Big Ten Leaders
Sophomore James Augustine (.681) and Roger Powell (.677) rank second and third, respectively, in field goal percentage in the Big Ten. * Roger Powell ranks ninth (15.3 avg.), Deron Williams (12.9) and Dee Brown (12.9), are tied for 13th in scoring. * Williams ranks first in assists (6.6 avg.), while Brown is seventh (4.6 avg.). * Augustine ranks second in rebounding (9.6 avg.) and is second in offensive rebounding with 3.43 per game. * Williams would lead in free-throw percentage (12-13, .923), but lacks the minimum number of made free throws (2.0 per game). * Williams ranks eighth in steals (1.71 avg.) * Augustine ranks ninth in blocked shots (1.17 avg.) * Brown is third with 2.43 3-pt. FGs per game, while Williams is sixth (1.71 avg.) * Illinois leads the Big Ten in scoring (80.4 ppg), assists (19.29 avg.), scoring margin (+16.3) and field goal percentage (.488). * Illinois ranks third in rebounding margin (+6.1), second in offensive rebounding (14.4 avg.), second in three-point field goals (5.9 avg.), second in field-goal percentage defense (.381) and third in assist/turnover ratio (1.24).
Top 25 Streak Continues
Illinois is ranked 14th in the current (Dec. 8) ESPN/USA Today Coaches' Poll, extending its streak to 63 consecutive polls in which the Illini have been ranked. Illinois is also ranked No. 14 in the AP Top 25 poll. The Illini had a school record-streak of 30 straight polls in the Top 10 snapped in January, 2002, but has never dropped out of the Coaches' Top 25 the last three-plus seasons.
Last Time Out
Illinois responded to the loss to Providence by posting an 85-43 victory over Maryland-Eastern Shore Thursday night the Assembly Hall. Any celebrating, however, was subdued as sophomore guard Deron Williams suffered a fractured jaw and will remain on the sidelines for several games. Roger Powell made nine of 11 shots for a game-high 19 points, while Luther Head scored 16 points in his first start of the season. Illinois shot 59 percent from the field in the first half in jumping out to a 46-19 lead.
Williams Sidelined After Terrific Start
Sophomore guard Deron Williams will be sidelined after suffering a fractured jaw Dec. 11 against Maryland-Eastern Shore after running into a screen early in the second half. Williams had surgery on Dec. 12 to repair the fracture and hopes to return by the start of Big Ten play in early January. Williams has been turning heads with his sensational play to start his sophomore season. He is second on the team in scoring (12.9 ppg) and has scored in double figures in five of seven games, setting a career-high in points in three-consecutive games up to the Arkansas game, but setting a career-high with 10 assists against the Razorbacks. His scoring average so far is six points better than his freshman scoring average of 6.3 points. He scored a career-high 22 points vs. North Carolina and is shooting 45 percent from the field (33-73) and 40 percent from 3-point land (12-30). While his scoring has improved dramatically, Williams remains an unselfish player with the ball in his hands. He leads the Big Ten in assists with 46 (6.6 apg), handing out eight assists in the season opener vs. Western Illinois and again against North Carolina before dropping 10 dimes against Arkansas.
Air Rog Leads Illini Scorers
Junior Roger Powell leads the team in scoring and is second in rebounding, averaging 15.3 points and 5.3 rebounds. He is shooting 68 percent from the field (44-65) and is second on the Illini with 18 offensive rebounds. Powell recorded the first double-double of his Illinois career against Mercer on Nov. 26, scoring 16 points and grabbing a career-high 10 rebounds. What better way to follow up that performance than with another double-double in his next outing vs. Temple. Powell scored 19 points and matched his career high with 10 boards. He then scored a season-high 20 points against North Carolina Dec. 2. Last year in Big Ten play, Powell led the league in field-goal shooting at 64.1 percent and was named to the Big Ten All-Tournament Team after helping the Illini to the title.
Augustine A Double-Double Man
Another member of the heralded Illini sophomore class is James Augustine. Augustine, named to the first-ever Big Ten All-Freshman Team last season, is nearly averaging a double-double with 10.6 points and 9.6 rebounds per game. He is shooting 68 percent (32-47) from the field and leads the team with 24 offensive rebounds in seven games. Augustine has scored at least nine points in six of seven games, and has had at least nine boards in five of seven games, with a career-high 13 against Western Illinois in the season opener. Last year as a freshman, he averaged 7.0 points while shooting 58.0 percent from the field. Augustine was second on the team behind Brian Cook in rebounding, averaging 5.8 boards. He ranked 13th in the Big Ten in rebounding at 5.8 per game and was 13th in blocked shots. In Big Ten play only, Augustine ranked third in field-goal shooting at 58.6 percent.
Head of the Class Junior guard responded to his first start of the season with 16 points, three assists and three steals against Maryland-Eastern Shore. After five games, Head is averaging 9.4 points. Against UMES, Head made five of eight shots, including two of three from thee-point range. Head is expected to see his minutes increase as the Illini await the return of Deron Williams.
Randle An Early Contributor
Freshman Brian Randle was in the starting lineup in his first two games as an Illini and is averaging 16 minutes per game on the season. In his first game, he responded with eight points and a team-high three steals in the and six points and five boards in the second. In his outing against North Carolina, Randle had seven points and five rebounds. He is averaging 5.6 points and 3.0 rebounds, while shooting 70 percent (16-23) from the field. He's third on the team with eight steals.
Ingram A Post Presence
Junior transfer Jack Ingram, who sat out last season after transferring from Tulsa, is averaging 4.0 points and 4.4 rebounds for the Illini this season. He's third on the team with 15 offensive rebounds, one more than his total of defensive boards. He led the Illini with eight rebounds in Illinois' win over Maryland-Eastern Shore. Ingram scored four points and grabbed five rebounds in his first action as an Illini against Western Illinois and had eight points and eight boards vs. Mercer.
Look for More McBride
With Deron Williams moving to the sidelines as he recovers from his broken jaw, look for freshman guard Richard McBride to see more playing time. A three-time All-Stater during his high school career in Illinois, McBride sat out the first four games of the season for violating team rules, but is starting to work his way into the playing rotation. He's averaging 12 minutes per contest in three games played.
Future Coach Howard?
Senior Jerrance Howard, who returned in 2003-04 for his fifth year, hopes to break into coaching after his eligibility is finished this season. While at Illinois, he has played under three coaches in Lon Kruger, Bill Self and Bruce Weber.