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Mike LaCassa

Mike LaCassa

Director, minor league ops | Los Angeles Angels | Class of 2008

The former Assembly Hall is where, on the afternoon of Nov. 30, 2004, the Los Angeles Angels' future director of minor league operations and a friend showed up for the Illini’s much-ballyhooed match-up with top-ranked Wake Forest — a good 27 hours before tip-off.

“Luckily,” says 2008 grad Mike LaCassa, “we met some fellow fanatics who opened their tents — and their flasks — to us.”

Bruce Weber took care of Wednesday dinner (hand-delivering pizzas), and his team took care of the Demon Deacons, 91-73.

“After dominating that evening, the Illini spent the majority of the rest of the season ranked Number 1 in the country," LaCassa says. "Being a part of the Orange Krush that year, as a freshman, was an incredible experience, as the 2004-05 Illini almost went undefeated and completed the best season in school history.

"Spending the night camped out of Assembly Hall is a memory that I will never forget and was the 24-hour period where I truly became an Illini.”