Daily Summary | Ty Rodgers takes gold at the FIBA U18 Americas Championships
There are a lot of news every day. Illini Inquirer will try to ease digestion each morning of the week with the Daily Digest.
Illinois coach Brad Underwood has long called incoming rookie Ty Rodgers a “winner.” The Michigan native will arrive in Champaign this summer with proof of that: a gold medal.
Rodgers, the No. 49 prospect for the Class of 2022, served as a starter on the USA U18 basketball team that beat Brazil 102-60 to win the FIBA Championship gold medal game U18 of the Americas at Auditorio Zonkey in Tijuana, Mexico on Sunday night. The United States has now won 10 of 12 Americas Championships since the biannual tournament began in 1990.
Rodgers had six points, three rebounds and two assists on Sunday. In six tournament games, Rodgers averaged 5.3 points, 5.5 rebounds, 3.2 assists and 0.8 steals and was one of Team USA’s go-to defensemen.
Why is this important: Rodgers wasn’t a go-to offensive option for Team USA – five-star prospects Cam Whitmore (Villanova) and Items (Oregon) led Team USA in points, including 30 points and 21 points respectively on Sunday – but showed during the tournament that he can play an impactful role on a talented team as a distributor, rebounder and defenseman potentially dominant. He started with higher-ranked prospects and could push Illinois veterans to save playing time given his impact on the game in so many ways.
Rodgers said before his tryout for Team USA: “I just want to keep showing my overall game. Just keep showing that versatility and keep showing that I’m a closeted defender. I feel like it’s going to get me into the team. I feel like there aren’t too many players like me doing the things I do, doing them all. It makes me unique. I’m ready to go out there and show everything: show my ball handling ability, show my passing, my defensive skills, my shooting, how it’s improved and things like that. I can not wait.
And after: Rodgers will now travel to Champaign to join his freshman teammates, who arrived in Illinois a few weeks ago to begin summer training. Rodgers and guards skyy clark, Jayden Epps and Sencire Harris make up the No. 9 preparatory recruiting class in the country.
Former Illinois golf star Nick Hadry tied for 35th at RBC Canadian Open at the St. Georges Golf and Country Club in Toronto. Hardy takes home $39,730 in weekend earnings.
- This is Hardy’s third top 35 on the PGA TOUR this season. He also placed 28th at the Puerto Rico Open in March and 21st at the Zurich Classic in New Orleans in April.
- Hardy earned his PGA TOUR card after finishing in the top 25 on the Korn Ferry Tour in the 2021-22 season.
History lesson: Hardy led Illinois to four consecutive Big Ten Tag Team Championships from 2015-2018 and is one of four Illinois to win multiple Big Ten Individual Championships (2015, 2018), joining Richard Martin (1930, 1931), Steve Stricker (1986, 1988, 1989) and Luke Guthrie (2011, 2012). He was also a two-time All-American, earning first-team honors in 2018.
Illinois Senior Jon Davis earned first-team All-America honors with a sixth-place finish in the men’s 1,500 m final at the 2022 NCAA Outdoor Track & Field Championships on Friday at Hayward Field in Eugene, Oregon.
- Davis, who had the fastest qualifying time in the semifinals on Wednesday, finished in sixth place in 3:46.15. It was his second All-America honor of his career after earning second-team All-America honors as a rookie in the 5k.
- Davis becomes the first all-American men’s track and field first-team winner from Illinois since Devin Quinn placed seventh in the 100m at the 2019 NCAA Championships.
Illini assistant coach Sarah Haveman said: “The consistency of Jonathan’s high performances has been phenomenal. He continues to represent Illinois well on the biggest stages and we are proud of him.”
junior illinois Olivia Howel earned second-team All-America accolades with a ninth-place finish in the women’s 1,500 m final of the 2022 NCAA Outdoor Track & Field Championships Saturday at Hayward Field in Eugene, Oregon.
- Howell clocked a season best time of 4:12.22 to place ninth in the final after finishing fourth in Thursday’s semifinal. Howell earns her second straight second-team All-America honor after placing 10th in the same event at the 2021 NCAA Championships in a time of 4:15.56.
Haveman said: “Olivia made some good decisions today and ran with heart. The finish is a little disappointing, but we are confident that she will continue to grow and develop as a student-athlete and perform like her. wishes under these conditions.”
Illinois Basketball Transfer Jacob Grandison clerk at duke following an official visit to Durham over the weekend. The 6-foot-6 transfer forward – who averaged 9.6 points, 3.9 rebounds and 2.3 assists while shooting 41.0% from three for Illinois last season – picked Duke rather than the interest of Michigan, Kentucky, UCLA, USC and many others.
Why is this important: Grandison was one of the best transfers left on the market, and the 24-year-old gives Duke freshman head coach Jon Scheyer a mature role player and much-needed experience for a Blue Devils team that lost its top five Final Four scorers in the NBA draft and brought in four five-star freshmen, including three of the top four prospects from the class of 2022.
Grandison told Dushawn London of 247Sports: “The visit went very well. Throughout the process, I waited for that gut feeling and kept everything open. I didn’t know until I did and after the tour I was talking with all the staff to get an idea. I think it was the right decision for me.
“Coach Scheyer and I had our private conversations, but the message was to just play basketball. You can’t manipulate or force anything. Basketball is a natural phenomenon. It’s all about flow, chemistry and culture. It’s all about there, it’s set up to win and I’m ready to do it with them.
“I come as a veteran. I have some experience and after the visit Duke is Duke but there really is no ego among the staff. It allows there to be that flow on and off the pitch. We really feel this family atmosphere and this strong fraternity.
What this means: Illini are at the point of their program that losing a key starter isn’t a big deal as Illinois reloaded on the wing adding top 20 transfers Matthew Mayer and Terrence Shannon and has two sophomores, RJ Melendez and Luke Goodewhich emerge in addition to a freshman wing among the top 50 Ty Rodgers.
And after: Is the northwest transfer forward Pete Nance will soon announce a decision? I was pretty calm there. Illinois looks unlikely for Nance at this point, but the Illini are looking to add more depth upfield front behind Coleman Hawkins and Baylor transfers Matthew Mayer and Dain Dainja.
Former Illinois offensive coordinator Rod Smith was hired to be the offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach at Jacksonville State under head coach Rich Rodriguez. Smith, who served as Illinois’ offensive coordinator for three years (2018-2020), fills the position left vacant by the tragic death of Calvin Mageedied May 20 of a heart attack.
- Smith served in 2021 as an analyst at Virginia and most recently was an analyst at Penn State.
Gathered: Smith has a long history with Rodriguez. He played quarterback for Rodriguez at Glenville State from 1993-1996, then served as quarterbacks coach for Rodriguez at West Virginia (2007) and Michigan (2008-10) and co-offensive coordinator/team coach. quarterbacks at Arizona from 2012-17. Smith also spent 10 years on Rodriguez’s team with Magee, including six years as offensive co-coordinators at Arizona.
– Illinois football offered some prospects after its showcase camp on Saturday. Read about 2024 in-state OL Brandon Hansen and 2023 TE Nathan Guinn.
– More on this camp: Illini Inquirer’s Ryan Easterling broke down his top five camp players.
— DB of Florida three stars Jason Duclona will announce an engagement on Tuesday after an official visit to Rutgers. He was supposed to make an official visit to Illinois next weekend, but he probably won’t make that visit.
— Dain Dainja has big shoes to fill in central Illinois. But the Illini are high on the transfer from Baylor, writes Derek Piper.
– Illinois was not on the list, but 247Sports breaks down the most underrated environments in college football. And we agree with the representative of the Big Ten.
— Isaac Trotter broke down the 10 teams with the fewest return points for the 2022-23 season, and Illinois tops the list.
— Wisconsin football received a commitment from a three-star rusher. Meanwhile, Rutgers received three commitments over the weekend: a linebacker, an offensive lineman and a receiver/defensive back, and Maryland landed an offensive lineman in the state.
Good week start !