Illinois basketball players to go nameless



By Jeremy Werner

If Illini fans don’t know all the Illinois basketball players by face or number, they better bring a program to Assembly Hall. Bruce Weber and the Illinois coaching staff decided to strip the players’ names off the back of the jerseys to create a team-centered atmosphere for the upcoming season.

The decision to have nameless jerseys is one of a few motivational tools Weber has implemented following last season’s disappointment. Weber also programmed last season’s 16-19 record into one of the door codes at Ubben Basketball Complex to constantly remind the players of last season’s letdowns.

The nameless jerseys prompted sophomore guard Demetri McCamey to come up with a new nickname for the team: the “no-names.” Most of the players have either supported or felt indifferent toward the idea.

“It don’t really matter to me, as long as it says ‘Illinois’ on the front,” McCamey said. “Team first. That’s what Coach Weber wants, and that’s what he’s going to get.”

Frazier ‘a new man’ after trim

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    Chester Frazier returned from a weekend off last Monday looking like a different man. The point guard, recognized most by his shoulder-length corn rows, surprised the Illinois coaches by sporting a fresh buzz cut.

    “Chester is a new man,” Weber said. “I’ve been teasing him. You gotta get him new braids in, gotta get it changed, all that stuff. I’ve teased him for a year, ‘Why don’t you just get it cut?'”

    Weber added that Frazier’s new hairdo should help him earn a coaching job, something the senior guard has expressed great interest in, after he graduates.

    “He definitely wants to coach,” Weber said. “And now we’ll be more conducive to hiring him next year.”

    Tisdale recovering

    Sophomore Mike Tisdale hopes to be “back into motion” next week. The 7-foot-1 center underwent surgery two weeks ago to repair a minor muscle hernia in his leg.

    “It feels good right now, it’s probably the best so far,” Tisdale said. “It’s getting better. I’m getting some movement on it and everything.”

    Tisdale has remained active, recovering with exercises on the treadmill, stationary bike, elliptical machine and “a lot of lifting.” The center said the injury has probably aided his weight-gain progress. Tisdale has eaten around 6,000 calories a day since coming to campus as a 200-pound freshman. He has gained 35 pounds in a little more than a year.

    “Coach Weber and I were talking about it, and although (the injury) is a setback, it’s good for me to get in the weight room more and not run off all my weight I’ve gained,” Tisdale said.