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 Alert...it 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.
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.
Posted by WGCY Newsroom at 6:55 PM