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Original Issue

Illinois Guards Dee Brown/Deron Williams

BROWN ON THE MARCH 6 LOSS TO OHIO STATE THAT ENDED ILLINOIS'S PERFECT SEASON I've never been that angry in my life. I went home and watched Bad Santa, something that would get all that anger out of me. I laughed it out. Then I got a massage at BodyWork here in town. [The loss] was a big hurt to us. We expected to be 30-0 going into the tournament, but things happen. You can't be perfect.

ON LIVING WITH WILLIAMS IN 2002-03 AND '03-04 I loved it. The best thing was that he could cook whatever you need. We competed in everything--Ping-Pong, Monopoly, anything.

ON HIS FEARS I'm afraid of heights, and I'm afraid of dogs and animals. I'm not familiar with them because I'm not really around them. And I don't do snakes. Deron [who has two pythons and a red-tailed boa constrictor] used to always bring them out and be like, 'Hold it! Hold it!' And I'm like, 'No, man, I don't want to hold it!'

ON HIS PREGAME RITUAL I'm not superstitious; I just go out there and play. I don't believe in all of that. The only thing I do is that I put on everything on my righthand side first. Right shoe, right sock, my right leg in first.

ON FATHERHOOD It's excellent. I write lil' dee on my shoes. That's my son, Darrian. He's two. I want to instill in him what my parents instilled in me: discipline, loving, caring.

ON THE DEATH OF COACH BRUCE WEBER'S MOTHER LAST WEEK This just helps us come together even more.... When you see how coach is pushing himself to get through this ... you don't want to let him down.

WILLIAMS ON WRESTLING I wrestled from when I was five to about seventh grade. Our team wrestles at the hotel or in the locker room after practice. I win most of the time, unless one of the big guys comes at me, like [6'10", 230-pound] James Augustine or [6'8", 245-pound] Shaun Pruitt. They get me down, but I get out of it.

ON HIS TATTOOS I have my grandpa's and my mom's initials on my left biceps. I have my daughter's and mine on my right biceps. I have my nickname, d-will, on my shoulder. I have a basketball with the state of Texas around it that says texas made because that's where I'm from. I have a cross on my left arm with a rose on it and angel wings. On my right arm I have a panther. On my chest I have my daughter's birth date. I'm kind of addicted.

ON LIVING WITH BROWN He was loud. You couldn't go to sleep before 2 a.m. He'd play video games or have music on.

ON FATHERHOOD Denae is two. I live with her and my girlfriend, Amy, in the building next to where the team lives. I take Denae to the park, and we swing and slide. She also likes to play with our pit bull. And she thinks it's funny to jump on me and pretend she's hurting me. I have to yell, Owww!

ON BREAKING HIS JAW LAST YEAR I was on a liquid diet, and that was tough. Soup and milk shakes for a month. I like a T-bone steak, well done.

ON BEING UNDERESTIMATED Early on people doubted us because Illinois hasn't been to the Final Four since 1989. We're trying to change that. --Reported by Julia Morrill


"Once she begins to grunt, it's time to get up."

--Erica Taylor, La. Tech Guard

Wide World of Diapers, page 43


Michael J. Lebrecht II/1Deuce3 Photography