Delayed Gratification

Nov 10, 2021

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Somewhere there's a brother and sister - 12 and 9 - whose parents got them tickets to this game. After an entire year with no fans, now, finally, the kids could see Kofi and Trent and Belo in person. An entire season watching on TV, and now they get to be there.

To watch Kofi, Trent, and Belo in street clothes.

That, to me, was the worst part of all of this.This was supposed to be the "Kofi & Trent & Belo!" game and not one of them could play. First game with fans in the State Farm Center since Kofi blocked Luka and not only could Kofi not play, but three other guys (when you include Austin Hutcherson) were out as well.

I'm trying to think of what some 1984 game would have been like for me if my dad told me, as we walked in, that Bruce Douglas, Efrem Winters, and Doug Altenberger wouldn't be playing. I'm sure I would have enjoyed it, especially if it was after a year with no fans, but man, it would have been difficult to not see the guys I waned to see. I know 11 year-old me, so I would have probably asked my dad if Quinn Richardson and Big George were still playing, but still, missing out on Bruce, Efrem, and Altenberger would have been really difficult.

I mean, think of this game throughout the years. Think of that 12 year-old and 9 year-old showing up for...

  • A 1989 game without Kenny Battle, Nick Anderson, or Kendall Gill.
  • A 1997 game without Kiwane Garris, Kevin Turner, or Jerry Hester.
  • A 2001 game without Frankie Williams, Brian Cook, or Sergio McClain.
  • A 2005 game without Dee, Deron, and Luther.
  • A 2013 game, but Brandon Paul, DJ Richardson, and Tyler Griffey were out.

You and I? We read my list and have this "you can't compare Garris, Turner, and Hester to Battle, Anderson, and Gill" thing going on. That 12 year-old and 9 year-old brother and sister? They saw Nunn, Hill, and Rice the same as I saw Douglas, Winters, and Altenberger. That's what makes a game like this so sad for me.

Does it matter in the long run? No. Not unless Trent or Belo are out for an extended period of time. We already knew that Kofi was out, and we heard that Trent might not play, and Belo did bang his head pretty hard on the court in the IUP exhibition. And I haven't even mentioned Austin Hutcherson who has had injury issues going on three seasons now. So this allowed us to see some of the players we haven't seen before. Who knew BBV had 10 rebounds (and three assists!) lurking inside him?

That's all good and fine, but I still feel for the 12 year-old and the 9 year-old. It's just not fair that they can finally go see their heroes in person and their heroes can't play.

Free Kofi.

+ Ballhandler 1: Andre Curbelo. Ballhandler 2: Trent Frazier. Ballhandler 3: Austin Hutcherson. Ballhandler 4: Brandin Podziemski, but he's a true freshman in his first game.

So it was Ballhandler 5: Da'Monte Williams and Ballhandler 6: Alfonso Plummer. Neither is a ballhandler. Da'Monte is a 6'-3" power forward (that's a huge compliment) and Plummer is a pure 2. Which meant that the best ballhandler on the court was probably... Coleman Hawkins?

That's going to make for an ugly game no matter the opponent. And when you play a slow-down-and-grind opponent, it's going to be really ugly. I'm so glad we got to 71 because a score in the 60's in the first game out for the #11 team is an ugly score.

Side note: Brad Underwood was right. The Jackson State offense seemed to be "just put some kind of late-in-the-shot-clock shot at the rim and then try to go get the putback." I came up with a name for it, which their coach is free to steal: dump and grind.

I don't see nothin' wrong with a little dump and grind.

+ This tweet made me laugh:

That's not "feeling the love". That's "FINALLY".

Alfonso Plummer had two threes earlier in the game that were 93% down and then rattled out. He was 0-3 at that point and really wanted to get his first (of many) Illini three pointers. So this was the Michael Scott "THANK you" gif, not Nick Young with his arms raised.

+ I'll link another tweet:

Jacob Grandison: 20 points on 7-10 shooting (2-4 from three) and 5 rebounds. His plus-minus was +22.

So I'll just repeat what I said in that tweet two weeks ago to close:

If Jacob Grandison ends the season as one of the top 15 players in the B1G then yes, this team has unlimited potential.


IlliniJoe81 on November 10, 2021 @ 07:38 AM

Grandson is really good. Remember what happened last year after he hit his groove and entered the starting lineup.

orangejulius on November 10, 2021 @ 08:20 AM

We have not had many better transfers than this guy, and did not come in with a lot of fanfare and expectations. His game is so polished and solid. It looks like he may have even gotten better in the offseason. What a find by BU.

cmi2phx on November 10, 2021 @ 08:24 AM

When me & my friends play pick up who with guys who actually played basketball (in high school or college), we always comment after the game how they “smooth”. They just flow on the court differently than we do.

Last night, watching Grandison in the game, that’s the same feeling I had with him. He just looked smooth out there.

Groundhogday on November 10, 2021 @ 09:26 AM

My only takeaway from this game: so much depth. Missing our top 3 players and still rolled. Even against a lower tier school, that is something.

Giovantischixstripz on November 10, 2021 @ 09:58 AM

I'm getting ahead of myself with a fairly milquetoast victory over a weakling...But if Grandison has taken another step towards at least All Big 10 honorable mention, and Hawkins figures out how to use his immense talent in a controlled setting, this team is better than last year because they can hurt you in so many ways and have almost no weakness.

Gadwallgetter on November 10, 2021 @ 11:01 AM

I told my 11 year old son that the big three were out before we watched the game (we DVRd it). He was bummed at first then he asked “What about DeMonte? Is he playing?” So maybe I’m raising another Robert! ??

Joe Edge on November 11, 2021 @ 02:23 PM

I am kinda bummed out about the Kofi situation. I had already locked in my 2000 mile 'train' trip to visit my grandchildren in Milwaukee, and take in the Marquette game, and then the suspensions came... Oh well... Want to see the guys play anyway. Might be last chance in person. I L L....

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