The Illinois mens basketball team entertained class of 2006 recruit Jon Scheyer and class of 2004 commitment Shaun Pruitt yesterday with a little roundball action. The team was in good spirits and the action at times was very competitive. Scheyer didn't seem fazed playing with the reigning Big Ten Tournament Champs, although I'm sure he was a little nervous. Two concerns going into this season will be do the Illini have a go to guy on offense and will a leader emerge to take this talented team by the reigns and get them to play to full potential. Here are some notes from yesterdays scrimmage:
Scheyer Can Shoot
Jon Scheyer is a 6'4 combo guard from Glenbrook North HS. Jon has yet to play a minute of his sophomore season but has already gone up against the nations top high school players and now some of the top college players in the nation. What a valuable experience this will turn out to be for Jon. Jon's game is very solid. Offensively he is a streak shooter at this point but with added strength and experience he will get better. His shot looked a little flat at times but still managed to go in once he settled down. The ball flight on his jumper reminds me of former Illinois star Sean Harrington. I'd like to see Jon get more arc under it, if he can do that he'll become an excellent shooter. Jon is a terrific passer for his age. He makes quick and smart decisions and rarely turned the ball over. He did try to do more than just shoot 3's but with guys like Luther Head and Richard McBride guarding him it proved unsuccessful. I don't think anyone at the Ubben Complex expected him to be able to do that anyway. On defense is where Jon's highlight of the day came. As Deron Williams made a move around him to his right, Jon stripped him and quickly darted up the court. Not too many players can claim to have stripped Deron clean, he just never turns the ball over. Jon also did a great job guarding Richard McBride. McBride tried all kinds of fancy shake and bake moves on him and Jon stayed with him knowing that ultimately Rich would try to pop a 3 in his face. McBride was feeling it for awhile so he became somewhat unguardable but Jon did his best. Another positive sign from Jon was his willingness to go down low and battle for rebounds. He got scrappy down low fighting a couple times and was rewarded by the crowd for his effort. Jon Scheyer will be a guy that Illinois will take a hard look at for the class of 2006.
Pruitt Can Play
Shaun Pruitt came down to play with his future teammates and seemed to be interacting very well. His parents and a friend accompanied him and they seemed to fit in very well and enjoyed their time. Shaun is as close to 100% healthy as it comes. I finally got to witness him play with quickness and emotion. Looking at Shaun you can see that he has all the tools he needs to compete at this level. His shot was not necessarily falling yesterday but he battled hard with Aaron Spears most of the day. On one play I think Aaron probably fouled out he hacked Shaun so bad. What Shaun needs to work on is playing with emotion all the time. The talent is there, he just needs to bring it consistently. My guess is that he will.
The player of the day was Jack Ingram. Jack did everything and he did it well. He crashed the boards, he shot a high percentage shot all the way out to 3 point range, and he played excellent defense. The guy can do it all. Jack is more polished at this point than former Illini player Robert Archibald. Watch and see if Jack carries this over into the season. If he does, Illini fans will be rewarded greatly. If Jack wouldn't have been so dominant, the game ball would have went to Warren Carter. There is not a chance that Warren will redshirt after watching him play yesterday. He has a very fluid stroke and shoots with confidence. When he gets inside he maneuvers well and will definitely dunk it in your face if he has a chance. Warren is not as weak as people are making him out to be. The only area where he needs to get much stronger is his legs so that he can establish a good base while guarding the opposing teams frontcourt players.
Based solely on the games yesterday, these are the 5 that would have seen the most action on the court:
C- Jack Ingram
PF- Warren Carter
SF- Roger Powell
SG- Richard McBride
PG- Dee Brown
These five were lights out yesterday. Ingram was all over the floor on both sides of the ball making all the plays. Warren was exciting the crowd with dazzling offensive plays inside and out. Roger was soaring through the air and burying jumpers. Roger plays with so much emotion and fights hard on every play. Richard was popping 3's all day long in peoples faces. Dee was running the show. Dee was hitting lots of jumpers and really getting out on the break. Overall, a great showing from everyone.
Pruitt and D. Williams hangin out
Auggie and Warren