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#AskTCR: Basketball Roster Predictions, Football Recruits, and Illini in the MLB


Toronto Blue Jays v Baltimore Orioles Photo by Matt Hazlett/Getty Images

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Your concern about the 4/5 position on next year’s lineup is justified, especially after the Tilmon saga. A couple of attractive names to add to the lineup are Cameron Johnson, Kerem Kanter, and Shakur Juiston. We wrote about Cameron Johnson and how he would be a great fit to the lineup as a transfer, and the addition of a 6’10” Kanter would work REALLY well with the needs for 2017-2018. Shakur Juiston is a stretch for next year, but he is a freshman player Illinois has given an offer to already.

Here’s what we could be looking at for next year:

1- Lucas/Frazier

2- JCL/DaMonte Williams

3- Nichols/DJ Williams

4- Black (Johnson?)/ Black (Juiston?)

5- Finke (Kanter?)/ Finke


Don’t get me wrong, having a player at 6’10” like Tilmon is EXACTLY what Illinois could use next season. But there is definitely something to be said for developing a group of players that are completely bought in to your system when trying to “rebuild” a program. There is clearly some hesitation from Tilmon’s side about joining a regime that does not have familiar faces in the coaching role, so there is no rush to commit.

And that’s perfectly fine. Keep building your program with anticipation of Tilmon not wanting to join.

As for Pickett, I would not be surprised if he looked at the two guard recruits ahead of him and realized there won’t be a lot of playing time available. Can’t blame a guy for shopping for a program that doesn’t already have 4 guards.

Absolutely seems to be a “playing time” thing. Pickett is competing with two other guard recruits, along with two guards that are already in the program (good luck knocking JCL and Lucas out of the starting role). Heck, we could still land Mark Smith which adds ANOTHER guard to the roster. Pickett would make an immediate impact somewhere else, you can’t fault his decision.

With the addition of DaMonte Williams and Trent Frazier, Underwood has four more scholarships to give this season. I would certainly expect Coach to fill all four of those spots. Check out our Scholarship Grid for future openings!

Oddly enough, we’re keeping an eye on the top three recruits the Illini signed from in-state. Two guys on defense, and one guy on offense.

Ricky Smalling (WR) - With Desmond Cain transferring, the starting receiving corps currently sits at Mike Dudek, Malik Turner, and...someone. Sure, Sam Mays has experience and seems to be the early favorite to start as WR3, but Ricky Smalling could make a HUGE impact this season given the lack of depth at the WR position.

Kendrick Green (DT) & Olalere Oladipo (DE) - When I think Lovie Smith, I think defense. The defensive line was a high point for Lovie and the defense, with Dawuane Smoot, Chunky Clements, Rob Bain, and Carroll Phillips providing a consistently good pass rush all season. Green and Oladipo are now tasked with filling those shoes for Illinois, and their growth and development in this system will be a crystal clear measuring stick as to how players are growing under this coaching staff.

Only if you post a screenshot of a note you wrote from your cell phone about how you’re grateful for the offer, but you need to explore options that are best from you. Don’t forget to thank a deity of your choice and the coaching staff.

GREAT question.

Tyler Jay as a lefty reliever wins every time. With a mid-90’s fastball and a slider that breaks a ton, Jay provides a great option out of the bullpen that most MLB teams are looking to have in their lineup. However, the Twins are talking about using Jay as a starter. That has cut some velocity down on his fastball, and limits the effectiveness of his changeup as games wear on. He has a high floor with as much talent as he has, but I would rather see Jay turn into the Twins’ version of Andrew Miller than a mid-rotation starter.

Cody Sedlock leans more towards a starter as a bullpen-to-starter player. His mid 90’s sinker is his bread and butter that holds velocity well throughout games, which is a promising sign for a right hander looking to crack a starting rotation. A lower 80’s slider is a good offspeed pitch to lock batters at the plate, and Sedlock has shown a lot of confidence in that pitch. If Sedlock can build more command in his curveball and changeup, he will have a better repertoire than Jay.

While there is a LOT of upside in both guys, I think Sedlock gets the nod over Jay.

Then you develop that weird “cheese” stuff that’s all gross and smells bad. Don’t be that guy. Clean yourself up.

Still bright my friend...still bright.