Brumby's Daily Column: October 12, 2005

Brumby looks at some of the news articles that are revolving around college athletics for the day and provides some thoughts on them and the world of Illini sports.

So, here I am for the second straight day writing a Daily Column. The odds this idea of a daily column continues to happen daily (at least during the week) are about the same as the Back Page being updated once again. Translation: This column will not be daily, but I will try to make it daily, assuming I am not too lazy. Yesterday, I looked at Gregg Doyel's positional rankings for point guards. Today, Doyel released his rankings for shooting guards. I can honestly say I am not surprised that JJ Redick is listed as the number one shooting guard in the country, because I agree with that statement, but it is something Doyel said in his write up that has me wondering:

He's on pace for 2,500 career points, and while he hit 40.3 percent of his 3-pointers last season, that's a number that doesn't do this shooter justice.
Now, I don't know how hitting 40.3% of your three-point attempts does not show that you are a very talented shooter. While it does not put you in the Salim Stoudamire or Steve Kerr stratosphere, it is not like these numbers show JJ is building an addition on to Cameron Indoor Stadium with his bricks. While no one is denying JJ is a great shooter, the question I have is how good of an offensive player is he?

One of the ways to look at how efficient an offensive player someone is, would be to look at the number of points the score per shot attempt. According to ESPN.com's player page, JJ scores on average 1.46 points per shot attempt. What that does not take into account is how often JJ ends up at the free throw line. When you take this into account, JJ's points per shot attempt decreases from the 1.46 to 1.23. This 1.23 is still good, but it does not answer why his efficiency diminishes. The reason is relatively simple, JJ was a great free throw shooter, so when you take into account the 209 free throws that he attempted last season as offensive opportunities, his efficiency decreases. (The actual formula for how the weighting should be done was developed by people far more intelligent than me like John Hollinger).

Why does JJ Redick's efficiency decrease despite such a high free throw percentage? He only shot 41.5% from inside the three point arc last season. He was a much less effective scorer when he was not spotting up behind the three point line. So, while I agree with Doyel that JJ should be the best shooting guard in the NCAA this season, his 40.3% three point shooting percentage more than does him justice as a shooter.

When looking through the rest of these rankings, I am trying to figure out why some players are listed, and others are not. First, where is JamesOn Curry? Is he going to be ranked as a small forward? If not, this is the most egregious mistake from the lists of either point guards, or shooting guards.

The name I really like to see on this list is St. John's Daryll Hill. It will be interesting to see how the 5'11" junior progresses this season. Norm Roberts will be hoping that Hill can improve his shooting percentage, and if he does he could become one of the surprise players in the Big East this season and lead St. John's to some upsets.

That is enough on Doyel, and his opinions. Friday night is the start of practice for the Fighting Illini basketball team and Mark Tupper is getting excited, and lists out many of the recruits that are planned to be in attendance for the festivities. Among those recruits listed: Bill Cole, Eric Gordon, Michael Tisdale, and Eric Shang Ping. Tupper also lists that some young players will be in attendance, and the key kids from St. Joseph's and Lincoln Park. So who are these players that Tupper eludes to in this blog entry?

Through some guessing, I would think the players he is talking about are: Demetri McCamey and Evan Turner from St. Joe's and then the Montgomery brothers, Jeremy (2008) and Jonathon (2007) from Lincoln Park. Jeremy Montgomery is right now ranked as the number two prospect in the state of Illinois according to Frank Rusnak's High School Elite in the Class of 2008.

If you need even more of a basketball fill, please look at the IlliniBoard.com Season Preview Articles that have been posted yesterday and today.

Looking back to the football team, Ron Zook met with the media today. The highlights from Zook's luncheon were:

I think there's a chance we're going to talk about getting Brit Miller to play linebacker a little bit more. I mean, here's a guy that searched me out after the game because he knew in punt coverage he ran out of his lane, and he explained to me why. Here's a guy who's an athletic guy, so we're going to try to get him on the field a little bit more.
This is a good sign. Illinois needs to get more speed on the defensive side of the ball, and if Brit Miller can easily own up to mistakes he made in punt coverage and know why he made them, that is a good sign. With the season out of the way, now is a time for the young players to get some experience where they will be used the most often, and for Miller that will be linebacker in the future.

I talked to Corn Flakes [Kisan Flakes] last night about possibly lining up as a wide receiver. (I) told him I wasn't going to make him do it, but if he wanted to do it, we'd take a look at him there.
I don't know what I think about moving Flakes to wide receiver. While I really want to see him on the field, I am not sure he can help the Illini the most as a wide receiver. I still think he would help the Illini the most as a quarterback, especially in the spread offense, but his run in with the law earlier this year removed any possibility of him player quarterback this year. When you combine that with Isiah Williams coming into Champaign next season, if Kisan wants to see any time on the field in orange & blue, it might be better for him to move to wide receiver, and see if he can stick it out there.

On another football note, I received this note from IlliniHimey that he was forwarding on to the Big Ten Head of Officials in Park Ridge, and I figured I could post it for all to see.

Mr. David Parry, Supervisor of Big 10 Officials
Big 10 Conference
1500 West Higgins
Park Ridge, IL 60068-6300

     RE: Illinois vs. Indiana Game

Dear David:

A new year. A new coach. Yet, the same old problems.

Since 1993 I have probably written the Big 10 Office and/or you at least 5 times. I have left messages for you and/or spoken with you no less than 20 times.

Conversation after conversation, year after year, I hear the same old thing:

"The officials are human."
"We do our best."
"There is no favoritism."

My favorite conversation with you was after the 2000 season. Over the past 15 years of Big 10 football I can think of no bigger travesty than the 2000 Michigan/Illinois football game. In my opinion, that game single-handedly created the need for instant replay. Yet, in our post-season conversation, you told me that there was no need for replay. You stated that it would be too cost prohibitive. Finally, you told me that you doubted that it would ever happen under your watch.

Lo and behold, replay has arrived. You are still employed. And more importantly, grave mistakes continue to be made when it affects the Illini.

I never expected Illinois to make a bowl this year. I predicted that Illinois would lose to Indiana. However, I never predicted so many screw-ups in one game, all going against Illinois.

Before I get to my points, will Saturday's officiating crew officiate another Illini game this year? If so, it will be all the proof I need that you and your office do not care about the product that you are responsible for.

Here are the points:

Illinois' Onside Kick
If I understand things correctly, the opinion is that the ball did not travel the full 10 yards. Replays clearly show that it did. For some reason, one official not even close to the play was the one that ruled the ball had not gone the full 10 yards. Instead of Illinois getting the ball near the 40 yard line, Indiana gets the benefit of a short field. How can this official do this? I understand that Coach Zook went right to Jim Delaney with this one. Good for him.

The Phantom Pass Interference Call
The same official that blew the onside kick call also blew this one. Illinois' Alan Ball was the supposed culprit of this one. As reports have shown, you apologized to Coach Zook for this bad call. So, as with past years, I have to ask- will this official be retained for future work? Will he call other Illini games this year? If the answer is 'yes' to either of these questions, I will consider your response to be proof that there continues to be no accountability in your office.

Indiana's Holding Call
I have followed high school, college, and pro football religiously since 1975. Over those 30 years I have never seen an offensive holding call signaled, then, reversed. I can not wait for the explanation of that one. I think Coach Zook is also awaiting a 'real' explanation here.

Derrick McPherson TD
There is not one single angle on replay that proves conclusively that the catch was not a catch. How then could your officials screw this one up? What in the world were they looking at?

It is beyond sad that so early into Coach Zook's tenure at Illinois, he has already had to face so many officiating gaffes in one game. If I had to guess, he has probably been warned by Ron Guenther and others in the athletic office that he should simply expect it.

Over the past 13 years, no good reason has ever been given as to the reason(s) why Illinois always gets the officiating shaft. You simply insist that they are mere errors. I always insist that the calls prove that they go against Illinois more often than not. Replay over the years has proven that Illinois is right to complain. However, those complaints continue to fall on deaf ears.

Worse, as these issues continue, the same screw-ups that you call officials continue to earn a salary from the Big 10. Do you understand that this is proof that there never is accountability? Why can't your officials simply do the right thing and let the players decide the outcome? Who knows, Illinois still may have lost. However, with so many grave errors made, I fully understand why they lost in the manner in which they did.

Every Saturday I see the only proof that I need to see. I am bound to see Bill LeMonnier refereeing some Big 10 game on any given Saturday. How/why that guy was retained after the 2000 Illinois/Michigan game is simply beyond comprehension.

Sincerely,
IlliniHimey

I think this pretty much sums up the feelings of Illini fans, and the underdog in general, when it comes to the officials and how their calls can effect the outcome of the game. I have already heard that the Big Ten office has apologized, at least privately, to the University of Illinois for the bad calls, but that really is no consolation. Those calls probably would not have turned around the game against the Hoosiers, but they definitely did have an impact in how the game was played on Saturday afternoon.

In some news on the NBA front, it was good to see Luther Head on the court in a Houston Rockets uniform (Box Score | Recap). I just caught the final few minutes of the Rockets pre-season game on NBA TV, but the Houston announcers could not talk enough about their rookie guard. Luther scored 13 points on 4-of-19 shooting, and did not play until the second half when Houston made their run. After the game, Luther was interviewed by the Houston announcers, who were surprised at what their new rookie could do on the court. When asked where he learned to take the ball to the basket because all they remember seeing about Luther on TV was his ability to shoot the ball, Luther said that the drive has always been a part of his game, and that he did not learn to shoot until his sophomore year when he had his sports hernia. Nothing else much, but I did like Luther acknowledging that the injury he sustained his freshman season forced him to become an all around basketball player because he could no longer jump out of the gym and out athlete everybody. It is amazing how things work out, especially when it comes to injuries.

In some more news on the NBA front, Phoenix's Amare Stoudamire is out for four months with a knee injury. Well, it was nice knowing you Phoenix. Combine Steve Nash's age, the loss of Joe Johnson to Atlanta, and no Amare for four months and you have a recipe for a disaster.


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