Wanted: Intelligent, hard-working guard to wear orange and blue

Posted: December 4, 2008 in Basketball, Sports
Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Illinois guard Demetri McCamey is dropping the ball on what could be a rather successful college career.

Illinois guard Demetri McCamey is dropping the ball on what could be a rather successful college career.

CHAMPAIGN – It finally happened. Demetri McCamey decided to be the savior that he isn’t and his world exploded in front of more than 14,000 Illini fans Tuesday night.

 

With 11 seconds to go in the game and down by two, McCamey trotted down the court as though the half just started. And instead of passing the ball off to a wide open Trent Meachum, as the play called by head coach Bruce Weber suggested, No. 32 chose to take the shot himself. But he realized that wasn’t going to work out, he chose to give the ball to a heavily guarded Chester Frazier.

 

Note to McCamey: Frazier is your assists leader (averaging eight per game), not a scorer.

In the post game press conference, Weber had no answers for the final play. And with one timeout resting in his pocket, he said there was no reason to use it because – SURPRISE – he, too, noticed that Meachum was standing right in front of him just beyond the three-point arc. And yes, wide open.

 

McCamey chose to blame it on Clemson’s relentless defense.

 

Throughout the preseason and for the six regular season games leading up to the Illini’s ACC/Big Ten Challenge against Clemson, Bruce Weber preached to his players the importance of playing with respect and earning back the trust of the fans. There was no wonder Fighting Illini basketball fans gave up on the team that gave them so much just a few short years ago. Since coming up short in the NCAA title game to North Carolina, they have done nothing more than fall into a trap of expecting to win. Guess what boys, Dee Brown isn’t walking through that door. D-Will isn’t walking through that door. Not even Nick Smith is walking through that door.

 

The glory days of winning coming easily at the Assembly Hall are over and it’s time to get back to work. Perhaps more than anything, Weber has stressed this season the value of earning playing time. That’s why few people should have been shocked to find McCamey coming off the bench early in the season. The word is, he just doesn’t want to practice. Compound lack of desire with not producing at game time, and the Illini have a player who should, if not for worrying about graduation rates, be out the door. The whole Jamar Smith/Brian Carlwell incident a couple years ago did a lot more to the program than encourage opposing fans to chant I-L-L, D-U-I.

 

It’s about time for McCamey to get it together. Otherwise, when Marcus Jordan walks onto the team next season (with the hope of a possible scholarship offer down the road) along with the remarkable recruiting class the Illini coaching staff have coming in, McCamey might find himself at the end of the bench. The good news is, he’ll get to know Erin Andrews a little better during the ESPN games. She’s got to have somebody to talk to during downtime, right? Oh yeah, and Alex Legion becomes eligible very soon.

 

 

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