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Monday, January 14, 2008

Here Come the Redbirds

The Illinois State Redbirds are for real (13-3 overall, 5-0 MVC), winning 8 in a row for the first time since 1991-2. Is it Doug Collins Court? Redbird Arena? The Ghosts of Horton Fieldhouse and Reynard Malaine? One can't be sure of the magic formula, but it sure looks like Redbirds are chalking up w's with teamwork and sharp play, reminiscent of the Gene Smithson era.

Go Redbirds! What great Redbirds have you seen at Horton? Redbird Arena? Piddling around Normal?


Anonymous said...

Spread the Red...I've seen the birds play 3 times, pretty solid defense. Poor free-throw shooters. The Big Ten needs new referees. Somebody on the Illini should have whacked Gordon upside the head similar to the breakaway foul on Brock. My Dad use to call that player the "hatchet man" JBP was our hatchet man..didn't really matter if he fouled out.

sempleman said...

I was at Horton for the 'Birds game against Tulsa when Nolan Richardson still coached there. If I'm not mistaken, it was the MVC championship game, the first year ISU was in the MVC. CBS was there and the crowd was so loud they were having trouble with the broadcast.
That was back in the Donewald era, with Hank Cornley, Rick Lamb, Michael McKenny, Raynard Malaine, et. al. Lamb was a ton underneath.
I think that was also the year the 'Birds nearly upset Wayman Tisdale and the Oklahoma Sooners in the NCAAs.

Anonymous said...

DIT, you'd make a great ref. Need a career change?

Anonymous said...

Good for the 'Birds!

Big Ten officiating has been poor for years. I wish I could blame the refs as the reason Illinois are a lackluster bunch, but I think having non-talented basketball players on the team may be the real reason.

***Illinois needs to stop recruiting "athletes" and start recruiting people who can shoot the ball. Wapella open gyms were full of dead-eyes.

Anonymous said...

Is the Redbirds new coach, Bill Selfs old assistant coach? Pretty sure he was responsible for Coach Selfs recruiting accolades.

my beloved Illini are pretty detrimental this year. I am not a big fan of coach weber at the moment. I hope he is better than this. Its hard to tell if he is a good coach now that all the gamers are gone.

Makes me nauseous to say this, but "go redbirds!" coming from an ISU alum even.

Anonymous said...

You are correct Reynoldz, Jankovich worked under Self at both Illinois and Kansas. He might have even been an assistant when Self was at Tulsa. The Birds are for real. They have a solid club and should win the MVC. The only bad part is I don't think Jankovich will be long for ISU. A big boy college will come calling soon after he has a few good years at ISU. Maybe Illinois.........

Anonymous said...

Having only been to one game at Rebird Arena it seems to me that Horton was much more of a home court and a tougher place to play as evidenced by some great games v. DePaul, Indiana State and the memorable win v. Nevada-Las Vegas.

Collins played for Will Robinson. Gene Smithson was a major soft perm stylist, right Sonny?


Anonymous said...

Wildcat/Redbird trivia.. 1) Name the Wildcat star who also played for the Redbirds? 2) Name the four Illinois High Schools who competed for the Sectional championship at Horton Fieldhouse in 1976.

Horton was a better home court advantage- no doubt. I thought Bobby D was a great coach. No way could I ref, I would need body guards.

Anonymous said...

Ricky Johnson, Brad Duncan, Lou Stefonovitch, Hank Cornley, Rick Lamb all could ball it up. Horton was a very loud place for a game. Great to see them beat Bradley back in the day with the fans wearing Dick Versace wigs. Illinois will be back, the Big Ten is a huge waste of teams this year when you have Michigan State ranked 6th and losing to Iowa. Heck Illinois could have won against IU if they mastered some high school fundamentals of making free throws and boxing out at the free throw line.
Redbirds might only be the lone Illinois team that makes the field of 65. Welcome to the Birdacage!

JBP said...

Re DIT Trivia,

I am not sure of WHS players at ISU, but I do know the name of the Station Drills champion in the Basketball class at ISU.

It was none other than....DIT, who took the record (if I recall correctly) from ISU Legend Ricky Johnson.

Oddly enough, Wapella's own Rick Johnson, could generally trounce DIT in station drills at WHS, though he never competed head to head with his ISU namesake. However DIT did top RJ in a horseshoe match on Johnson's Thoms Court pitch in the early 80's.


Anonymous said...


1. Angie Olson is a wildcat start that played for the birds - what is the matter with you people? Did Earl Miller move on to be Reggie the Redbird after his stint as the Wildcat?
2. I only remember Wapella and Central which were the easy ones. We beat Mahomet to get there right? I am going with Roanoke with a wild guess and I'll throw in Cisco for pure comedy.

BTW, Chuck Sinn, Ken "Dr. K" Jackson, and bbd were all graduates of Bob D's ISU bball camp in 84. The ISU players thought Mr. Sinn's schtick was amazing - that is true. He also had good game and we all know of Dr. K's game featuring his famous helicopter.

Go birds - I have a big foam Redbird #1. bbd


Anonymous said...

When DIT coached the Wildcats, he was generally the winner in post-practice "tickle fights" too.

BEP - did Gene Smithson have a soft perm to rival the rash of s. perms in 8th grade year for the class of '91? We may have had a losing season on the court, but no one could compete with the Vidal Sassoon action of choreographed hair whips at center court.

Anonymous said...

eep - we were not suppose to publicly discuss the tickle fights. I'll never forget the game when eep and his brother kept checking in for each other w/out the coaches consent. The thunderdome crowd was loving it.

Anonymous said...

DIT = best coach I ever played for and I am 100% serious. This is the consensus among players from 91 - 93. He also best student teacher we ever had (P.E.) as well.

Coach Jeff Cole was great, too, but no DIT.

Tony Tinerelli (sp?) was a great student teacher as well, but again, no DIT....which brings me to a likely subject for discussion....

Anonymous said...

I assumed with the momumental tickle fights he had with coach Smally behind closed doors and him openly trying to grow a similar moustache, EEP might lean that way but you can't really beat DIT leading the Wildcats. Happy belated birthday EEP, I was losing money in Vegas last week and didn't get a chance to chime in.

Anonymous said...

I'm not sure how DIT didnt have a coronary with the things he had to put up with some of us, but I'm glad he hung in there and stayed at WHS. He will always be my favorite coach.

Anonymous said...

Central Catholic, Wapella, Gridley and Mason City. Central went on to the Elite Eight that year. The following year Mason City made it to Champaign as well.


Anonymous said...

i think it was watseka not mason city,but i've been wrong b4

Anonymous said...

Is it just me or does the kid on the Sports Illustrated magazine resemble a young Jason Miller?

Anonymous said...

The 1976 Sectional final, CC v. Gridley was a classic. Horton was pretty full that night.

Watseka used to go to Danville, not Normal.

Any idea what color Jay Shidler's hair is now? Think he has any left?


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