Thursday, November 21, 2013

What Does A Fan Say?


If you havn't been fortunate enough to hear the viral video and song of "What does the Fox Say?" by Ylvis.   Just take a few minutes out of your day and Youtube it sometime. 

Spoiler is supremely annoying.

Which brings me to this point. 

What does a fan say? 

In particular to when his favorite team is punked on national signing day.  Let me give you a hint. 

It starts with a d and rhymes with ram.

The past week Illini Nation took one on the chin with the announcement of Cliff Alexander and Quentin Snider ultimately choosing to continue their "education" elsewhere in 2014.

This happens year in and year out with schools and recruits.  Commitments and decommitments.  It just becomes commonplace for teenage athletes to try and make decisions that impact their lives forever without hurting someone in the process. 

It just sucks when it happens to involve the team for which your loyalties lie. 

The day started off like any other when the sun came up.  Illini fans everywhere were preparing for a celebration of the hard work John Groce has put in during the short time he has been on campus.  His time has been short but his efforts have been mighty. 

He and his staff worked the state of Illinois and city of Chicago diligently and respectfully.  They were classy in their approach to the kids they were recruiting.  They were building relationships that seemed to be genuine from all parties involved.

Then the first bomb dropped. 


Quentin Snider has recommitted to Illinois and has chosen to sign with Louisville. 

Damn #1.

The point guard of our future was giving us a sequel to the "Eric Gordon" fiasco.  At first I was upset and angry.  After an hour of fuming with other fans I took a step back and thought about being in his shoes.  He was from Louisville and had committed there initially and was committed for a few years until they had another point guard commit. 

He felt jilted and wanted to look elsewhere.  He decommitted and looked at his options outside of Louisville, Kentucky.  He decided upon Illinois and everything seemed headed in the right direction for him and Illini faithful. 

This changed when the point guard who committed then changed his mind and decommitted and opened his recruitment up.  Are you sensing a pattern here?

Teenage kids make decisions at times that make you scratch your head and then you remember what you were like as a kid and it becomes crystal clear. 

Snider loves where he is from and wanted to represent his state.  I can't fault him for that.  It is the same situation the University of Illinois wants for the players here.  We want our best players to stay home.  Represent their state.  Have a sense of pride for where you come from.  Not take your talents to another state and institution. 

I have to give Quentin credit for doing what he felt was right.  At least he did it now and not half way through next season if he was unhappy.  If her truly didn't want to be an Illini then better to say goodbye now rather than later.  

At the end of the day he didn't want to be at Illinois and Coach Groce has been very clear he wants good people and players that want to be at the University of Illinois. 

This brings me to Damn #2. 

The day had gone from culmination of hard work and reaping the rewards to a potential disaster if and only if Cliff would decide to sign with someone other than Illinois. 


That scenario became a reality when in front of a national television audience on ESPNU Cliff picked up that Illinois hat, then oh wait, I mean then picked up the Kansas hat and the proverbial shit hit the fan. 

I have a great deal of respect for Cliff and his talents.  He is a monster player and will be a high lottery pick in the NBA draft someday.  What I hope for him is during his year in college I hope he takes an ethics class and learns what is right and what is wrong.  I again go back to the fact he and his entourage thought this was a funny way to make the television experience better.  It is the Twitter and Facebook universe and these kids don't think before they act. 

Once you make a decision and put yourself out there it is out there forever.  There are no "do-overs" in life.  Eminem said it best, "You only get one shot do not miss your chance to blow because opportunity comes once in lifetime."

The battles in recruiting are as stressful on a coaching staff than anything they will do in their professional life.  It single handily gets coaches hired and fired for their ability to build relationships with teenage phenoms and their representatives.  The amount of time and effort put in on each and every player is mind boggling.

The lack of respect given to all the other coaches and institutions of higher learning by Cliff Alexander and this stunt by faking to pick up one hat for the other was asinine.  It was a low class move towards others and the feeling was felt throughout the Illinois Fighting Illini faithful.

Don't get me wrong here.  I am not a hypocrite.  Had Cliff chose Illinois and done that to another school I would have felt the same way.  I would have been elated he chose Illinois and thought of better times watching my favorite team but still you don't disrespect others on national TV like that. 

You certainly don't do it you your home state and where you come from.  You have to come back home eventually and his will only be after one year of college.

This is the hardest part for me to understand.  I guess that is just the "Chicago way". 

Coach Groce, as he has always been, handled the situation with class.  His press conference was inspiring and made Illini fans feel proud to be affiliated with this team and coaching staff.  He emphasized the additions made and not the subtractions from what was once considered a top 14 recruiting class.


Leron Black & Michael Finke. 

The 2014 Illini recruiting class.  We look forward to seeing these fine young men represent the Fighting Illini in the future. 

I wrote before that the train is coming.  This is still true.  There are just a few stops and starts along the way. 

So the question posed earlier was "What does a Fan say?"

They say, "I am proud to be an Illini fan and I will follow my team through thick and thin."

Yeah, that sounds pretty good to me.


  1. Let’s see, Illinois gets rid of Weber because he could only win with Self’s players and couldn’t recruit. So, they hire Groce who can win with Weber’s players and now find out he can’t recruit either. How about hiring a name coach who can recruit and win. No, wait, no name coach will take the Illinois job.

    1. I wouldn't pigeon hole John Groce just yet on his ability to recruit. He has made great strides in a relatively short time within the state and out of state. He already has two Simeon kids on campus with another committed for 2015. He has players rated in the 2015 Top 10 interested in this program. It only takes one to make the leap of faith and it will happen. He has done more in this amount of time than Bruce Weber ever did in his tenure as Illini head coach. You can go back into my archives and see that I felt originally that John Groce was the right man for the job before he was hired. National perception on who everyone else feels is a "name" coach and that they were the right guy for the job is just glorified B.S. Nobody knows what is really going on behind closed doors and speculation from media types creates the misguided views of people like you, "Mr. Basketball". Weber was a terrible recruiter and paid for it with his job. As you can see he is keeping up that horrible recruiting tradition by adding a two player class that includes a juco player and a low level recruit from Illinois. He couldn't bring players to Champaign and their fans are finding out he can't bring players to Manhattan, KS either.

  2. As a person who is not an Illinois fan, I have a different perspective on Cliff Alexander and his “hat trick”.

    Cliff is 18 and in high school. You said that you remember what you were like in high school? I don’t think you do, because forgiving Snider when he switched schools and blaming Alexander because he also switched school and had a little fun in so doing shows you have no sense of humor.

    Some people that age can be as mature as adults, most aren’t. They live for the moment, do not think about consequences and like to have fun.

    And, the “hat trick” was not only funny, it was really funny, if you’re not an Illini fan that is. Seeing that group of U of I students going crazy when Cliff picked up the Illinois hat, and then watching their faces when he switched to the Kansas hat was hilarious.

    Since most Illini fans are also Cub fan, I would think you would be used to this sort of ending. Get use to disappointment, there is a lot more coming down the road.

    1. My point I was making is that teenagers do things without thinking. I do understand what I was like at that age. I would probably have done and did do somethings that were dumb. I just didn't have national TV there to broadcast it. I then thought about my actions and felt bad about them because I realized what I do affects others. I hope you had a great laugh at the expese of Illini fans everywhere. I will be laughing just as loud when Jhonney Peralta gets suspended again for using PED's since the Cardinals obviously felt it is ok to sign drug users to their team. That sends a wonderful message to Cardinals fans and kids everywhere.

  3. Nice to see Weber is at .500 with his 3-3 record. Losing to Northern Colorado and Charlotte will sure look good on his record. Bruce lost a few of Frank Martin's players and the win total will be down this year.

    Man, do I wish he was still in Champaign!

  4. Mr. Maxeymum, first of all I am not a Weber fan, I don’t like him or anyone who is or was associated with Illinois sports. But, give Weber his due, he did recruit a top 15 class of players in 2010. I have always considered you to be a fair minded person and am surprised that you do know this or are deliberately ignoring it. He also took Illinois to a Final Four championship game. Can Groce do either of these? If not, then you will be compelled to say Groce is an even worse coach than Weber.

    Why do I have to take up all my valuable time straightening you Illinois fans out?

  5. Mr. need straightened out! He did get Illinois to a Final 4. He also got Illinois to a 'Final 64' with HIS OWN players.

    Your not fooling anybody. You are a Weber fan!

  6. Mr. Maxeymum, you need to control your leaps of illogic. I am not a Bruce Weber fan. I don't like Illinois basketball. I don't like their uniforms, their coaches past and present, their players, their arena, and most of all I don't like their fans.

    This is my last post on this topic, because you don't want the truth -- you can't handle the truth.

    1. I appreciate your comments and look forward to reading more of them in the future. I too would consider myself a fair minded person. I do want the truth in all matters. It would be interesting to hear where your loyalties lie. I am not ignoring what Weber did in 2010 and am not blind by the fact he was coach of the team in 2005 when they went to the Final Four and NCAA championship game. I am also not ignoring the fact that if Dee, Deron, and Luther weren't on the court the last 4+ minutes against Arizona that this would even be a debate. Players win games and players lose games. I do agree with you this should end this discussion and look forward to my next post. Regardless of things written within these latest comments just talking about sports is what I enjoy and hope you do too. I just hope the level of angst towards others can stay at calm level. I have no control over what people post within comments but can only control my own response. Have a great day and look forward to what comes next.