Illinois Basketball Program Signs Three

CHAMPAIGN, ILL.-University of Illinois men's basketball head coach Bruce Weber announced today the signing of three in-state standouts, Demetri McCamey, Bill Cole and Mike Tisdale, to national letters of intent on the first day of the fall signing period.

Demetri McCamey is a 6-3, 205-pound point guard from Westchester, Ill. He attends St. Joseph High School under the direction of legendary coach Gene Pingatore. The first Illini signee ever from St. Joseph, McCamey averaged 14 points, six rebounds, seven assists and three steals as a junior, helping lead St. Joseph to the IHSA Class AA Sectional Finals. He was a second-team All-State selection by the Champaign-Urbana News-Gazette, third-team All-State by the IBCA, and an East Suburban Catholic All-Conference honoree. McCamey is a consensus national Top-100 recruit, receiving four stars by (No. 79). McCamey also played for the Illinois Wolves AAU team coached by Mike Mullins.

"The first thing that stands out about Demetri is that he has a big body for a point guard," Weber said. "He has great point guard skills and good athletic ability. He is a team-first player who is a leader and has the ability to score, create and defend. Demetri has benefited from playing for a legend in Coach Pingatore who does an outstanding job of developing players and teaching kids how to play. Demetri has a great personality. He is a fun-loving kid who has been very vocal about how excited he is to be coming to Illinois."

Bill Cole is a 6-9, 200-pound power forward from Peoria, Ill. He attends Richwoods High School under the direction of head coach Mike Ellis. Cole averaged 15.5 points, 9.1 rebounds and 3.8 blocks as a junior, leading Richwoods to a runner-up finish at the 2006 IHSA Class AA state tournament, where the Knights were defeated in the championship game by Simeon, 31-29 in overtime. The reigning Class AA Peoria Journal Star Player of the Year, Cole was a first-team All-State selection by the IBCA, second-team All-State by the Chicago Tribune and News-Gazette and honorable mention All-State by the Associated Press. He is a three-star recruit by Cole also played for the Illinois Warriors AAU team coached by Larry Butler.

Cole's father, Terry, was a four-year letterwinner at defensive end on the Illini football team from 1980-83, participating on the UI's 1983 Big Ten Championship squad that played in the Rose Bowl. His sister, Stephanie, is currently a sophomore at Illinois. Cole continues the tradition of Peoria's top prep players signing with Illinois. Since Jerry Hester first suited up for the Illini in the fall of 1993, Illinois carries a current streak of having at least one Peoria native on its roster for 14 straight seasons.

"Bill has very good skills and has a great knowledge of the game; he understands how to play," Weber said. "At his height he's probably meant to be more of a power forward, but with his game he plays more of a skilled forward. Coach Ellis does a nice job running motion and they have Bill at 6-9 running off screens, looking to get jump shots. So he gives you a different look from that position than you're used to seeing. He has won at the high school level, leading Richwoods to the state championship game last year. He also has great loyalty to Illinois and has strong family ties to the University with his dad having played football and his sister currently attending here."

Mike Tisdale is a 7-0, 215-pound center from Riverton, Ill. He attends Riverton High School under the direction of head coach Jon Hampton. Tisdale averaged 21.1 points, 9.2 rebounds and 4.9 blocks as a junior, leading Riverton to the IHSA Class A Super-Sectionals. The Springfield State Journal-Register's Class A Player of the Year last season, Tisdale also earned first-team All-State honors by the IBCA and second-team All-State recognition by the News-Gazette. He is a three-star recruit by Tisdale also played for the St. Louis Eagles AAU team coached by Eric Long, Roy Pierce and Cory Frazier.

"Mike is obviously a big kid who is very young for his class, having just turned 17, so he's just starting to catch up with his body," Weber said. "What we noticed right away about Mike is that he already has very good skills and great footwork for a seven-footer. He has worked hard and his coaches have done a nice job putting in extra time with him on individual improvement, helping him gain coordination and explosiveness. With his combination of skills and size, Mike has outstanding potential."

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