 2017 and 2018. But Illinois will still be very young in 2018. Though they will be in Year Three of Lovie's systems. Ugh, this is tough. I'll go with the Illini eking out a bowl bid in 2018.


Which happens first. Illinois S16 appearance or Bulls advance to the second round of the playoffs.

I'll go Bulls here, and it's not because I lack confidence in Underwood. But the Bulls have Jimmy Butler, a top-12 player in the NBA -- and they were possibly a Rajon Rondo injury away from upsetting the Celtics and making the second round this season. if GarPax would actually supply their hand-picked coach with a couple pieces who fit his pace-and-space offense (Patty Mills or George Hill would be nice, for starters), I think the Bulls can be a top-four seed in a weak East next season.


Is a hot dog a sandwich?

Merriam-Webster defines sandwich as "two or more slices of bread or a split roll having a filling in between." So, yes, a hot dog indeed is technically and literally a sandwich.


Sorry but i had to ask it.... Hows life with a Young one in the house.. is it any thing like you thought it would be....

My life got a lot crazier and a lot more busy -- even though it already was busy. When you have two jobs and commute two hours a day and then add a kid to it, there becomes a time crunch -- and it usually comes at the expense of sleep. The biggest change from no kid to a kid is the change in leisure time for you. That's basically non-existent outside of a workout and maybe one TV show a night after he goes to bed. I mostly handle mornings with the kid (5 a.m. to 9 a.m.) and some main duties after I get home at about 7 p.m. (I feed him, bathe him and put him to bed most nights), and I try to cherish those times because it does go by so quick.

The kid is taking off recently -- and I mean that literally. Two months ago, he just started to take a few crawling steps. Now, at nine months, he's already walking. This week, he walked across our living room without falling. It's truly amazing to watch him grow and learn something new everyday. His personality also is starting to come out. Thankfully, he looks like his mother.

The best way I can describe parenthood is that all your emotions multiply by 10. Pure joy times 10. Stress times 10. Love times 10. Fear times 10. It's a ride, man. Get ready to get a lot more emotional watching movies or TV too. And it's only going to get crazier, and I'm pumped for it.

People always asked me when my wife was pregnant if I was ready for fatherhood. I always told them, "I don't think you're ever truly ready for it. You just have to prepare yourself  as best you can and roll with it." All you can do is show up every day and give it your best. You're not going to be perfect. You have to learn to be a lot less selfish, and that's a constant battle. But if you love the kid and care for him, he'll show you a love you've never felt before -- and make you a better person.


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