Thursday, November 9, 2017

Is Illikainen out?

I saw today Reuvers is still considering taking a redshirt year. After watching him in the exhibition I can see why. He needs body development and practice in the system, but I would like to see him play this year. We'll see what happens, but it got me to thinking about Illikainen.

Reuvers is behind Happ, Thomas, and Van Vliet at this point, and maybe Ford too. It's not clear that he is behind Illikainen. Illikainen did not show anything special in the video I saw of the Australia trip. I didn't hear anything about him against Missouri, and while I didn't see the N Iowa game, his line was telling. In a game the Badgers dominated, he was 1-2 for 3 points and had  2 rebounds in 8 minutes, with 3 fouls and 3 turnovers. He wasn't any better against UW-Stout with 0 points, 2 rebounds, 1 foul and 2 turnovers in 6 minutes.

Last year I floated the idea that a sophomore Badger big man should redshirt. That didn't happen, and now it looks more likely that Illikainen would transfer than redshirt as a junior. Thomas seems destined to be the physical presence we need when Happ is on the bench. Van Vliet may be a chucker, but at least he has some confidence, unlike Illikainen who looks scared every time he is on the floor. Not many minutes left for the remaining 3 guys, and at this point Ford looks to be the first guy up to get a crack at those minutes.

It's really too bad. Maybe he turns it around and gets in the rotation, but it doesn't look good. In his first 10 games as true freshman he showed tons of promise. Then his confidence went somewhere and it has yet to return. I know they haven't even played a real game yet, so there is plenty of time to turn things around, and an injury could open an opportunity at any time. Here's hoping he does better tomorrow night,  but if he continues to sit I'd be surprised if he wasn't gone by season's end.


  1. In the last two games in Australia, AI played 5:12 and was -6 against Sydney (with the usual caveats on single game plus/minus, although he ws the only Badger player in the negatives) and +9 in 10:35 against Melbourne.

    NR vs Melbourne: +1 in 14:05
    vs Sydney: +11 in 22:07

    I haven't parsed the lineups for the exhibition games - but NR seemed ahead of AI in those games too.

  2. No minutes for Illikainen in the first half tonight. 3 minutes in the 2nd half. Only stat was 1 turnover.

  3. Got some good garbage time run against Yale. Stroked a 3 without hesitation -- typically for a guy who's feeling too much pressure.

    Reuvers looks like almost a certain redshirt. Hopefully Illikainen will hang in there, though it's unclear how he'll ever get minutes at this point unless Happ goes pro after this year. (And even then, no sure thing.)