Trent Meacham will wear the #1 next year for the Illinois Fighting Illini men's basketball team. However, Meacham knows he's the forgotten man on next year's team. Why? "Because I transferred in from a smaller school and I'm a local guy. Who knows? Maybe they don't expect much from me," said Meacham.
Meacham knows that people may not see him as being the "man" next year, but for those who have seen him play, he will be a nice addition to Head Coach Bruce Weber's team next season. Meacham is a guard that handles the ball very well, shoots it well, and is a very good defender - all qualities that Weber looks for in a guard.
"Summer school just started about two weeks ago, so the team has been lifting and playing four days a week. I really think we will be good again this year. It's going to be tough to replace guys like James Augustine and Dee Brown, but I think we have some guys that will step up. For example, Marcus Arnold has really improved his game and he's really shooting the jump shot a lot better," he added.
Looking at next year's team you have to wonder where or who will be the stars to replace Augustine and Brown. The two names that Meacham said without hesitation were sophomore guard Jamar Smith and junior Brian Randle. "Jamar last year was one of the best shooters in the country and this year during open gym you can just see how much better he's gotten since the season has been over. And Brian has the potential to be our best player next year; he looks really good right now too," said Meacham.
This group plans to work just like all the past Illini teams because they are fully aware of the tradition that has been built at Illinois. The players plan to help along the new guys and stay close as a unit until the season ends next year. This summer the weights along with the fall conditioning will be key to the success of Weber's team.
It's safe to say that Smith will be one of the starting guards next season but from having seen Meacham play, don't count this coachable kid out.
Bio source U of I SID office: Earned four varsity letters at Centennial ...High school coach was Tim Lavin ...Averaged 18.1 points, 4.0 rebounds and 5.6 assists as a senior ...Big 12 Conference MVP and Champaign-Urbana News-Gazette All-Area Player of the Year ... First-team All-State selection by the News-Gazette and IBCA ...Averaged 16.4 points, 3.8 rebounds and 4.0 assists as a junior and was named all-area and all-conference ...Played for the Martin Brothers Select AAU program out of Iowa, which won the 2004 Senior Boys AAU national championship ...Scored 34 points in the championship game ...Named MVP in leading Martin Brothers to the 2003 Nike Memorial Day Classic championship