Weber Taking Control

By Willhite, Lindsey | Daily Herald (Arlington Heights, IL), December 15, 2003 | Go to article overview

Weber Taking Control


Willhite, Lindsey, Daily Herald (Arlington Heights, IL)


Byline: Lindsey Willhite Daily Herald Sports Writer

Years from now, presuming Bruce Weber's still at the Illinois helm, everyone will look back and pinpoint Saturday night as the moment when Weber truly became the program's boss.

Weber believed that point would occur somewhere between his April 30 hiring and mid-December, but various problems kept it from happening.

Bill Self's lingering influence over Illinois' players and fans hasn't been the only issue, but comparisons between Self and Weber certainly have been a constant.

"One of the coaches told me the other day that they're sick of hearing it, too," Weber said. "They said, 'You've got to stick up for yourself.'"

But why not swallow it, especially when No. 14 Illinois has a lengthy break before its Braggin' Rights game against No. 3 Missouri on Dec. 23?

"I try to be honest," Weber said. "It's bothered me, to be honest. It's just kind of built up over the last couple of weeks. First of all, we've had to fight through the suspensions. Then we had to fight through getting the guys to buy in. Now the injury (to Deron Williams). It's been hard. It's been overwhelming."

Weber decided enough was enough earlier in the week, but he waited until after Saturday's win over Memphis to get everything off his chest. …

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