By S.C. Zuba
What have you done for me lately?
It’s a sad, but true, expression that so perfectly describes the relationship among athletes, coaches and fans.
It seems every time you turn on the TV, you see a coach getting fired, or the media berating a player whom they were just praising days before. It doesn’t matter what you did for me yesterday (or last season), I want results now.
Who else is guilty of this? This guy. I fall right into that category. It’s so easy to get down on players and coaches when your favorite team isn’t doing well. It’s a natural reaction. We are just fans; we can’t control the outcome of the game.
So, who is at the top of the list for the underachievers?
Enter, Illinois basketball.
This was a team destined for greatness. It was Demetri McCamey’s senior season. It was his turn to lead his team to the Final Four and beyond. Instead, McCamey has drastically faltered over the last month.
Things have not panned out for the Illini lately, and Head Coach Bruce Weber’s seat has never been warmer.
It’s sad, really. Weber is a great coach, and an even better person, but year after year, his teams go through this funk of bad basketball.
That funk most recently took form as a 1-point loss to Northwestern last week—a game in which the Illini looked lethargic, at best. It’s the same story, different day, for Illinois.
Just two weeks ago, Illinois was going toe-to-toe with No. 1 Ohio State, nearly defeating the Buckeyes in Champaign. Then, five days later, the Illini fell to a bad Indiana team.
It’s a constant roller-coaster ride for the Illini.
In situations like this, the blame rests with the head coach. It’s a shame. This was supposed to be a great year for Illinois basketball, not one in which their head coach was in jeopardy of losing his job.
At the beginning of the season, ESPN analyst Doug Gottlieb predicted the Illini would reach the NCAA championship game. Now, just a few days into February, it doesn’t look like that will be the case.
One thing’s for certain—Weber’s boys had better get it together, or Illinois could be looking for a new coach come April.
Share your thoughts with S.C. Zuba via e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org.