Fan Reaction to Leonard Going to Portland
CHAMPAIGN--"The Portland Trailblazers select Meyers Leonard from the University of Illinois."
Words former Fighting Illini center Meyers Leonard heard on draft night.
From All-Big Ten honorable mention, to the being first Big Ten player taken in this year's draft.
Meyers Leonard is the highest Fighting Illini player drafted since Deron Williams in 2005.
Some fans say that's not an opportunity to pass up.
"You never know what's going to happen and if it seems like he's a lottery pick and teams are high on him then it's the right decision." said Illini fan Zachary Mark.
While most Fighting Illini fans at U of I's campus-town are happy for Leonard, they don't have the same enthusiasm about finding someone to replace his production.
And some say he should've held off on his dream of playing among the world's best.
"I'm disappointed with Meyers Leonard leaving. I think he would've been a great member of the team next year especially with things having gone downhill." said Illini fan Ilya Gurevic.
That downhill slide had the Illini winning just two of their final 14 games.
Gurevic says he was hoping to see Leonard bring the program back to a high point. "I think it would have been nice to end on a high note in terms of his U of I career."
But either way, Leonard at least brought the Illini back to relevancy in the NBA draft. He's the first play selected in the first round since Deron Williams and Luther Head in 2005.
--Reported by David Ade