Smile Politely

A few new faces in the crowd

Basketball recruits at today’s Ohio State football game included familiar faces, and a pair of new names.

As summer turns to fall signing period, all eyes are on Chicago DeLaSalle senior forward Mike Shaw. Inevitably, I asked Mike if he’s reaching a decision about his college choice. He still won’t pull the trigger, but his comfort level is obvious. “Illinois is home.”

Springfield’s Larry Austin Jr. came with his dad again. Younger Larry now stands about 6’1″ and as a freshman, has plenty of time to get to his expected height around 6’5″.

That growth schedule is almost an exact match for DeLaSalle sophomore point guard Jaylon Tate. Tate saw a lot of action as a freshman, and figures to start on this year’s squad. If he’s successful at feeding Shaw and Alex Foster in the post, that will certainly make a big impression on the Illinois coaching staff.

Jaylon Tate (lower center) is really very nice, even if he looks tough.

It’s early in the recruiting process. So far Tate names Illinois and Xavier as schools on the radar.

I didn’t get a chance to speak with the other visiting freshman phenom, Westchester Saint Joseph’s 6’2″ shooting guard Paul Turner. Turner and his dad took in the game with Illini head coach Bruce Weber nearly glued to them. (I suspect, therefore, that he’s pretty good.)

I don’t know whether the whole team was on hand. I saw Kevin Berardini with his new haircut and his old dad, who wants Kevin to get even more hair cut. (I think he should grow it out.)

I didn’t see Bill Cole, but then I didn’t see Mike Davis either, until I opened Mysterious McDade’s photo folder.

Evidently the game gave him Bitter Beer Face.

Crandall Head is known for vaulting legs and soft hands. But few people realize he also has a delicious thumb.


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