Life of a Walk-On Athlete

While most college basketball players dedicate themselves to the sport hoping to go to the NBA, Drew Cayce is using the sport to advance his career in a different way.

Cayce is a junior and a walk-on athlete for the University of Illinois men’s basketball team. He has been playing basketball since the age of eight and decided he wanted to continue playing after his high school career.

“I am not good enough to play professionally and I have known that for some time now,” said Cayce. “When I knew I wasn’t gonna make it to the pros. I saw that I could use college basketball as a networking tool, to help me meet people for my life post basketball.”

As a junior in high school at La Lumiere, Cayce was the third leading scorer on a basketball team that finished their season ranked 5th in the country by USA Today.

He received offers to play on scholarship for a few small Division One schools and many Division Two schools. Cayce said the way he saw it, his high school was already playing at a high level, and going to one of those schools would almost be a step down for him.

Cayce’s responsibilities on the Illinois team are much different than what his job was in high school.

“My role has changed every year I have been here, but mainly to prepare the players playing the most minutes and be a leader for the younger guys,” said Cayce.

Freshman guard, Mark Smith, spoke to Cayce’s strengths on the team.

“What Drew brought to the team was confidence.” Smith said. “He always worked hard and was a good leader.”

After high school Cayce joined the Creighton University basketball team and redshirted his freshman year. He was not on scholarship at Creighton either. Being a red shirt means that a person sits out the season so they can develop their skills and extend their playing eligibility for another year.

Cayce then transferred to Illinois as a sophomore and had to sit out the season due to NCAA transfer rules.

“I wanted to be closer to home and I figured if I had the opportunity to play here I should take it, considering many alumni are based around where I live in the Chicagoland area,” Cayce said.

Cayce’s family lives in a northern suburb of Chicago in Libertyville, Illinois.

This season Cayce appeared in nine games and finished with four points and four steals.

Cayce knows that many people do not understand why he has dedicated his college life to basketball when he receives little playing time.

“You know I have thought about stopping a lot, but I think I made it this far so I might as well finish it out,” said Cayce. Plus, the connections I am making I am not going to get anywhere else.”

Cayce said at times it can be hard to stay motivated throughout the season. He mentioned winter break as one of those times, because no one is on campus. Over breaks like this, the team does a lot of activities together to keep the morale up. Cayce added that focusing on being positive helps.

As the team spends so much time together they become close and real friendships form.

“I am probably closest with Tyler Underwood, but I mean I am close with everyone on the team, Cayce said. “You get to know the new guys every year and the bond is really strong.”

Tyler Underwood is the son of Illinois men’s basketball coach, Brad Underwood. Tyler is also a walk-on for the team. Tyler described Cayce’s contributions to the team.

“Drew is always energetic and talkative. He is someone guys look for to help them. He brings high basketball IQ and good shooting to the team, as well as being an exceptional teammate and leader.”

When looking to the future, Cayce is not exactly sure yet what his plans will entail, but he knows that the contacts he has made at Illinois will help him. Cayce said he may want to get into coaching. His time as a college athlete has shown him what he could be doing one day, and it has helped him form relationships with people in the field.

Cayce said he will not have enough time to do an internship over the summer because he will be in Champaign for basketball. However, he plans to further the connections he has made and gain as much experience as he can.

“I have set up a bunch of shadow opportunities. I have been reaching out to people I have met boosters, donators, and stuff like that,” said Cayce. “Coach Underwood has really gotten me to meet the people I need for what I want to do.”

As of right now Cayce is thinking, if not coaching, then he wants to get into sales. He is majoring in Communications and plans to get an MBA after he graduates.

“I think Communications will help with sales as I am a pretty outgoing person and I know how to talk to people and get to know them, which I see as beneficial,” said Cayce. “Plus working on business after my undergrad will help with my life in general.”

Cayce talked about a possible future in sales and how he will gain experience this summer.

I talked to the associate director of the Division of Management Information, Elizabeth Stern, and she provided a few reasons for the increase in the senior class. She said the increase is partially because the incoming freshman classes in the past few years have been larger than they were in the past. She also said that you can observe on the graph that there has been a spike in the number of juniors since 2012-2013.

“This has been caused both by increases in transfer students entering as juniors, and by increases in freshmen entering with large amounts of AP and transfer credits which quickly bumped them to junior class level,” said Stern.

She advised that we look into other areas of the profile to gain more information. She mentioned that lines 4600 and higher display that the graduation rate has stayed relatively stable.

Affidavit released in teacher/student sexual misconduct

Peabody-Burns social studies teacher Chris Young snuck into a student’s bedroom and spent the night on numerous occasions according to an affidavit released today. It is also said that his family knew about the sexual relationship going on between him and this student.

The school administration looked through surveillance videos and found inappropriate behavior between Young and one of his students. These acts include being locked in his classroom together before school began, sneaking off into an alcove during school, and the student repeatedly showing up at Young’s classroom when she should have been elsewhere.

The relationship was reported by one of the student’s friends who said she believed the relationship had been going on for a few months.

After gaining a search warrant police found inappropriate pictures involving the underage students on both Young and the student’s cell phones. One of the students confirmed that the photographs were of her and the other student.

This student also said that both students engaged in sexual acts with their teacher on January 28th and 29th, 2018.

Young has been charged with eight felonies for sexual misconduct involving minors and he will have a preliminary hearing on April 6th.


Heading 4

-Interview some of the people that were at the school hugging and consoling Young

-Find out why the student’s father will not let her be put into Police Protective Custody

-Look into how the pictures got onto Young’s phone



-ad quotes, discuss family more


Lauren Broderick thought she was helping others when she became involved with Illinithon, but she ended up helping herself as well.

Broderick came to the University of Illinois as an uncertain freshman, thinking she wanted to major in Music Education. Previously she had considered a career involving helping kids, and had planned to study Child Life.

Her interest came from interactions she had with sick kids in her own life. Her best friend during her childhood had cancer, and she has a cousin, who developed health issues at an early age.

“I just knew from a young age that I loved seeing my best friend feel comfortable and happy in the hospital, and I knew I wanted to do the same for other kids,” said Broderick.

She saw first-hand how Child Life impacted her friend and her cousin during their times in the hospital. She decided she wanted to brighten the lives of other kids going through this as much as she could. However, when she went to Illinois she ultimately decided to study music.

This all changed in 2016 after meeting an eight-year-old boy named, Levi, at Illinithon’s annual Miracle Family Tailgate fundraiser for The Children’s Miracle Network. Over the past weekend, Illinithon raised $348,824 at their big event.

Levi has mitochondrial disorder, a genetic condition resulting in poor growth, muscle weakness and developmental delays. Broderick and Levi immediately hit if off when they met. They played Spikeball together and discussed school and what they wanted to be when they grew up. Levi wanted Broderick to follow him and go wherever he went. After spending time together, it was clear a bond had formed.

Someone wanted to interview Levi at the tailgate, but he refused to sit still. Broderick offered to sit with him and help him through the interview.

She talked with the rest of his family and was able to connect with them because of her cousin who was also a miracle child. As such, she could relate to having a family member who was in and out of hospitals from an early age.

Levi’s mother, Kathie, quickly observed that the two got along together really well.

“She came down to his level, allowed for him to let his wall down,” Kathie said. “She showed him attention and showed him it was ok to be off the wall sometimes… she just went with the flow, which is what you have to do when it comes to Levi, he doesn’t fit into a box and she recognized that.”

Ever since that day, Broderick and Levi have been best friends. Levi said that he and Lauren “talk about life.”

Kathie elaborated on this, saying that includes what is currently happening in Levi’s life, as well as his interests in tumbling and gaming.

Levi described Lauren, saying, “She is nice. She is kind. She is helpful. She is careful. She also makes me laugh.”

Levi and Broderick get to see each other about three to four times a year. Levi’s family makes a big effort to attend most of the family events hosted by Illinithon so they can spend time together. They were able to play together at Illinithon’s dance marathon last weekend. Kathie said that Levi is always very excited to go and see Broderick.

Throughout the rest of the year, the two keep in contact via Facebook. Levi doesn’t have his own account, but relays messages through Kathie’s account. They communicate mainly through commenting on each other’s posts.

“He always is Facebook stalking her,” Kathie said. “He likes to keep up to date and will comment and respond with little words here or there or he will do a selfie and post it on her comment thread.”

Meeting Levi made Broderick realize the difference she could make helping children, and she has changed her major to Human Development and Family Studies. She plans to be a certified life specialist after graduation so she can work with more kids like Levi.

“Above all, Levi has taught me that we are all stronger than we believe,” she said. “Levi is truly one of the most resilient kids I’ve ever met; and he made me realize that if he can go through all that he does, and keep smiling through it all, then I can too.”

Second motorist dead after hit with object thrown from overpass

A second motorist has died from debris dropped from an overpass. This time the victim was a Champaign mother, who died after a piece of granite fell from an overpass and broke through her windshield.
Emily Sawyer, 43, was taken to Carle Foundation Hospital and pronounced dead after suffering head trauma from the football-sized piece of granite. Police estimated the piece of granite weighed 10 pounds.


Sawyer had been carrying on a tradition since the death of her father, driving her mother, Celine Taylor, to church. They were driving down Interstate 74 when the granite was tossed from the Prospect Avenue overpass. After the accident, Taylor was treated for a broken arm and multiple bruises.

Last year a similar incident killed Urbana lawyer, Samuel T. Howe. A can of gasoline had been dropped from an overpass on Windsor Road onto I-57 where he was driving. Howe had been driving alone and was killed in the accident.

At the hospital, Sawyer’s sisters, Felicity Shrove and Donna Taylor, expressed their concern, “Who would do this to a perfect stranger, just for kicks? It could have been any one of us or any of our kids. We hope that steps can be taken to prevent this from happening to anyone else.”

Police are unaware of who is responsible for throwing the granite; however, they received calls just prior to the incident citing young males tossing debris onto the Interstate from an overpass. They are asking for anyone with information about the accident to call the Champaign County Crimestoppers at 217-373-TIPS


Broadcast leads:

1)For the second time in a year a motorist was killed by debris dropped from an overpass. On Saturday morning Emily Sawyer died when a 10-pound piece of granite crashed through her windshield. Police are asking anyone with information to contact Champaign County Crimestoppers at (217) 373-TIPS

2) Police are searching for information on the cause of an accident Saturday morning resulting in the death of a Champaign mother. Emily Sawyer was killed when a 10-pound piece of granite dropped off of an overpass and crashed through her windshield. This is the second time in a year a motorist has been killed by debris coming from an overpass.



Graduate student strike

As Claire Branigan discussed the GEO strike, fellow graduate students could be heard protesting throughout the quad. Changes to how tuition waivers are going to be handled have graduate students concerned. A similar strike was held by graduate students in 2009.

Branigan said, while organizing the strike, they modeled parts after other rallies. She said that the chants themselves come from different protests, both labor related and not. One of the events they emulated was when the faculty went on strike two years ago.

Under a tent on the quad supporting the GEO, Suzanne Valentine, a former TA and a graduate student on fellowship, discussed how much work has gone into planning the protest. She mentioned that some of the posters the picketers are using were made on their own, while others were made at the bargaining sessions they had with the administration. She emphasized that there were a lot of people at these meetings, and graduate students made an effort to be there.

When asked why the tents are stationed where they are, Valentine said they decided to put the tents in strategic locations where most of their picketing would be held. They also made sure they put them in locations that were easily accessible.

A main effort of the strike is to have members of the GEO protesting at buildings along the quad. Valentine referred to these locations as “support stations” and mentioned that there are three shifts a day, and people sign up for whenever they can. She said that they all meet at the eternal flame statue on the quad and then they are sent off to whichever locations need picketers.

Illinois Faculty Question Universities Decision

Illinois faculty members voiced their discontent at the Academic Senate meeting with the way the university has handled the incident with Professor Jay Rosenstein. Rosenstein is a professor in the college of media, who was arrested after filming a pro-Chief Illiniwek student in the restroom at a basketball game.

The faculty did not believe the university was holding Rosenstein to the same standards they had for other sexual harassment incidents. A professor in the department of religion, Bruce Rosenstock, argued the university was not adhering to the administrative code.

Another professor, Kate Clancy, expressed her concern mentioning that the university put Rosenstein on leave, yet other cases involving sexual harassment had not received the same treatment.

Chancellor Robert Jones ended the conversation saying, “This is the decision that was made in the best interest of the students who were enrolled in the class, the professor, and this university.”

Another part of the discussion was focused on Chief Illiniwek and the way he is still seen all around campus. The chief mascot was taken away years ago, yet he some people still show off the symbol.

Chancellor Jones spoke on the issue, “I intend to put a strong focus on reminding everyone of the real hurt and distress that these inaccurate and insensitive depiction of Native Americans cause to many members of our community.”

He went on to say that he understands it is a sensitive topic because they are not trying to infringe on anyone’s free speech, yet the images cause pain to many. The Chancellor went on to say because of freedom of speech the university is not authorized to stop the portrayal of the Chief on clothing or in classrooms.

Teens Cause Accident in Game of “Car Tag “

Four teenagers were injured in a two-car accident at a Hillsboro intersection and taken to local hospitals on Tuesday, January 30. Hillsboro police chief, Dan Kinning, said the accident was caused because the teenagers were playing a game of “car tag.”

The cars collided as they both tried to make left hand turns. One of the cars, a Volkswagen Beetle, driven by 18-year-old Kassidy Trapani, ended up wrapped around a tree with the entire car damaged. The second car a Dodge Dakota, driven by 17-year old Kolton Harms, faced damaged to the front end of the car.

Trapani and one of the passengers, 13-year old Ryleigh Peterson, were taken to Hillsboro Community Hospital with moderate injuries. Two of the other passengers, 15-year old Jasmine Copenhaver and 16-year old Anna Baugh were taken to St. Luke Hospital with lesser injuries.

Harms was transported to St. Luke by his mother, while another passenger, 15-year old Trinity Bisbee was taken to Hillsboro Hospital by her father.

A 13 year old involved in the accident, Fillow Cruz, fled the scene before police arrived. He was later found by Hillsboro firefighters in his home.

While additional charges may be filed, both of the drivers have been cited with reckless driving.

Chief Kinning discussed the dangers of “car tag” saying, “Not only should they consider their own welfare and the welfare of those who are with them, but the welfare of people who share the street with them.”

Urbana Free Library Holds Book Signing

Dan E. Ferguson, author of “Grace’s Mirror: Healing for Perfectionists” will be having a book signing at the Urbana Free Library on Thursday, February 14th, at 7 p.m. in the conference room.

Ferguson’s book discusses the perfectionistic tendencies that some people struggle with, followed by his biblical and psychological advice trying to help people recover from these issues.

Ferguson has been the pastor of the Douglass United Methodist Church in Kansas since 2015.

All are welcome to attend.

For more information call the Urbana Free Library (217) 367-4057.

Tabor College Finishes Arts Center Debt Free

With the help of donors, Tabor College finished the Shari Flaming Center for the Arts, a project that has taken the college 6 years and over $13.6 million dollars to complete. The production of this building has been a long time coming as the idea was developed over 80 years ago.

Opening events for the center have received a large turnout, showing that there has not only been financial support from the community, but physical as well. The building will provide many events including a weekly chapel and art events open to the public.