‘D-Will’ Could Show A New Way For Illini Recruiting

Saturday’s column from CBS Chicago

(CBS) Dusting off the orange-and-blue almanac, one can find that since 1957 with George Bon Salle and Harv Schmidt, a total of 56 players from the University of Illinois have had their names called in the NBA Draft.

Some of them have been flops (such as Frank Williams). Others have been average (Brian Cook, for example). And a handful have been quite good (Derek Harper and Eddie Johnson to name two.)

But not a one of them has ever been a true superstar.

Not until Deron Williams came dribble-driving along, that is.

These days, “D-Will” – he of the two Olympic gold medals and the current Sports Illustrated cover – has given the University of Illinois (for the first time in its proud basketball history) a brand-name star that Illini fans can be deeply proud of.

And in the coming years, Williams – having now been christened the face of the new-look Brooklyn Nets – could also become one of new Illini coach John Groce’s greatest recruiting assets. Those signs are beginning to show.

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