Do you think Illinois is done with the 2007 class?
I think Illinois would be open to a best available situation provided the player in question was good enough to make an impression as a freshman. I don't see them being in a hurry to hand one out unless it's a situation where attrition would hit the program or it's a player they simply can't pass up. Having said that, the "can't miss" guys are few and far between right now. It's a tough time of the year. However, and this is kind of the way the game is today. Someone is going to be out of a job and some recruit is going to want to rethink his signing. For instance, Villanova hit the jackpot with Scottie Reynolds late last spring. That scenario is likely to pop up again but we can't predict where right now.
Quinton Watkins and Demetri McCamey are strong guards do you think Weber is trying to get back to the Luther Head and Deron Williams type guards?
I think Illinois is interested in big guards who they know are physically able to battle in the Big Ten and make shots. Who wouldn't want a duo like Williams and Head? They were difference makers and are now big earners in the league. Watkins can knock them down and has size; McCamey is like a German tank who can be a road grader on the way to the basket.
What player's appear to like Illinois for the class of 2008 or who are they going after with good intentions?
I think they obviously have a lot of affection for Michael Dunigan. Ditto for Blue Grass native Darius Miller. My take on the Class of 2008 is pretty simple: a lot of kids have tons of work to do in order to separate themselves from their peers. We've heard Trey Thompkins mention Illinois a lot of well. I think by the spring we'll have a great idea of who the primary targets are.
What's your definition of upside?
Good question and frankly it varies as upside comes in different forms. I give big fellas a lot more leeaway with upside because they take the longest to develop. Upside comes in the ability to be a part of a team and play a role. It comes in the ability play professionally. Upside can be mental, athletic or individual. Over the years you learn upside has a value but shouldn't be the sole reason to rank a player high. You give the big fellas more of a pass but to me, guys should be in the process of going from prospect to player once they are seniors in high school. We love the late bloomers and upside is important, but it's not the only trait you want to hang your hat on. Unrealized upside is bad!
From what you have seen is how is the Big Ten stacking up with other major conferences with recruiting these days?
The Big Ten is on a major high right now. For instance, the league as a unit signed more Top 25 players than any other league this year. That's a big boost to the recruiting of the conference. 4 teams are in the Top 10 in terms of recruiting classes this season so the league is clearly in the middle of a strong recruiting period.
Q. & A. With Dave Telep
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