Illinois basketball coach Bruce Weber
Bruce Weber has finally had enough of the Bill Self comparisons. The former coach chose to leave Champaign-Urbana for what he felt were greener pastures. With him he took his charisma and charm that Illinois fans had grown to love. It was gut wrenching for Illinois fans to see Self betray them and vanish without a trace. The way he left made many people upset that were close to the situation. But Bill Self is gone and will never return. It's time for Illinois to look at what they have and be happy again. Running the show is a proven winner in Bruce Weber. A mastermind when it comes to basketball knowledge. A likable personality with wit and humor as he shoots from the hip. On Saturday night after the Memphis game, Bruce Weber addressed the media on some issues that had been bothering him.
"You guys always ask me about my ties and my shirts and all that. The other day I wore a black tie, pants, and sport coat and I told the guys before the game this is a funeral. It was for the end of Bill Self. There's no more comparing. He's gone and there will be no more talking about it. To be honest, I'm fed up with it."
Reasonably so Weber is fed up with the comparisons that Bill Self would be doing a better job. Weber feels that some Illini fans must have bad memories of what Bill actually accomplished. Weber has faced Self's teams in the past and fared quite well.
" I heard one guy say that if Self was coaching here he would have beat Providence by 10 points. When I faced Bill with 13 minutes left in the game at SIU we were up 27 points. He had an NBA guy in (Daniel) Ruffin too. Then we faced him at Illinois and we led down the stretch. They had 3 NBA guys and we had 2 development league players. Unless he's a miracle worker, I kicked his butt in those games." Weber is doing his best to show his new team that he knows what he's talking about and that he's willing to go to battle with them. He expects the same from them. "I told the guys I was going to coach my butt off tonight and hoped they played their butts off.
I've said all along that Deron bought into my system first. Then I've had to do some psychological motivation with Nick. Dee is slowly getting on our side and James has been on our side the whole time. The freshman don't know any better because I'm the only coach they've had," Weber said.
Weber is also frustrated that he's received some negative letters from people that don't seem to remember things very well. One letter said that Bill Self never lost a game by over 20 points. Weber refuted that by saying "He lost 10 games by 20 points in his 3 years here."
Weber also received a letter saying that he's totally ruined the returning players. "If you go back to the last 10 games of last year and compare stats of this year and last year there's no comparison. Deron and James are doubling everything so it's like wait a minute, someone's not remembering here or they're not paying attention," Weber said.
Weber concluded by saying "Have we played great? No. Were we horrible in the 2nd half against Providence? Yes but it happens."
Weber is definitely on the right track. By standing up to his adversaries he's showing his players that he means business and he's confident in his way of doing things. Ladies and gentleman, Bill Self is gone. Bruce Weber is here to take Illinois to the next level. The players are coming together and showing their support for Weber. Will you support him or continue to tear him down? The choice is yours.