You might remember #4 Luther Head as the leading scorer on Illinois national runner-up team of 2004-05. During that "Champaign Campaign," Illinois tied a national college basketball record for victories in a season with 37.
Head, a Chicago native who prepped at Manley Academy had a couple decent years in the NBA with the Houston Rockets before a stint with the Miami Heat and Indiana Pacers. Today, he barely hangs on in the league with the Sacramento Kings.
He did however make enough NBA bank to move his family from the west side to suburban Matteson, allowing his brother Crandall the opportunity to prep at Rich South instead of Crane.
Now that Crandall Head is at Illinois, and wearing the same
number as his older brother, comparisons to Luther are inevitable. Head
Coach Bruce Weber also compares Head, the Younger to Illini redshirt
freshman Joseph Bertrand.
"They get out on the break, they can put pressure on on defense, be
active, they got to come in and get deflections, get steals, get
run-outs if they want to get minutes," Weber said.
"I hate to bring Luther up along with him, but Jerrance brought it up
this morning, Wayne confirmed it: very similar as a freshman, a
little bit herky-jerky. So with him, we hope he can hold the brakes on a
little bit and make sure he doesn't get going too fast. But on the
other end, defensively I want him all over the place, rebounding, tips
whatever he can get," he continued.
Crandall has quickly recovered from the serious injury he suffered
last year and the consensus top 80 national recruit should be a big
contributor on this year;s team.
Weber discussed his best attributes.
"I think energy, athleticism, length, he can get to the basket. He's
way further along than I thought he might be, to be honest. Coming back
from the ACL, it's not easy. You can just see how gifted he is
physically, to be able to do some of the things he does," Weber said.
Head will benefit from getting "on-the-job training" this season from a very talented Illini senior class.
"In practice I love to guard Meechi (Illini point guard Demetri
McCamey) even though he's the best player because I like the competition
to go up against the best just to see where mygame is," Head said at
Illini open the season November 8th versus UC-Irvine.
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