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#AskTCR Mailbag: Jalen Brunson Or Carlton Bragg?



All right, so yesterday we had the Forgotten Questions edition of the #AskTCR Mailbag because my dumb ass found a whole bunch of questions that were asked before we switched the the #AskTCR format on Twitter, and I felt like an asshole for not answering them.

Well, while I'm still an asshole, it felt good to know I solved the problems of those people who had been waiting for over a month. Today, however, we get back on schedule. Plenty of you sent in questions of your own this week and I wouldn't want to ignore them for the sake of old questions because that would just be a shameful cycle, wouldn't it?

If you have a question -- and it can be about ANYTHING -- you'd like to see answered in next week's mailbag, here's how you go about doing that.

There are two ways to ask The Champaign Room your questions. You can tweet them at us on Twitter using the hashtag #AskTCR -- it just makes it easier to keep track -- or you can email them to us at And if you've got a personal question and you're worried about your privacy, just tell us. Well change your name to Tom Crean when we publish it on the site. And remember, you can ask us ANYTHING. It doesn't have to be about Illinois or even sports.

Now on to the questions.

I think it all depends on how things work out in the 2014 class. I know that since he got here John Groce has been looking for that point guard. We were close to getting Demetrious Jackson in the 2013 class before he chose Notre Dame. The Illini ended up getting Jaylon Tate, who is a player I think will be valuable to have, but isn't that marquee player.

In the 2014 class Groce was going after JaQuan Lyle, who may have been a perfect fit for what Groce likes to do, but he chose Louisville. Which means that, at the moment, the Illini seem to be focusing on big men in Cliff Alexander -- who is the main target from what I can tell -- along with Leron Black and maybe even Jahlil Okafor.

So if the Illini add a couple more big men to the 2014 class, there may not be as much of a need for Bragg. Especially when you consider that the Illini will be heading into 2015 with only one true point guard on the roster in Tate.

However, you asked me which one I want, and while I'm a fan of Brunson's, I'd take Bragg if I had to choose one. He's big, but he's also extremely athletic, runs the floor and makes an impact on both ends. Plus, there are going to be about five open scholarships in the 2015 class, and exceptional big men like Bragg are rare, while you can find quality point guards a lot easier. Plus having a big guy who can score like a Bragg -- OR AN ALEXANDER -- helps any point guard look even better.

So, Bragg. Though I'd gladly take both.

Maybe? Normally I wouldn't expect it because redshirts in college basketball are a lot less common than they are in football. When they do happen it's typically because of an injury or a transfer year. With so much roster turnover from year to year you usually want to get guys as much experience as possible.

That being said, the Illini as currently constructed will be pretty deep in the front-court in 2014. Right now they'd have Nnanna Egwu, Austin Colbert, Maverick Morgan and Darius Paul. Possibly even Cliff Alexander as well, and we all know that if Alexander comes to Champaign, he's not going to be redshirting.

So with that kind of depth it's possible that there will be such limited opportunity for Finke to get minutes that maybe they do redshirt him.

But since maybe isn't really an answer, I'm going to play the odds and say no.

You son of a bitch.

Seriously, have you seen our schedule? I'd gladly substitute Minnesota for Nebraska or Michigan State. Who the hell wouldn't?

I don't even care that Minnesota is trending up because at the end of the day the Gophers are still a team that hasn't won the Big Ten since 1967. You're not exactly a powerhouse, though I suppose that makes it more embarrassing that the Illini are 28-35-3 against the Gophers all-time, and only 3-7 in their last ten meetings.


I'm 32 years old. I haven't smoked weed in years. I don't watch cartoons.

Wait, actually, I do. I used to watch Futurama, but in my opinion the new seasons have been pretty mediocre, and I haven't watched The Simpsons on a regular basis in nearly a decade. However, the one animated series I still watch with regularity is South Park.

Nothing comes close to South Park.

EDIT: I can't believe I forgot Archer! Archer is amazing. South Park still gets the edge due to its longevity and consistent excellence. Though if Archer can maintain it's brilliance for another five or six years, it'll get close.

I am one of the six people on Twitter who did not watch Sharknado. I know, I'm ashamed of myself too. I do have it saved on the DVR, though, so if at any point in the future I'm so bored out of my mind that actually watching it would seem like something to do, I'll totally look out for it and let you know.

And if Tara Reid did grab the hedge trimmers, you should not be surprised because Tara Reid isn't exactly the brightest crayon in the box. Bunny Lebowski's life has taken a down turn since she returned to the Lebowski Manor.

I think it sucks, but I don't think they're getting hosed, no. It's just the way things worked out with the scheduling. Yes the Illini play at Nebraska in back-to-back seasons this year and next, but that's just the way things worked out because of the division swap. Starting next year it will alternate each season, and I'd much rather have to play in Nebraska two years in a row than be in a division with Ohio State for the rest of eternity.

Well I'll start with the professional teams. The Blackhawks and Redskins -- or any pro team -- get to keep their names because their leagues aren't making them get rid of them. The Illini had to ditch the Chief because of the NCAA, it's not like it was some government mandated law.

As for Florida State, it's just as simple. The actual Seminole tribe that the school named its teams after wanted the school to keep the nickname. Hell, they actually helped create Chief Osceola. If there were an actual Illini tribe -- the Illini are a collection of tribes -- and they had fought to keep the Chief at Illinois, we'd still have him. But they didn't, and the school didn't really seem all that interested in keeping it.

And as I've said here before, and I've said for years since this all began, I'd prefer Chief Illiniwek remained part of the school's tradition, but I'm not going to get all that worked up about it either. At the end of the day it's just a mascot, and I'm a white guy whose family came from Europe in the 20th century, so I'm not going to tell a Native American what they should or should not be offended by.

Though if getting upset over whether or not a mascot exists is your thing, hey, that's cool.


Thanks for the questions! If you submitted a question that didn't get answered, don't worry, it's possible that I'm just saving it for the next mailbag. It's also possible the question sucked and you need to ask better questions next time. I guess you'll just have to wait to find out.

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