Column: Dear Dee & Deron,

By Jon Gluskin

What a season it’s been. Even with the heartbreaking loss Monday night, this year was incredible and went above and beyond all our expectations. So we have an idea.

Let’s do it again.

Let’s have one more legitimate chance at bringing a National Championship to Champaign.

Dee and Deron, please, please, please come back for your senior seasons.

There’s nothing we can do about Luther and Roger and Jack and Nick graduating, but if you two come back, we can make a Final Four run to Indianapolis, and this time come back with the net.

The NBA must be extremely tempting, but it will still be there in two years.

As much fun as this season has been, next season can even be more incredible! Think about it!

You two would still compose the best backcourt in the country. With James controlling the post for another season, along with Brian Randle coming back, Marcus Arnold making his niche in the starting lineup and Warren Carter poised for a breakout year, Illinois would have to be a preseason top-10 team.

We want to wear our No. 11 and No. 5 jerseys proudly around campus during the day, and then watch you two tear the Big Ten apart on the court at night.

We want orange headbands and mouth guards to stay in style.

We want to go to games to be amazed play after play by lighting-quick crossover dribbles, pull-up jumpers and 3-pointers.

We want more behind-the-back no-look passes and one-man fast-breaks.

We want to see more jersey-tugs after great plays as you run down the court.

We want to honor you both on Senior Night.

We want more No. 1-ranked teams to come play you guys, only to be run out of the gym.

We want to know we can still win if we ever find ourselves down 15 with 4:04 left in the game.

We want to remain one of the elite college programs in the nation.

We want both your names to be candidates for the Naismith Award next season.

We want another shot at Carolina.

We want another Final Four.

We want a National Championship.

See what you guys do for our campus? You two (along with everyone else on the team) have made Illinois a special place to be. When people hear the word Illinois, they think of Dee Brown and Deron Williams and basketball. Shouldn’t it stay that way?

If you two leave, nothing will stop Dick Vitale from talking non-stop about the ACC and how great it is. We don’t want to hear about it.

The 2004-2005 season is something everyone on this campus will always remember. Next season can be unforgettable as well.

Nothing would make this campus happier than you two deciding to put off the fame and riches of the NBA for another year.

Be the ‘Big Men On Campus’ for one more season. Let us hang with you guys at Kams after games. Let us see you walk on the Quad, and then read about you in Sports Illustrated or ESPN The Magazine back in our rooms.

If you choose to skip your senior seasons, we’d like to say thanks for everything you’ve brought to the University over the past three seasons and best of luck in the NBA. It’s been a joy getting to watch you both lead Illinois to countless victories and milestones.

If you decide to come back, next year could be just as special as this year’s been.

The decision will no-doubt be tough, and we wish you the best of luck in making the decisions that serve to be best for the both of you.

We hope it includes orange and blue.

Sincerely,

The entire Illinois campus