It's been quite a while since I have updated this blog, but it has been far from boring over the past couple of months. The Illini baseball and softball teams both completed disappointing seasons, with the women finishing 27-26 overall and ending the conference season with a 10-14 record. Needless to say, the Illini softball team didn't qualify for the NCAA Tournament, this year being one of those rare years where that was never really in question. As for Dan Hartleb's baseball team, they made things far more interesting, defeating Minnesota 2 out of the final 3 games, but missing the Big Ten Tournament by virtue of a tie-breaker, in which they tied both Ohio State and Minnesota with identical 11-13 records. The Buckeyes earned the #6 seed in the tourney, since they had a better common opponent record than the Illini and Gophers. The Illini finished the season with a 28-25 record, but battled right to the end, almost pulling off the impossible.
The main news is coming from the men's basketball program, and the news just keeps getting more complex as each day passes. First of all, earlier this week, rumors began to surface that new assistant coach Isaac Chew was leaving his job under John Groce and heading to Marquette to be reunited with Golden Eagles coach Buzz Williams, whom he has had a working relationship before. Chew, who was hired by Groce to be his top assistant in Champaign, left Missouri to take the Illini job. Now, apparently he is on the move once again, this time heading up to Milwaukee. Then, earlier in the day on Wednesday, it was revealed that Illini recruit Jalen James has decommitted from Groce, and will re-open his recruitment. The move by James isn't surprising, given the fact that his game has been declining over the past few months. However, the Chew news came as a surprise to many, but apparently he is more than doubling his salary by moving to Marquette, and this day and age, money talks. I wish both of them well in their new endeavors.
Now that we are in full summer vacation mode, it is time to begin thinking about the fall and Illini football. New coach Tim Beckman still has all of his staff intact, and is beginning to bring some recruits into the fold in Champaign, Even though it seems like a long way off, September 1st will be here before you know it, and Memorial Stadium will be rocking when Western Michigan comes to open the season against the Illini. I will try and update this blog monthly during the summer, and then get back to a more regular schedule once the Illini begin training camp. Have a good summer, everyone!