Welcome again to our simulated dynasty with the Western Illinois Leathernecks in College Hoops 2K8. You can discover a full rationalization of this mission + spoiler-free hyperlinks to earlier seasons right here. Check out the introduction to this collection from early April for full context. As a reminder, we simulate each sport in this collection and solely management the recruiting and training methods. Dynasty mode runs for 40 years.
Before we choose up with the Leathernecks in the beginning of Year 38, right here’s a recap of the whole lot that occurred final season:
- Coming off a devastating loss in the Sweet 16, Western Illinois returned 4 starters to start the yr at No. 3 in the preseason polls. The common season was a troublesome go, with six losses that included two dropped convention video games. Fortunately, we had been ready to win the Summit League match and punch our ticket to the massive dance as a No. 8 seed.
- We beat Akron in the primary spherical, defeated No. 1 seed Richmond in the spherical of 32, beat Rhode Island in the Sweet 16, took out Louisville in the Elite Eight, beat BYU in the Final Four, and defeated UCLA in the nationwide title sport. It’s our ninth nationwide championship and places us one away from tying John Wooden for probably the most ever.
- We landed three gamers in recruiting: worldwide level guard Christano Ngounou from Cameroon, three-star heart Logan Polk, and five-star JUCO level guard Archie Howel.
Here’s a primary have a look at the roster for Year 38:
When we began this collection manner again in April of 2020, we mentioned our objective was to win the nationwide championship with the worst school basketball program ever. As we close to the conclusion of the collection after Year 40, the objective has modified: now, we’re making an attempt to see if the worst school basketball program ever can develop into the best school basketball program ever.
John Wooden at UCLA will all the time be the gold customary for males’s school basketball. Wooden gained 10 nationwide titles earlier than retiring. After profitable our ninth natty final yr, we’re now one away from tying the legend with three years left.
We misplaced our prime 4 gamers from final yr’s nationwide title staff, together with guard Augustine Bruthelieus, who turned the thirteenth participant in program historical past to go away early for the NBA. Despite all the defections from final yr, we nonetheless have a proficient staff led by the return of the reigning Most Outstanding Player of the NCAA match as he enters his senior yr. We start the brand new yr at No. 24 in the preseason polls.
We’ve solely gained back-to-back titles as soon as in program historical past. Can we do it once more this yr to tie Wooden? Let’s meet the staff:
- PG Cam Kately, redshirt junior, 87 general: We’ve but to actually see what Kately is able to as he enters his junior season, however we’re excited to discover out. The 6’6 level guard solely earned spot minutes off the bench on final season’s title staff, however his ability set is intriguing sufficient to make him a projected lottery choose coming into the yr. Kately has an exquisite 84 score as a three-point shooter, an A- grade in ball dealing with, and a low 80s score in passing. He’s additionally wonderful defensively, with an A+ on-ball protection score and the dimensions to cowl three positions. I like that we are able to slide him to the 2 and even the three after we return to our patented ‘Elliott at point guard’ lineup that led us to the natty final yr. Former No. 114 general recruit out of Alexandria, VA with B- potential.
- SG Jerald Elliott, redshirt senior, 93 general: Elliott was our sixth man final yr, however he turned an absolute legend throughout our match run by being named Most Outstanding Player. We moved Elliott — a 6’6 pure taking pictures guard — to level guard for our match run, the place he turned a two-way terror who scored effectively and wrecked havoc in the passing lanes. Elliott has an unreal 99 pace score that makes him a one-man fastbreak, and he’s additionally one in every of our higher three-point shooters (86 score) regardless of a gradual, awkward launch. We’ve by no means had a participant win MOP in back-to-back years, and it could be merely unimaginable if Elliott might do it. Former No. 35 general recruit out of Sacramento, CA with B- potential.
- SF Ketshner Evertsen, redshirt junior, 89 general: Evertsen has been prompt offense for us off the bench the final two seasons, and now steps into what must be a starring function. A 6’8 pure taking pictures guard, Evertsen has a candy exterior taking pictures stroke (88 three-point score), spectacular ending capability, and A grades in each pace and quickness. He may want to be our main scoring choice in March. Former No. 96 general recruit out of Chicago with B potential. Projected lottery choose.
- PF Oscar Fray, redshirt sophomore, 80 general: Fray is our lowest-rated starter in …. a long time (?), however we’re nonetheless feeling fairly good about him. We love his dimension as a legit 7-footer, and he additionally has terrific three-point taking pictures capability (75 score) for his place. While he’s not the strongest huge man, he does have the highest block score on the staff and may at the very least maintain his personal on the glass. We love the thought of Fray as a ground spacer for us, however for some motive he all the time appears to need to take pull-up threes in match video games. This man does what he needs, and in a manner, we respect it. Former No. 118 general recruit out of Lynn, MA with C potential.
- C D.J. Foster, redshirt junior, 86 general: Foster is only a big at 7’2 and a cheeseburger away from 280 kilos. Foster regarded great in his debut match run final yr, anchoring our entrance court docket on each ends and even ending with a 22-point, 12-rebound efficiency towards Louisville in the Elite Eight. He has A- scores in quickness, power, and offensive and defensive consciousness. While his rebounding scores are fairly common, he completely cleans up in stream video games. It’s simply actually comforting realizing we’re going into this season with an enormous heart like this who can management the glass and lock down the paint on protection. Former No. 173 general recruit out of Chicago with C potential.
We even have loads of expertise on the bench. 6’11 heart Brody Munoz (85 general, B potential) is on his manner to being a stud as a troublesome and bodily huge man. Sophomore taking pictures guard Bernie Doyle has excellent dimension (6’9) and a three-point taking pictures score in the low 80s. Fellow sophomore Floyd Keller is a 6’7 small ahead who can shoot threes and has an elite offensive rebound score. There are additionally three new freshmen who’re all becoming a member of the rotation instantly as a result of the collection ends after Year 40 and we don’t have time to redshirt anymore. Meet the freshmen:
- PG Christano Ngounou, 77 general, B potential
- C Logan Polk, 76 general, C potential
- PG Archie Howel, 71 general, C- potential
Not our greatest class, however Ngounou appears like a giant win as a five-start worldwide recruit from Cameroon. I believe he may give us respectable minutes from day one.
We have three scholarships to recruit for this season and wish prompt affect guys: these gamers will solely get two years on campus earlier than the collection ends. I believe we’d like one other huge and two wings. After scanning the obtainable choices, we determine to supply the next prospects:
- 6’3 PG Daniel Scheer out of Springfield, IL: No. 12 general, No. 8 at his place
- 6’8 SF Eze Coleman out of Riverside, CA: No. 26 general, No. 5 at his place
- 6’9 C Rickey Ager out of Indianapolis: No. 125 general, and No. 5 at his place
We’re actually swinging for the fences this yr, however why not? We’re defending champs. Landing any of those dudes can be nice, to be trustworthy.
We have 4 new starters, however I nonetheless assume this staff is fairly rattling good. It would so nice to go back-to-back and tie Wooden this season. Let’s go!
How did the common season go?
We began the yr with a sport towards No. 22 Richmond (the identical No. 1 seed we knocked out in the spherical of 32 final yr), and took house a 70-55 win. Then we headed to the Maui Invitational, the place we beat Penn, No. 22 Arizona State, and Nebraska to seize the championship. I’m partying like Tom Crean in Hawaii. That brings us up to No. 14 in the polls.
We beat No. 13 Vanderbilt in our subsequent sport, after which take out Providence. We’re rolling at 6-0 and we’re up to No. 9 in the polls now. Next up we’ve got Duke, and rattling, they beat us by three. We lose yet one more non-conference sport to Northwestern, however in any other case maintain enterprise. We’re going into convention season at 8-2 whereas ranked No. 21 in the polls.
Did we go undefeated in Summit League play?
We have by some means misplaced two video games in convention play every of the final two seasons. Just unacceptable, and I’m completely happy to say that trash is over.
We pull off 18-0 towards Summit League opponents this yr, after which sweep via the convention match to punch our automated ticket to the NCAA match. We finish the yr at 29-2 and ranked No. 9 in the polls.
How did recruiting go?
HORRIBLE. We didn’t simply miss out on all of our main choices, we cycled via like eight totally different provides till we lastly discovered a number of guys we’ve got an opportunity with, and none of them are prepared to commit when the spring signing interval opens up, both.
We at the moment have provides out to five-star worldwide taking pictures guard James Haranga (6’5 out of Cameroon), small ahead Lester Figueroa (No. 106 general), and heart Dean Warner (No. 245 general, No. 18 heart) out of Tampa Bay. It’s going to take some extra work in the offseason to get any of them to commit.
2045 NCAA match
We open up March Madness as a No. 2 seed towards No. 15 seed Weber State. We enter the sport rated as a 98 general, whereas Weber State is a 75 general. Apologies to Damian Lillard, however that is about to be a beatdown.
Before we get into the match, let’s take a look at our up to date roster.
It’s arduous to imagine this staff was so dominant after shedding Arvydas Hardy, Reece Mascoll, Al Reece, and Bru off our title staff final yr, however I can completely see the imaginative and prescient for the way this staff wins. Elliott has emerged right into a legit star (95 general) and we already know that he’s unimaginable at level guard in match video games. Ketshner Evertsen — aka Shner — is a strolling bucket even when he’s not fairly as sturdy or highly effective going to the basket as a few of our greatest wings from current years. We know what we’ve got in Foster, and I’m ready for Kately and Fray to step up. I additionally love our prime three guys off with the bench, with Munoz in the entrance court docket and the wing mixture of Keller and Doyle.
This staff has been kicking ass all season, and I believe we’ve got the correct items to doubtlessly go all the best way. That mentioned, our leaders from final season’s title run are gone and there’s a motive why we’ve solely gone back-to-back as soon as: it’s actually arduous to do. I’m optimistic about this staff and nervous in regards to the stakes on the similar time with Wooden just one title away.
Because this primary spherical sport is so lopsided in our favor, we determined to straight sim the sport as a substitute of watching it like we normally do. It’s all the time scary to do that, however ….
Win, 97-76. Never in doubt.
Even in a sim sport, Elliott went off for 27 factors on 3-of-4 taking pictures from three, and 12-of-14 taking pictures from the foul line. Keller additionally hit 3-of-4 triples off the bench, which is nice to see. It was a chilly taking pictures evening for Shner (1-of-8), Fray (0-for-4), and Foster (1-of-10), however we’re not too nervous but.
It’s good to financial institution a fast win in the beginning of our match run, and now I’m mad once more about all of the occasions the Selection Committee disrespected us with a low seed in the previous. Anyway.
The win units up a sport with No. 10 Oklahoma State in the spherical of 32
Oklahoma State was in the Final Four with us final yr, and has been a formidable program all through this sim. They enter the sport rated as a 96 general, whereas we’re a 98 general.
We’re watching the video games from right here on out. As a reminder, I’m not controlling the Leathernecks, we’re watching a simulated sport.
Sweet 16 on the road. Let’s go!
Win, 86-79. Oh my, that one obtained shut on the finish however we held on to advance to the Sweet 16.
First of all, why was that sport performed on Oklahoma State’s house court docket!?!? I’ll by no means recover from that, however by some means we gained anyway.
We opened up a double-digit lead towards the tip of the primary half, and maintained it all through many of the second half. Then Oklahoma State decidedly to merely cease lacking pictures. They obtained it down to a one-point sport with beneath one minute left, and I used to be formally sweating.
Thankfully, Ketshner Evertsen got here via with the clutch bucket, and we held on to win.
Shner had 19 factors on 7-of-12 taking pictures and really a lot regarded just like the go-to scorer we’d like in this match. Bernie Doyle additionally had 9 factors off the bench of 4-of-6 taking pictures. It’s simply an enormous luxurious to have two 6’8+ wings who can hit pictures from deep in March. Jerald Elliott was additionally strong once more, even when his numbers — 10 factors, six assists, 5 turnovers — had been unspectacular.
Foster was completely nice: 15 factors and 15 rebounds with three blocks. More of that, please. Damn, it feels nice to have a 7’2 heart in the center.
Solid all-around staff effort even when it obtained manner too shut for consolation there. We’re simply making an attempt to survive and advance.
The win units up a Sweet 16 sport with No. 11 Illinois
WOW, WE’VE GOT THE ILLINI IN THE SWEET 16.
We’ve performed our in-state rivals numerous occasions all through this dynasty, however by no means in the NCAA match. We’re making an attempt to do them like Loyola did IRL.
We enter the sport as a 98 general. The Illini are rated as a 90. Let’s go!
Win, 99-78. We’re onto the Elite Eight.
I’m nearly disillusioned in Illinois, as a result of that sport was somewhat too straightforward. We opened up a double-digit lead halfway via the primary half, and pushed it to a 20-point lead halfway via the second half. That’s formally ‘sim to end’ territory and we had been ready to try this with about seven minutes left.
Our associates from Champaign had completely no reply for Jerald Elliott in this one. Elliott went completely wild to end with 30 factors, 5 assists, and three steals on usually environment friendly 11-of-16 taking pictures from the ground and 4-of-8 taking pictures from three. Our dude gained MOP for our title staff final yr, and this was nonetheless simply the most effective sport of his life.
Look at that 99 pace in motion:
Some different positives:
- Shner made an affect on profitable even on an evening when he completed with extra area objective makes an attempt than factors. He nonetheless ended the evening with 16 factors, six assists, and 4 steals. It seems like our offense has a strong basis with Shner + Elliott + Foster.
- Speaking of Foster: he had one other double-digit rebound sport with 12 boards. It’s additionally fairly comforting that we are able to nonetheless beat a good-ish staff by 20 when he shoots 3-for-12 from the sector.
- Our bench actually got here to play. The reserves mixed for 28 factors. Doyle (12 factors on 3-of-6 taking pictures) goes to be star, I simply realize it. The similar can most likely be similar for our younger heart Brody Munoz, who completed with 9 factors and 5 boards. I even appreciated what I noticed from the true frosh Christano Ngounou, who had 5 factors.
The win units up a sport with No. 1 seed Louisville in the Elite Eight
Oh man. We performed Louisville in the Elite Eight final yr, and I puffed up that sport to no finish as a result of the Cards had the among the finest rosters I had ever seen in this sim. We ended up profitable that sport by 18 factors, however I’m not precisely excited a few rematch.
Louisville enters the sport as a 100 general. We’re a 98 general. The Cards have six guys on the roster rated in the 90s. Just ridiculous.
This goes to be such a giant check, however hey: we proved we might take them final yr. This could possibly be our greatest check standing between us and back-to-back titles. One time, ‘Necks.
Win, 91-87! WE ARE BACK IN THE FINAL FOUR.
Just an unbelieveable effort from our guys. Honestly, it regarded prefer it was going off the rails early as Louisville ripped off a 17-0 run a number of minuets into the sport. Their press was forcing us into turnovers, and we couldn’t get right into a rhythm offensively. It regarded we may be headed for the fallacious facet of a ‘sim to end’ sport, however then the offense began to get up. We chipped the deficit to single-digits, after which took a one-point lead going into the break on a Cam Kately nook three in the ultimate minute of the primary half.
We obtained out to a powerful begin in the second half — it is a second half staff, bear in mind? — and held an 11-point lead with beneath 4 minutes left. Louisville would get the deficit down to 4 factors solely two minutes later, and it was formally go-time. That’s when Shner stepped up with a essential three to primarily ice the sport.
Evertsen was sensible, ending with 19 factors, three steals, and three blocks. We knew he might torch the nets, however I had no concept he had that sort of defensive efficiency in him. I like having this dude on the staff a lot.
For nearly as good was Shner was, D.J. Foster was even higher. All our 7’2 redshirt junior heart was put up one of many nice performances in the historical past of this system given the stakes. Foster completed with 20 factors, 18 rebounds, and 4 assists on 8-of-14 taking pictures. The Cards couldn’t cease him to save their match lives:
Let’s hit on some bonus shout-outs on the best way out:
- Elliott: 13 factors, six assists, 4 steals on one other environment friendly taking pictures evening. The man is only a machine.
- Brody Munoz: 15 factors and 7 rebounds on 6-of-6 taking pictures from the sector. I’m already getting ready to lose him after his junior season in Year 39 and be actually bummed about not having him for my remaining yr. He’s simply too good.
- Bernie Doyle: 11 factors with 2-of-3 taking pictures from deep. Future stud.
The win units up a sport with No. 2 seed Michigan State in the Final Four
We have had a strong little rivalry with the Spartans over time, although I can’t bear in mind taking part in them a lot not too long ago. Sparty famously ended our undefeated season in the Final Four in Year 11, and I’ve been holding a grudge towards them ever since.
Tom Izzo is lengthy gone, however MSU stays actual good. Both groups enter the sport as a 98 general. As I take a look at Michigan State’s roster, I see that they’re led by one in every of our former recruiting targets, senior small ahead Sergio Hicks. Him vs. Evertsen must be the matchup of the sport.
Two wins away from going back-to-back. Two wins away from title No. 10. LET’S GO.
Win! 83-72! We are one win away from a nationwide championship!
MSU stored it shut, however credit score our guys for by no means letting them take the lead. It is form of superb we had been ready to win this sport regardless of taking pictures 3-of-22 (13.6 %) from three.
This was as soon as once more a extremely strong all-around staff efficiency regardless of the tough taking pictures evening. Our prime six guys in our rotation all reached double-figures in scoring. As is changing into the norm on this run, Ketshner Evertsen was main the cost.
Shner completed with 25 factors, seven assists, and 4 steals regardless of taking pictures 1-of-11 from three. It is unreal to have that sort of affect on such a poor taking pictures evening for a man who is taken into account a pure shooter. This coast-to-coast layup helped us ice the win late in the second half:
We haven’t talked about Kately’s identify a lot throughout this match run, however it was good to see him put collectively sport with 11 factors, 4 assists, and two steals on 6-of-10 taking pictures.
He even had one in every of our well-known alley-oop layups.
Speaking of gamers we haven’t talked about a lot: Floyd Keller. The 6’7 redshirt sophomore wing can actually play even when he hasn’t gotten the chance to present it a lot on this run as we’ve largely went with Doyle in the rotation over him. On an evening when Doyle couldn’t hit a shot, Floyd obtained in and made a number of issues occur.
This dunk was lovely.
The win units up a sport with No. 7 seed Boston College in the nationwide title sport
Like, BC BC???
And they’re a No. 7 seed????
I can’t bear in mind taking part in the Eagles throughout this sim earlier than. I can also’t bear in mind taking part in too many groups this small, particularly this late in the match. BC has principally no dimension on the roster, with their greatest participant being 6’9 small ahead Irving Danley.
We are one win away from tying John Wooden’s report of 10 nationwide championships. We simply have to beat a Cinderella to do it.
Please, ‘Necks. Let’s go!
Win, 96-78! THE LEATHERNECKS ARE NATIONAL CHAMPIONS FOR THE 10TH TIME IN PROGRAM HISTORY!
What a manner to tie Wooden — with an absolute beatdown. BC merely had no likelihood of maintaining with us. We crushed them on the glass and did job defending the rim. Offensively, our starters caught hearth from the sector and turned this sport right into a blowout nicely earlier than the ultimate buzzer.
First shout-out goes to D.J. Foster, who was comically dominant. All he did was have his second 20-point, 18-rebound sport of the match, and this time he got here three assists shy of a triple-double. He was named Most Outstanding Player for his efforts.
This man is 7’2, 280 kilos and may do that!
How about some Foster protection?
Best of all, he’s anticipated to be again for his senior yr subsequent season.
Evertsen was additionally nice once more, too. He popped off for 18 factors, seven rebounds, and two blocks in the win whereas taking pictures 3-of-5 from deep. Like Foster, the dude has been a necessary contributor on back-to-back title groups, and is principally a legend now. We love to see it.
Jerald Elliott had a particularly Jerald Elliott sport in his remaining time in a ‘Necks uniform: 15 factors and 7 assists on 6-of-8 taking pictures. It was an honor to coach him.
I’ll throw in this Cam Kately clip too, since this may be the final sport he performs at WIU as a projected lottery choose:
I can’t imagine we truly tied Wooden with 10 nationwide championships. We went via an eight yr stretch the place we solely gained one title between Year 29 and Year 36, however simply when it appeared like our objective was out of attain, we went out and gained back-to-back natties.
It’s solely the second time we’ve ever gained back-to-back championships, and the primary time since Year 25 and Year 26 in the golden days of the Albert Jagla/Skip Clemmons period. I actually wasn’t certain if we had it in us, however that is clearly a particular group of gamers.
RUN THAT NEWSPAPER:
We have two seasons left in this dynasty and we’ve already tied John Wooden. Everything from right here on out is gravy.
Let’s get to the offseason.
- Western Illinois are nationwide champs. Feels nice to say, back-2-back child.
- D.J. Foster wins convention participant of the yr.
- Nooooooooooo. Ketshner Evertsen turns professional early. Cam Kately turns professional early. Elliott graduates as a projected prime choose. Wow, I actually didn’t anticipate to lose each Evertsen and Kately. The lack of Shner actually, actually hurts our possibilities at competing for a title subsequent yr, however after all we love him and help him on his manner to his NBA goals. Dude made 73 threes at a forty five % clip this yr. What a season. Ugh.
- My present report: 1,110-207 with 10 titles. Not unhealthy for a 63-year-old. Only two seasons left.
- We lose an assistant coach and change him with somebody who has an A score in instructing. That must be a pleasant enhance for our inside growth.
Praise be that we gained the natty, as a result of recruiting has been a catastrophe this yr — and it wasn’t superb final yr both exterior of Ngounou. We nonetheless have three open scholarships after whiffing on a ton of fellows throughout the in-season recruiting interval. No one is prepared to commit when spring signing month begins.
After two weeks of recruiting, we get our first dedication: Dean Warner, a 7-foot heart out of Tampa:
Warner is ranked No. 245 general and No. 18 at his place, which is certainly somewhat decrease than our typical heart recruit. With that mentioned, this class was filled with 6’9 facilities and we needed to prioritize somebody with actual dimension. His AAU stats had been additionally fairly spectacular, so I’m completely happy about this get as a manner to infuse some dimension in our entrance court docket.
We’re additionally closing in on James Haranga, a five-star worldwide recruiting guard out of Cameroon, similar to Ngounou. He commits the following week:
International recruits are difficult as a result of they have an inclination to have extra variance in their score and potential than home recruits, however Ngounou labored out nicely so we’re prepared to roll the cube once more. Haranga is rated because the third greatest worldwide recruit. We want a two guard and like his dimension. After putting out on so many different two guard choices, this appeared like our greatest guess.
We have one scholarship left after Figueroa commits elsewhere. We determine to supply it to Jaycee Queen, a 6’6 small ahead out of Virginia Beach, VA. Queen is barely rated No. 166 general and No. 31 at his place, however his AAU stats are unimaginable: 19.1 factors per sport on 52 % three-point taking pictures. He commits to Western Illinois the following week to end off our recruiting class.
Now it’s time to set the schedule for subsequent yr. We go along with:
@ Houston, @ Illinois, vs. UW-Milwaukee, vs. Kansas, @ UCLA, vs. Syracuse, @ Minnesota, @ Duke, vs. Grambling
Here’s a primary have a look at our roster for Year 39:
Only two seasons left! While the lack of Evertsen and Kately undoubtedly sting, I nonetheless assume we’ve got a reasonably good staff. It’s going to be up to Bernie Doyle and Floyd Keller to carry our offense on the wings, and I believe they’re each up for the problem. We already know we are able to depend on Foster to be a monster in the center.
A couple of notes:
- We transfer Howel to taking pictures guard, the place he goes up one level to a 77 general.
- Queen appears strong with a 76 general score and C potential, however by some means he’s solely a 66-rated three-point shooter. THE AAU STATS WERE A LIE.
- Warner comes in at 74 general with C potential. He’s our insurance coverage in case Munoz leaves early (he begins the yr as a projected lotto choose).
- Haranga: 67 general with A- potential. He’s already grown an inch to 6’6. Damn, he would have been so, so good if we had the time to redshirt and develop him for 5 years. Instead he’s going to have to grown A LOT to be an element in any respect in the final two seasons.
- Doyle and Keller each start the yr as projected second spherical picks as juniors. Will they return for Year 40? That’s one of many huge storylines going into the tip of this dynasty.
- Our bench goes to be a weak spot on this staff.
We’re going for a three-peat for the time in program historical past.
We’re going to be streaming Year 39 on Sunday, May 9 at 8 p.m. ET on my Twitch channel. We’ll be recruiting and simming via our common season, after which going into the match. If we’ve got an extended match run and may’t full the season in one evening, we’ll end out the match run on Wednesday, May 12 at 8 p.m. ET on my Twitch.
Watch Western Illinois in Year 39
What: Western Illinois Year 39 season
When: Sunday, May 9 at 8 p.m. ET. If needed: continued on Wednesday, May 12 at 8 p.m. ET
Where: My Twitch stream
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