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Time for Illinois basketball to play dirty

March 22, 2012|By Bag Boy, For RedEye

I'm afraid, Illinois college basketball fans, that it's come to this.

It's time to go all-in. Or, put another way, time to go all-scumbag.

Look, we just got turned down by Shaka Smart because he was actually afraid to come here and recruit out of Chicago.

Hey, if he's afraid, we don't want him.

But we need someone. We need … that guy.

Oh, he's out there. I don't have a name, but I'll describe him for you. He's slick. Dresses real nice. Great, great talker. Excellent salesman. And he'll promise you everything. His public image will be one of character and integrity, but behind the scenes at functions we don't attend he'll be commonly referred to as … a "scumbag."

I'm thinking a real John Calipari-type. Heck, it might even be John Calipari. He'll have it all. The shoe contracts, the relationships with AAU coaches, all sorts of NBA connections, you name it.

"Oh no," Illini fans say. "That's not us. We don't do that. We don't want winning and notoriety and exposure or anything that bad. We're all about winning with honor. Hey, if we're not successful, at least we're clean!"

Yeah, that's workin' real well for you.

First off, don't lie to me. I see you standing in the corner, watching the tournament games on TV, quietly wondering "Man, where did that team come from?"

You know how they did it. And you're going to do it too.

And remember, it doesn't take much, just one or two players. Imagine if any Illinois school got Derrick Rose, even for one year. That's an NCAA title game right there—and you're off to the races.

Until the sanctions hit, but don't worry about that.

Oh, I'll find him.

What I'm also trying to find is that special feeling I should have for the Bulls.

I should have it; I don't. I don't know why.

And they're special. John Lucas the III? Let's find the first two and sign them.

But something's missing. And I don't know what. But I'll find that too.

The search continues …

Bag Boy is a RedEye special contributor.

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