Illinois Men’s Basketball missed the NCAA Tournament again this season, marking five years in a row without a bid for the Illini. Since we still have March Madness fever at The Champaign Room, we’re holding our Greatest Illini Men’s Basketball Player Ever Tournament this month, and you’re going to decide the winners.
Today we’re continuing with the Championship matchup. We feature two Illini legends, Dee Brown and Deron Williams.
Check out our preview of each player and vote on who you think is the greatest Illini ever. Voting will be open for one day.
Dee Brown (1) vs. Deron Williams (2)
If Deron Williams was the most talented player on the 2005 Illinois basketball team that went to the Final Four, there is no doubt Dee Brown was the heart and soul of that team that still captures the imagination of Illini fans everywhere. Dee Brown played with such fire and passion, and he was the true leader of arguably the greatest group of Illini ever assembled on one team. Dee Brown averaged 13.2 points, 4.9 assists and 1.7 steals over the course of his four-year Illini career. In 2004-05, Brown led the Big Ten in three-point field goal percentage and steals per game, and he ranked third in the conference in true shooting percentage — an amazing stat for a guard.
But Deron Williams was the best player on the best Illinois Basketball team of this millennium. Just this past week, Illini fans celebrated the 13th anniversary of the remarkable comeback victory over the Arizona Wildcats in the Elite Eight in 2005. In that game, Williams scored a team-high 22 points and had 10 assists en route to what would be a Final Four berth. More than his natural talent, Deron Williams had a feel for the game unlike any Illini we’ve ever seen. He was a great teammate and was more than willing to share the ball. Just months later, Deron Williams was drafted by the Utah Jazz with the third-overall pick in the 2005 NBA Draft.
Dee Brown (1) or Deron Williams (2)?
This poll is closed
Dee Brown (1)
Deron Williams (2)
Below is the entire 32-player bracket.