November 1st should be the day former Illini Dee Brown knows whether he will play this season with the Utah Jazz. For years Dee dazzled Illini fans. He brought back the headband and I'm 100% sure Dee's responsible for the pulling of the jersey on the chest because it happened during a great game at Mackey Arena playing the Purdue Boilermakers a few years ago.
Last night I spoke with Ms. Cathy Brown-Blocker to see how Dee was doing. "I talk to Dee about every other night. I try to give him his space but he's doing good. I think Dee will be fine; he's a good athlete. I've been following him since he was young and I know what kind of person and player he is."
When the lights finally come on it's going to be a lot different without Dee, that's for sure. "Dee touched a lot of hearts when he was at Illinois. I'm going to miss coming to the games, but I will still support Illinois," said Ms. Brown-Blocker.
Like most former parents Brown-Blocker has an opinion on the U of I and this is what she had to say about Dee's decision to come to Illinois and what she thinks of the university. "I never told him what school to pick; he was going to be the one playing there not me. But what I don't understand, and Dee and I talked about this, was why do you want to live in Illinois and go to a school like Arizona, North Carolina or Duke? I mean, I loved coming to the games. I could drive down to see him play every game and parents whose children leave the state can't do that. I've never been able to figure that out. Dee knew right away he wanted to play for Illinois. I just told him let me know before the media finds out and before you call a coach to tell him where you want to play. Illinois is a great, great university to get a degree from. Most guys go to college though for the coach, I know that," Brown-Blocker said.
The NBA is something new for Ms. Brown-Blocker. "I like it. I have seen Dee play a couple times, but it's going to take some time for me to get used to it. They really don't play much defense like in college, but I'm not complaining. It's a totally different game. Usually during the playoffs you see the defense get a little better. Coach Weber did a good job with all the boys, especially in the ‘05 season. He's a good coach," she added.
Having covered the Illini, I think it's safe to say not only will Dee Brown be missed in Assembly Hall this winter, but I know I will miss Cathy Brown-Blocker waving her two fingers in the air that represented #11 for her son - Dee Brown.