Dee Brown is the pre-season All-American and will be fine this year. Yes, he's not off to a great shooting start and it's clear he's not shooting the ball the way the season ended last year. Head Coach Bruce Weber has told Illini fans this year would be like his first year at Illinois. "We will have a different look than last year. We're probably not going to go 37-2, but once all the new players figure out what were trying to do we can be pretty good," said Weber.
Just look at the Utah Jazz and Houston Rockets and you will see how important Deron Williams and Luther Head were to the Illini. Both guards would make the All-NBA Rookie team if votes were handed out today. Last week when I spoke with Eric Gordon, the Illini's newest verbal commitment, he stated how well Head was doing and said it's because of the coaching he received from Weber.
Dee Brown is the same player he was last year and maybe even better this year because he's much more vocal than years' past and looks to attack the rim a little more. The key for Brown to improve his shooting percentage is when guards Rich McBride and Jamar Smith and forward Brian Randle "truly" understand motion. When that happens, Brown will not have to hoist up shots to beat the shot clock.
In the UNC game Brown was 6-19 and 0-6 from three point land, and in Saturday's win over Xavier Brown was 4-16 and 3-10 from the arc. Once the other players become more consistent like Williams and Head, Brown's shooting percentage will increase. For anyone to say Brown is not one of the best players in college basketball is absurd.
Another knock I'm hearing on Brown is that he's not making the players around him better. James Augustine is getting more shots now than he did last year, and Brown is making sure McBride and Smith are catching and shooting in positions where they can score.
The Illini are 7-0 and being tested every time they take the court. At this stage of the year Coach Weber's main goal should be to make his team better each time out. The players get better and he can settle in on an 8-9 man rotation.
Michigan State is one of the class teams in the conference and right now they are 5-2, with one of those losses from Hawaii (84-62). At this point Brown, Weber and the Illini may be ahead of the learning curve.