• Fred Nkemdi has been a walk-on for the past two seasons and has won a pair of Big Ten championships. He will earn a degree in political science this May and plans to enroll in law school following graduation. • Jack Ingram transferred to Illinois after playing his first two seasons at Tulsa. He has won a pair of Big Ten championships as well as a Big Ten tournament title the past three seasons. Ingram will earn a degree in electrical engineering this May. • Roger Powell, Jr. and Luther Head are wrapping up their careers as four-year letterwinners. The Illini have compiled a record of 105-23 (.820), have won three Big Ten championships and a Big Ten Tournament championship during their tenure. Powell will earn a degree in speech communications this May, while Head will complete his coursewook in sports management this May and will need only a summer internship to earn his bachelor's degree. • Nick Smith owns the most Big Ten titles of any player ever to suit up in an Illini basketball uniform. During his five years, the Illini have gone 132-31 (.810), have won four Big Ten championships and a Big Ten Tournament championship. Smith has already earned a bachelor's degree in finance and will earn his master's degree in finance this May.
In addition to their career accomplishments, these five seniors have helped take the program to new heights this year, with the team in the midst of a record-setting season with its current 28-0 overall record, 14-0 Big Ten record, and No. 1 ranking in the national polls for 13 consecutive weeks.
Weber Named Finalist for Jim Phelan Coach of the Year
Bruce Weber has been named one of 10 finalists for the Jim Phelan National Coach of the Year, which is presented by CollegeInsider.com. The voting is done by a 21-member panel made up of current and retired head coaches, athletic administrators and members of the media. In addition to Weber, other finalists are Ray Giacoletti (Utah), Bobby Lutz (Charlotte), Bruce Pearl (Wisconsin-Milwaukee), Skip Prosser (Wake Forest), Al Skinner (Boston College), Tubby Smith (Kentucky), Bob Thomason (Pacific), Ralph Willard (Holy Cross) and Roy Williams (North Carolina). The winner will be announced on April 1 in St. Louis.
Illini Trio Named Finalists for Oscar Robertson Player of the Year
Illinois leads the way with three players named to the list of 16 finalists for the Oscar Robertson Player of the Year, as voted on by the U.S. Basketball Writers Association. Starting guards Dee Brown, Deron Williams and Luther Head all appear on the USBWA ballot for the Oscar Robertson Trophy, which will be awarded on April 1 in St. Louis.
Illinois is the only remaining NCAA Div. I team in the country to boast a perfect record, and with 28 victories has the most wins in the nation.
Information provided by the official University of Illinois press release
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