Home > Illini, Illinois basketball > Alumni game good for fans, Weber and recruiting

Alumni game good for fans, Weber and recruiting

An August basketball in the non-air-conditioned Assembly Hall doesn’t sound like a great idea. But add Deron Williams, Dee Brown, Luther Head, Kendall Gill, Brian Cook and a slew of other Illini greats to the billing, you have a crowd-magnet.

Illinois announced yesterday that it will host an alumni basketball game Aug. 6 at 6 p.m. at the Assembly Hall. Fans also will have the opportunity to watch the current Illini, including the six newcomers that already have joined the roster this summer, during an intrasquad scrimmage to precede the alumni game.

But like “A Night of Legends,” the key to scheduling this year’s game was landing NBA superstar Deron Williams. Now a member of the New Jersey Nets following a midseason trade from the Utah Jazz, Williams will hold two events on Aug. 6 – a golf outing in the morning at Stone Creek and a post-game reception on campus at the Activities andRecreationCenter– to fund-raise for his Point of Hope Foundation.

“Deron kind of spearheaded the thing,” Weber said. “Having the starpower that he brings to get him back, we just appreciate him staying involved. The opportunity to have the players back on campus, I know they appreciate it. The fans appreciate it.”

The game is not only fun for the fans, participants, coaches and media.  But the fact that Williams, a gold medalist withU.S.Olympic team, remains involved with the UI program – the Nets’ point guard remains close with former teammate Jerrance Howard – is a boon for Weber’s credibility and recruiting prowess.

Remember, most recruits were in grade school when Williams, Brown and Head led the Illini to the 2005 NCAA Championship game and were too young to remember when Frank Williams and Brian Cook raised Bill Self’s teams to the Big Ten elite.

If recruits didn’t know Williams as an Illini, they know him as a two-time All-Star and one of the top point guards in the world. And you can bet that a few of the top Illini recruiting targets will be in attendance for the alumni game to watch Brown, the face of the 2004-05 team; and longtime NBA players Cook, Gill and Head.

“To keep those guys in touch and part of the basketball family I think is so, so important,” Weber said.

Details:

Tickets for the game ($25 each for A section and $15 each for B and C sections) will be made available to IFUND members and season ticket holders before being made available to the public on July 11.

At halftime of the alumni game,Illinoiswill honor the teams from the 2000-01 and 2001-02 seasons that won back-to-back Big Ten championships.

Planned participants in the Aug. 6 alumni game include:

Deron Williams, Dee Brown, Luther Head, Kendall Gill, Brian Cook, Kiwane Garris, Frank Williams, Demetri McCamey, Cory Bradford, Kevin Turner, Jerry Hester, Robert Archibald, Sergio McClain, Brian Randle, Damir Krupalija, Trent Meacham, Mike Davis, Jarrod Gee, Lucas Johnson, Mike Tisdale, Chris Gandy, Jack Ingram, Marcus Griffin, Calvin Brock and Arias Davis, as well as current UI basketball staff members and former players Jerrance Howard, Sean Harrington and Chester Frazier.

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