About a month ago, Illinois fans discovered that Demetri McCamey would enter the NBA draft—and he would be very serious about staying in it.
To be honest, we were completely baffled, stunned, shocked, and whatever other word you can think of. To sum it up, we did not think he would seriously consider abandoning a very young, talented team that has an unbelievable amount of potential.
We, the Illinois fans, were wrong.
Our initial thought was that he was just going to go and workout for two reasons: One, for a workout, and two, to compare himself to other elite athletes.
We were wrong, again.
With his latest tweets, he has continued to confuse the Illini faithful more and more every day. Here are just a few of the tweets being discussed across Illinois' forums, resulting in some great discussions and debates:
"Why do people think college basketball players have money?"
"Fin to hit this gym up! Time to get money!!!"
I don't know the true meaning behind the tweets, so all I can do is speculate what they mean. But even when I try to speculate what the purposes behind those are, it's very hard to come up with anything.
Sadly, all I can come up with is that he is only interested in the money, which would not surprise me.
You ask why?
Well, give me a list of 20 college/NBA players who don't care about the money. That's all players care about anymore and it has become more and more evident as time goes on.
But, this in not the only reason I think McCamey will decide to part his own ways.
If you followed the Illinois basketball team this year, all we heard about was the everlasting soap opera between McCamey and Weber.
McCamey was being lazy, he admitted it, and Weber called him it out for it. Weber was constantly publicly speaking about McCamey's work ethic and how he needed to change it. After every game, it seemed as if Weber would somehow add a comment about something he did wrong.
It all started two years ago when McCamey was a freshman. There was a game between a strong Indiana team and a very weak Illinois team. The game was at Assembly Hall in Champaign, Ill.
The real story behind the game was they were playing against Eric Gordon, who had verbally committed, then de-committed, during the recruiting process, and of course, Illinois fans got on him.
Every time he touched the ball, the "boo's" would come out very loudly.
But, while all that was going on, a star was being born. McCamey had his first standout game: 37 points.
In case any of you really cared about how the game turned out, Gordon's Hoosiers won the battle that went into overtime.
Getting back to the point—Weber, not many games after that, had to say this about McCamey, “[That night] was definitely a great moment, but I think you have to look at the games after that.”
Head coach Bruce Weber said through laughs, “I don’t think he had 31 points in his next four games.”
I just know this dug into McCamey's ego, but he responded in a very fashionable manor.
“He teaches you mental toughness,” McCamey said of Weber.
“He puts you in situations in practice where your team isn’t as good as the other team, he’d stack the other team to try to make you lose. That’s what he did with the great point guards like Deron [Williams] and Dee [Brown]. It’s all to just make you more competitive and make you want it even more.”
Things like that have gone on and on throughout McCamey's journey at Illinois. Weber has thrown some shots at him and he has responded very well—both verbally and mentally.
In January this season, Weber decided not to start McCamey for two games. He was again able to climb out of a bad situation and Weber labeled him as a completely different person saying his personal growth as a person was "astronomical."
Then, late in the season against Wisconsin, McCamey was struggling tremendously and he pulled a stunt that just stunned every Illinois fan.
Here is a video of what occurred during the game.
This time, Weber was the one who responded like the mature adult. But it doesn't take away from the problem revolving around this situation: The battle of "McCamey vs. Weber."
As you have seen, their relationship is not the greatest, and I am afraid that this could be a factor for McCamey ultimately deciding to stay in the draft.
There is one more reason I am convinced that he will stay in the draft. It is simply that he's a great player with outstanding talents.
He proved himself during the season averaging 15.1 points, 7.1 assists, 3.6 rebounds, and 1.5 steals per game. Not only did he have the stats to make him noticeable, but he was the leader of the team, even with the lack of work ethic. They simply would not have been the team they were without him leading them.
According to many reports I have seen about McCamey's NBA workouts; they have been going extremely well. He has done so well that he has been invited to the Houston Rockets' workouts tomorrow.
I just hope he realizes that another year with Illinois will mature him as a player and also as a person.
His decision is what it is, and no one but he can control what he decides.
He has until Saturday to make his final decision.
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