The Thunder made a business decision when trading James Harden nine months ago. Now, they need to be just as cold-blooded with Scott Brooks. Brooks has consistently left points on the board in each of the last three seasons and has shown no ability to learn from his mistakes. Read More. Written by Jonathan Tjarks on May 17, 2013
The thirty candidates for Naismith Men's College Player of the Year were announced on Tuesday.
Anthony Bennett, UNLV Jared Berggren, Wisconsin Trey Burke, Michigan Isaiah Canaan, Murray State Michael Carter-Williams, Syracuse Ian Clark, Belmont Rotnei Clarke, Butler Jack Cooley, Notre Dame Allen Crabbe, California Seth Curry, Duke Matthew Dellavedova, Saint Mary's Jamaal Franklin, San Diego State Sean Kilpatrick, Cincinnati Shane Larkin, Miami Doug McDermott, Creigton Rodney McGruder, Kansas State Ben McLemore, Kansas Shabazz Muhammad, UCLA Mike Muscala, Bucknell Victor Oladipo, Indiana Kelly Olynyk, Gonzaga Brandon Paul, Illinois Mason Plumlee, Duke Otto Porter, Georgetown Marcus Smart, Oklahoma State Russ Smith, Louisville Deshaun Thomas, Ohio State Jeff Withey, Kansas Nate Wolters, South Dakota State Cody Zeller, Indiana
Illinois ranks fourth in three-point attempts per game (25.9) through 12 games while employing coach John Groce’s philosophy to take “the first available shot that we can make.”
“There aren’t too many bad shots in his offense,” said forward Tyler Griffey, who’s shooting 43 percent from three-point range. “He knows we can shoot. He just really instills the confidence.”
Illinois is shooting 38.6 percent beyond the arc as a team, which ranks 39th nationally.
Groce said his team, which sits 12-0 on the season and ranks No. 10 nationally, needs to expand its scoring to keep defenses honest.
“We’re starting to drive it a little more to complement our perimeter shooting, and that’s important moving forward,” he said. “We have to have that, but we are a good shooting team and we’re not going to shy away from that.”
Jaylon Tate committed to Illinois after visiting the campus on Thursday.
“I love the school, the program and the coaching staff,” Tate said. “It felt right immediately. This is a place I really want to be. Both coach Groce and coach [Paris] Parham made me feel really comfortable. They told me I’m their guy, they believe in me and that they just want me to go play my game.”
Tate, who also considered Ohio, believes he’ll thrive in John Groce’s perimeter-oriented offense.
“I’ve watched Ohio and coach Groce’s teams, and the style of play was definitely something I like and want to play in,” Tate said. “I have seen what coach Groce has done with his guards.”
Xavier Rathan-Mayes models his game after former Illinois guard Deron Williams.
"D-Will and Kobe are my favorite players. I pattern my game after D-Will a lot — big, scoring guard, physical," said Rathan-Mayes, a 2013 prospect. "A lot of people say I play like him. Being compared to him is pretty special. That's just an honor for me. I have a long way to go. It's a lot of work left to do. But it's somebody I look up to."
Illinois has pitched Rathan-Mayes, considered a true combo guard, on the idea of being the next Deron Williams and helping rebuild the program into a Big Ten contender.
Rathan-Mayes has Illinois ranked among his three finalists.