Spring Mailbag I
I'm just so out of sorts with no "spring" football this year. As a man of routine, I've felt out of sync since March. So let's get back in some type of groove by running through a few mailbag posts. Beginning with today's arrests.
First off, I'm not really sure if Twitter embeds work with the new format. I don't know why I'm saying this out loud. Either this will work or it won't...
@ALionEye In your opinion, how do the arrests affect recruiting? Do other teams use that as a neg. recruiting tool? Or is just the media attn. enough?
-- Ryan McCoy (@RyanMcCoy_12) May 10, 2017
First, a word on the arrests. I'm sure you're having the same reaction I'm having. Something seems... off. Like we're missing a piece of information. From what I read in the News-Gazette story, three football players break into a room in Bromley wearing masks, and when the victim recognizes Darta Lee, he takes off his mask and attempts to play off the robbery as a prank, but then they leave with cash anyway? What?
Like, if you took out the "they left with an undisclosed amount of cash" part, it almost makes sense as a ridiculously dumb prank. They bust in, the person recognizes them, LOL J/K J/K we were just playin'. But it sounds like this was an actual robbery? An actual robbery of someone they knew where one of them took their mask off?
Anyway, as always, we wait for more details and withhold judgment until we know what exactly happened. If it was an armed robbery, they're all gone (and likely headed to jail for a significant period of time). Which is a pretty tragic tale for three freshmen.
How will it affect recruiting? I guess I can't really see how it would. If true, they'll be dismissed just like Jody Ellis and Derrick McPhereson were dismissed 11 years ago after being caught with the stolen laptops and then their scholarships will be given to new recruits immediately. It's a media hit to be sure, and given that Watkins was one of the players Lovie brought in as an early-enrollee, this can't just be played off as "Cubit's recruits did something dumb", but I'm not sure it affects recruiting.
It will be interesting to see where this goes. I feel like we HAVE to learn more information soon which helps clarify some things. Because un-masked armed robbery of someone who knew the players is just so hard to fathom.
@ALionEye You know any kids that are 6-foot-8 or taller, can shoot a basketball and are entering college this fall?
-- Brian Crozier (@BriCrozier) May 10, 2017
OK, he's only 6'-7"ish, but as of right now, after DJ Williams left, we're down to nine players for next year, seven of them guards, and one of them (DaMonte Williams) is coming off ACL surgery in January. So with only two conventional "bigs" on the entire roster (and only 8 players in the rotation), even the slightest bit of foul trouble suggests that a walkon like Liss might get in the game.
This would change, obviously, if we added any fifth-year transfers, but as of right now, I really do think we'll turn to Liss here and there. And that's even with assuming that Kipper plays a ton of frontcourt minutes (the biggest plus for Brad Underwood right now - Kipper can guard the opposing team's four). Leron and Finke are both going to have four fouls during some game next year and we'll have no choice but to turn to someone else. And I really do think that someone else will be walkon Cameron Liss.
Now, there is that one guy from Georgetown who would be immediately eligible (and he's visiting Champaign tomorrow). So if that were to somehow miraculously happen, then everything looks different next year. But yeah, for now, the only tall guy I'm aware of who can fill in when there's foul trouble would be walkon Cameron Liss.
@ALionEye OL rotation for the next couple years assuming the two guys from today aren't on the team any longer
-- Aaron Tuttle (@Illiniwek15) May 11, 2017
Assuming they're both dismissed from the team, I'd say this puts pressure on a few guys from the Cubit class (Kurt Gavin and Doug Kramer) and the recent Lovie class (Larry Boyd and Vederian Lowe) to be ready to play sooner rather than later. I had Lee penciled in as the starter at right guard on my latest depth chart (with the caveat that if Doug Kramer is ready to take the center spot, Nick Allegretti goes to right guard and Lee to the bench), so I'm going to lean towards that option. Put me down for:
Looking at it that way, I'd say the pressure is on Doug Kramer (which is completely unfair given that he's still just a redshirt freshman and he still needs to add 25-30 lbs). If Lee is gone from right guard, the options are to slide Larry Boyd in there as a true freshman (a real possibility) or put Allegretti back over there and give the center spot to Kramer.
So be ready, Doug Kramer. (Possibly) losing two interior linemen today means that you need to be ready as soon as August.
More mailbaggery tomorrow. I think I'll do one per day for the next week.