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Instead of a Midnight Madness, or a nine o’clock madness, this year’s Illini Basketball teams present an approximately 2:12 p.m. madness tomorrow, Saturday October 11, at the south end of the football field.

Billed as The World’s Biggest Basketball Practice, the event hopes to keep the sellout Homecoming crowd in its seats for about a half hour, immediately following the Illinois-Minnesota football game. If you don’t already have a ticket for the football game, don’t worry — the basketball event is free. If you can’t be bothered to leave the house, you can watch it online.

The purpose of TWBBP is threefold:

1. Introduce the team to the fans.
2. Drum up some excitement for the impending basketball season.
3. Wow some recruits.

The word on the street suggests the crop of athletes will, like the practice itself, be the biggest ever on the Illinois campus. Former Illini coach Harv Schmidt and his son Roy maintain a regular blog at the Sun-Times which predicts:

... our #1 ranked prospect from the class of 2011 in 6’7 Mike Shaw from De LaSalle and 6’4 Crandall Head from Crane Tech in Chicago, who is our #2 ranked prospect from the class of 2010 . . . 6’5 Wayne Blackshear from Curie, 6’5 Sam Thompson from Whitney Young and 6’5 Dre Henley from De LaSalle, who are all among the top-ranked prospects in the loaded 2011 class. All of these players will be in attendance for The World’s Largest Outdoor Basketball Practice.

Also expected in attendance:

  • 6’2 Chasson Randle from Rock Island, class of 2011
  • 5’10 point guard Antonio “Bobo” Drummond from Peoria Central, a top-ranked 2012 prospect
  • 6’6 Alex Foster from Plainfield, a top 2013 prospect
  • 6’7 Illini commit Jereme Richmond of Waukegan, class of 2010
  • 6’3 D.J. Richardson from Peoria Central/Findlay Prep, Las Vegas NV (2009 Illini commit)
  • 6’3 Brandon Paul from Warren (2009 Illini commit)

To insure proper weather conditions for the event, Ed Kieser will instruct The Wind to waft gentle breezes from the southeast — bringing warmth, sunshine, and only the faintest odor of livestock digestive processes.