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Old Feb 17, 2017, 10:53 AM   #5826
UofI08
Location: Chicago
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Originally Posted by DudeIllini View Post
I prefer Cuonzo to Keatts, but I don't think either is a great hire. I hope Whitman can work some magic again!
Right there with you. I think Cuonzo is a good hire. I think Keatts has tons of potential but would be a risky and almost scary hire.
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Old Feb 17, 2017, 10:56 AM   #5827
89illinigrad
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Originally Posted by UofI08 View Post
Right there with you. I think Cuonzo is a good hire. I think Keatts has tons of potential but would be a risky and almost scary hire.
Neither is a "home run" hire, which is why the fan base is not 100℅ behind either of them.

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Old Feb 17, 2017, 10:57 AM   #5828
StateFarmCenter
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Originally Posted by PrudenceJuris View Post
Weber's last five classes:
2012: no players
2011: Abrams, Egwu, and a bunch of sludge
2010: C. Head, J. Richmond, and M. Leonard
2009: Brandon Paul, D.J. Richardson, Joe Bertrand, and Tyler Griffey
2008: Stan Simpson and Dominique Keller
2011 class ranked 13 ( the "sludge" included our 2 highest ranked players in Shaw and Henry)
2010 class ranked 7
2009 class ranked 16

Next year's class pretty comparable. Obviously a lot of these players didn't work out, but no guarantee the next class will either.
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Old Feb 17, 2017, 11:01 AM   #5829
FatGreg
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Originally Posted by 89illinigrad View Post
Greg, if you were born in 1981, you didn't truly live Illini basketball in the 1980's, which was probably the most frustrating stretch in Illini basketball history. It started with having to face Kentucky in the EE in 1984 in Kentucky and losing on a phantom foul on Douglas.

Then, with everyone returning in 1985, expectations were high for another deep tourney run and we fizzled out in the Sweet 16.

That was followed by 3 years of not making it past the second round, including a first round loss to Austin Peay in 1987.

We finally put it all together in 1989, only to lose to Michigan in the FF on a last second put back off a rebound that Nick Anderson should have gotten.

Then, when things were finally looking up for us, Bruce Pearl and NCAA sanction happened which effectively submarined the rest of Henson's career.

So, basically, we had a lot of talent coming through our system in the 1980's and ended up with 1 BIG title and 1 FF to show for it.

I think a lot of the younger Illini fans only remember the stretch of the Self years and the first 2-3 years of Weber, where we won the BIG title 4 out of 5 years and made two Sweet 16's, one EE and the National Championship.

That was probably the greatest 5 years in Illini Basketball history and everybody who grew up watching that is expecting that every year, which is probably unrealistic.

I think that we should expect something in between Henson and the Self/early Weber years.

BTW, I think that many people who are against Cuonzo, think he might be like Henson and pull in lots of talent, but not always get the most out of them.

Whereas, people who like Keatts, probably think he could be the next Self.
I agree with your points. I don't expect to be at the '01-'06 level constantly. I do expect to make the tournament almost every year and challenge for B1G titles and deep tourney runs at least a few times per decade. Making a S16 every three years or so and an E8 twice per decade would be great. That's basically where Henson was at.

If every 15-20 years we peak the way we did in the early 2000s, beating blue bloods, winning conference titles, and making F4 runs for a few seasons, that would be wonderful. I'm fine with tumbling back to earth after an unsustainable, transcendent stretch...provided "earth" means 20-25 wins, a top-6 conference finish, and a 7 or 8 seed. That should be the floor. Of course there will be the occasional season where we lose 4-5 key players from the previous year, struggle with injuries, and finish 8-10 in conference and on the wrong side of the bubble. That's totally acceptable once every seven or eight years.
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Old Feb 17, 2017, 11:04 AM   #5830
eMitch
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Originally Posted by 89illinigrad View Post
Greg, if you were born in 1981, you didn't truly live Illini basketball in the 1980's, which was probably the most frustrating stretch in Illini basketball history. It started with having to face Kentucky in the EE in 1984 in Kentucky and losing on a phantom foul on Douglas.

Then, with everyone returning in 1985, expectations were high for another deep tourney run and we fizzled out in the Sweet 16.

That was followed by 3 years of not making it past the second round, including a first round loss to Austin Peay in 1987.

We finally put it all together in 1989, only to lose to Michigan in the FF on a last second put back off a rebound that Nick Anderson should have gotten.

Then, when things were finally looking up for us, Bruce Pearl and NCAA sanction happened which effectively submarined the rest of Henson's career.

So, basically, we had a lot of talent coming through our system in the 1980's and ended up with 1 BIG title and 1 FF to show for it.
I was at ISU during those years. I still remember me and my roommate jumping around the living room pouring beer on each others head after Nick Anderson hit the buzzer beater at Indiana.

Plenty of good times but I can't name a single person who thought Henson was good coach at the time. They all thought he was a good guy, but he took a ton of blame for not living up to expectations.
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Old Feb 17, 2017, 11:08 AM   #5831
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Originally Posted by FatGreg View Post
I agree with your points. I don't expect to be at the '01-'06 level constantly. I do expect to make the tournament almost every year and challenge for B1G titles and deep tourney runs at least a few times per decade. Making a S16 every three years or so and an E8 twice per decade would be great. That's basically where Henson was at.

If every 15-20 years we peak the way we did in the early 2000s, beating blue bloods, winning conference titles, and making F4 runs for a few seasons, that would be wonderful. I'm fine with tumbling back to earth after an unsustainable, transcendent stretch...provided "earth" means 20-25 wins, a top-6 conference finish, and a 7 or 8 seed. That should be the floor. Of course there will be the occasional season where we lose 4-5 key players from the previous year, struggle with injuries, and finish 8-10 in conference and on the wrong side of the bubble. That's totally acceptable once every seven or eight years.
I agree with this for the most part. Fluctuating between a Top 15 and ORV (4-8 seed) should be the norm. Then you have your peaks and valleys off of that.

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Old Feb 17, 2017, 11:21 AM   #5832
LurkLongandProsper
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Originally Posted by UofI08 View Post
I think the Keatts/Self comparisons are somewhat overblown. In terms of college head coaching experience, Self had 4 seasons at Oral Roberts and 3 at Tulsa before coming to Illinois. UCNW is not even a mid-major, it's a legit, one-bid against a top 3 seed, low major. That's a huge jump from that to B1G. People realized that Self was an up-and-comer, but he would probably admit that the Tulsa step really helped his development. That mid-major step can be huge. Also, a small uptick in talent and game experience can give you a better shot at winning a game or 2 in the tourney and improving your coaching resume even more. I'd be very surprised to see UNCW win a game in the tourney.
Keatts' year 2 UNCW squad played Duke last year, a team that made the E8, and covered the spread against them. Obviously you want wins, but he still outperformed expectations against a really strong Duke team just last year.

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Originally Posted by KrushCow31 View Post
I started at Illinois in 2009. I've seen 3 seasons since I started. I was initially really excited when Groce was hired just like everyone else and all my friends were too. I do not know a single person in my age group that wants to keep Groce.
I fall squarely in that age group of 90's folk, and while I think some folks' expectations are slightly over the top, I find it irrefutable that Groce is not the guy. He's not meeting expectations for ANY P5 program (maybe a few true bottom feeders), let alone ours. I wanted Groce out after last season. He's done nothing to indicate he's even a middling P5 coach. If he were even that, we'd probably get to wait another two years for this conversation. But he's already one of (probably THE) worst coach this program has ever had, and he should be shown the door accordingly.

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Originally Posted by DudeIllini View Post
Why didn't any top 25 programs hire Pat Skerry at Towson? His 3-year turnaround was more impressive than Keatts in the same conference, yet I don't hear any Bill Self comparisons.

Obviously that's a tongue in cheek comparison, but Keatts has a very similar pedigree to Groce. I would expect Keatts to be a strong recruiter given that he ran the top post-grad bball program that had numerous high profile recruits, and he was an asst at Louisville. But there's not much of a reason to think he's a good coach at this point of his career. It's crazy to think people point to his turnaround of UNCW as an amazing success and then downplay Cuonzo getting the highest seed in Cal history. The latter is far more impressive to me because of the competition level.

I prefer Cuonzo to Keatts, but I don't think either is a great hire. I hope Whitman can work some magic again!
Comparing Keatts to Groce in such a broad stroke is just a lazy comparison. Keatts' success at his head coaching stops (Hargrave -- yeah, yeah, HS, but it still counts -- and UNCW) is leaps and bounds ahead of Groce's.

Also, Keatts' turnaround of UNCW is an amazing success. It cannot be understated how bad UNCW was before he got there. The turnaround in just one year was crazy. Also, comparing to Pat Skerry's turnaround? Pat Skerry went 1-31 in year one, Keatts won a conference title in year one.

I do not mean to cast Keatts as a perfect candidate. There are perfectly reasonable reasons to have doubts about him, most specifically the leap from the CAA to the B10 being what it is. But I really don't think there's much more he can do at the CAA level to prove his coaching accumen save a crazy tournament run.
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Old Feb 17, 2017, 11:28 AM   #5833
UofI08
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Originally Posted by LurkLongandProsper View Post
Keatts' year 2 UNCW squad played Duke last year, a team that made the E8, and covered the spread against them. Obviously you want wins, but he still outperformed expectations against a really strong Duke team just last year.



I fall squarely in that age group of 90's folk, and while I think some folks' expectations are slightly over the top, I find it irrefutable that Groce is not the guy. He's not meeting expectations for ANY P5 program (maybe a few true bottom feeders), let alone ours. I wanted Groce out after last season. He's done nothing to indicate he's even a middling P5 coach. If he were even that, we'd probably get to wait another two years for this conversation. But he's already one of (probably THE) worst coach this program has ever had, and he should be shown the door accordingly.



Comparing Keatts to Groce in such a broad stroke is just a lazy comparison. Keatts' success at his head coaching stops (Hargrave -- yeah, yeah, HS, but it still counts -- and UNCW) is leaps and bounds ahead of Groce's.

Also, Keatts' turnaround of UNCW is an amazing success. It cannot be understated how bad UNCW was before he got there. The turnaround in just one year was crazy. Also, comparing to Pat Skerry's turnaround? Pat Skerry went 1-31 in year one, Keatts won a conference title in year one.

I do not mean to cast Keatts as a perfect candidate. There are perfectly reasonable reasons to have doubts about him, most specifically the leap from the CAA to the B10 being what it is. But I really don't think there's much more he can do at the CAA level to prove his coaching accumen save a crazy tournament run.
I don't think we're far off in our thoughts on Keatts. I brought up the tournament thing because tourney resumes are a thing people look at. At UNCW, Keatts has definitely done well and respectable. I'm just saying if he was at a mid-major, instead of low-major, he'd have a more realistic chance of making a tourney run.

Where we differ is the Hargrave resume. Obviously he had a lot of success but Hargrave is a prep school known for athletics. If he wasn't wildly successful there, that would be a huge concern.

I think Keatts has all the makings of a solid P5 coach, I just worry that a jump from 3 years in the CAA into B1G could be a huge deterrent to his coaching development. Ideally 2-4 years at a mid-major or low high-major would provide him the perfect seasoning for a big time job.
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Old Feb 17, 2017, 11:32 AM   #5834
Greensboro
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Originally Posted by Calvin View Post
No idea what the reason, but possibilities:

* They want to get a jump on the coaching search
* They want to get ahead of possible rumors if it's not announced
* There's a reason to distance from him now (he's done something we don't know about that will come to light)
* Appease boosters
* They don't know what they're doing...Ding Ding
* They do know what they're doing and don't want it to get out that they're working channels while their coach is still there

Personally, I'm not sure it's the worst thing you can do. While some on this board say you should have a replacement before cutting the cord, I don't think that's realistic. I'm not opposed to keeping it under wraps either, but there may be some advantage to being an early opening. I think most people want to do everything possible in our situation to make a smooth transition given the recruiting implications, but I expect there will be fallout. If we're lucky, we're able to move quickly, and the hire keeps everyone on board. I'm not counting on it though.
They messed up with leaks he was getting fired after Saturday's debacle against Wake...
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Old Feb 17, 2017, 11:41 AM   #5835
thebizz81
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Originally Posted by UofI08 View Post
You're missing the point that the true WRONG is Groce. He's a bad coach. He's had terrible results and ample time.

To answer your questions, yes I fire Groce and don't think twice about losing Tilmon and Frazier. I'd really like for you to find an example of a coach that gets NO players. Yet to see that happen.

Also, since you're bring up keeping recruits, what about keeping the actual players on the team? There's probably a better chance of losing multiple players than losing multiple recruits if we keep Groce. Do you think Williams and Jordan are happy as bench warmers for a terrible team? (While also arguably 2 of the top 3 most athletic players on the team)

It's a simple decision. Groce is a terrible coach so he will be replaced. It's JW's job to find a good replacement.

You are missing my point. I think Groce should and will be fired, but its fueled by the though that something better will come of this, much like Whitman is looking at this. This should be the sentiment on here IMO not Groce Must go no matter what or Groce needs to stay for the recruiting class. Really it should be what yields the best outcome in the future, of which Whitman has the information to make that decision.

Not once did I say Groce should stay solely for the incoming class, but you have to consider that when making a decision. If I were to tell you Dan Mueller was the best Whitman would pull and that he kept neither Tilmon nor Frazier, would you be as amped to just blindly fire the guy? I dont think that will transpire but I wouldn't, which is why speaking in absolutes does not make sense.

My point is no one knows what is happening behind the scenes. Many, such as myself, ultimately feel a change should be made, but that change will be made by Whitman once all factors are considered, and he will make the best decision, that I am confident in, so its pointless to speak in absolute terms in the meantime.
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Old Feb 17, 2017, 11:43 AM   #5836
LurkLongandProsper
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Originally Posted by UofI08 View Post
I don't think we're far off in our thoughts on Keatts. I brought up the tournament thing because tourney resumes are a thing people look at. At UNCW, Keatts has definitely done well and respectable. I'm just saying if he was at a mid-major, instead of low-major, he'd have a more realistic chance of making a tourney run.

Where we differ is the Hargrave resume. Obviously he had a lot of success but Hargrave is a prep school known for athletics. If he wasn't wildly successful there, that would be a huge concern.

I think Keatts has all the makings of a solid P5 coach, I just worry that a jump from 3 years in the CAA into B1G could be a huge deterrent to his coaching development. Ideally 2-4 years at a mid-major or low high-major would provide him the perfect seasoning for a big time job.
Certainly, I don't disagree with any of that commentary. But I think his resume at a CAA stop is about as good as you're going to find for a guy making upward movement. Whether you are comfortable with him making the leap here is an individual perspective, and there's not a right/wrong answer. I have no issues with any conclusion either way there.

I do think comparing him to Groce, for example, is (1) unfair, and (2) not based in the reality of their resumes. I just want analyses of him to be fair, regardless of the hire/pass conclusion drawn from the analyses.
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Old Feb 17, 2017, 11:50 AM   #5837
UofI08
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Originally Posted by LurkLongandProsper View Post
Certainly, I don't disagree with any of that commentary. But I think his resume at a CAA stop is about as good as you're going to find for a guy making upward movement. Whether you are comfortable with him making the leap here is an individual perspective, and there's not a right/wrong answer. I have no issues with any conclusion either way there.

I do think comparing him to Groce, for example, is (1) unfair, and (2) not based in the reality of their resumes. I just want analyses of him to be fair, regardless of the hire/pass conclusion drawn from the analyses.
Agree his resume is about as good as it gets for someone with such little experience. And I wouldn't be upset about a Keatts hire. He seems like a guy that would find a way to be successful wherever he ends up. It's just very risky, simply because of the huge jump, in my opinion.

Yeah I don't like the comparison to Groce and don't believe I've made any directly. I'm also hesitant to compare him to Self because Self had a more established resume by the time Illinois hired him. Who knows if Self would've been as succesful if he pulled him straight from Oral Roberts?
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Old Feb 17, 2017, 12:05 PM   #5838
LurkLongandProsper
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Agree his resume is about as good as it gets for someone with such little experience. And I wouldn't be upset about a Keatts hire. He seems like a guy that would find a way to be successful wherever he ends up. It's just very risky, simply because of the huge jump, in my opinion.

Yeah I don't like the comparison to Groce and don't believe I've made any directly. I'm also hesitant to compare him to Self because Self had a more established resume by the time Illinois hired him. Who knows if Self would've been as succesful if he pulled him straight from Oral Roberts?
Someone else made the Groce comp, that wasn't pointed at you. And obviously you're not comparing Keatts directly to Self here, but it's worth mentioning Self's work at OR was really not that good at all (.505 win%), which is why he went to Tulsa from OR and not somewhere bigger. Keatts is basically as good as you'll find at the low-major level.
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Old Feb 17, 2017, 12:05 PM   #5839
illiniboy60074
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Originally Posted by eMitch View Post
I was at ISU during those years. I still remember me and my roommate jumping around the living room pouring beer on each others head after Nick Anderson hit the buzzer beater at Indiana.

Plenty of good times but I can't name a single person who thought Henson was good coach at the time. They all thought he was a good guy, but he took a ton of blame for not living up to expectations.




I think a lot of us from the early Henson era thought he was a good enough coach. I always remember what was said by friends of mine at the Sigma Chi house where Steve Lanter lived. Lanter said that Henson was a good practice coach but a terrible game coach. Especially when it was a close game. If Henson called a time out during a close game he would often stand there and say nothing - sounded like an anxiety attack. Still, I would love to have a version of Henson now versus what we do have.
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Old Feb 17, 2017, 12:09 PM   #5840
bert1991
Location: Chicago
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What chance (if any) do we have of landing Mark Smith (keeping in mind the new offers coming in every day)? Is our chance better or worse with John Groce as our HC (keeping in mind MS previous visits/ growing relationship with current signed recruits/ JG / other staff, etc.)

50%, 10%, 0%?
With JG?
With other? <insert potential candidate>
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Old Feb 17, 2017, 12:14 PM   #5841
WesterveltVictoryCigar
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Originally Posted by thebizz81 View Post
Not once did I say Groce should stay solely for the incoming class, but you have to consider that when making a decision. If I were to tell you Dan Mueller was the best Whitman would pull and that he kept neither Tilmon nor Frazier, would you be as amped to just blindly fire the guy? I dont think that will transpire but I wouldn't, which is why speaking in absolutes does not make sense.
If Mueller is the best we can get then we've got bigger problems than just deciding whether to fire Groce or not. Also I'm pretty confident Whitman won't "blindly" do anything.
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Old Feb 17, 2017, 12:15 PM   #5842
OrangeAndBlues
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Originally Posted by bert1991 View Post
What chance (if any) do we have of landing Mark Smith (keeping in mind the new offers coming in every day)? Is our chance better or worse with John Groce as our HC (keeping in mind MS previous visits/ growing relationship with current signed recruits/ JG / other staff, etc.)

50%, 10%, 0%?
With JG?
With other? <insert potential candidate>
With Groce: 0%
Without Groce: >0%
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Old Feb 17, 2017, 12:21 PM   #5843
DoctorofJazz
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Originally Posted by illiniboy60074 View Post
I think a lot of us from the early Henson era thought he was a good enough coach. I always remember what was said by friends of mine at the Sigma Chi house where Steve Lanter lived. Lanter said that Henson was a good practice coach but a terrible game coach. Especially when it was a close game. If Henson called a time out during a close game he would often stand there and say nothing - sounded like an anxiety attack. Still, I would love to have a version of Henson now versus what we do have.
I just watched the last couple of minutes of the 1989 NCAA Tourney game with Illinois and Michigan. I noticed that Lou almost never got animated on the sidelines.

I also seem to remember Henson's teams having problems with free throws, especially in close games.
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Old Feb 17, 2017, 12:29 PM   #5844
VAIllini35
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Originally Posted by LurkLongandProsper View Post
Keatts' year 2 UNCW squad played Duke last year, a team that made the E8, and covered the spread against them. Obviously you want wins, but he still outperformed expectations against a really strong Duke team just last year..
They also lost to Radford last year. I also know a coach that knocked off a number 1 Indiana a few years back. Hmm...
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Old Feb 17, 2017, 12:37 PM   #5845
LurkLongandProsper
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They also lost to Radford last year. I also know a coach that knocked off a number 1 Indiana a few years back. Hmm...
Yeah, teams sometimes lose to teams they shouldn't, he still won the conference title last year as well. The point I was responding to was about if his team could compete in the tournament. They did.
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Old Feb 17, 2017, 12:38 PM   #5846
UofI08
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Originally Posted by LurkLongandProsper View Post
Someone else made the Groce comp, that wasn't pointed at you. And obviously you're not comparing Keatts directly to Self here, but it's worth mentioning Self's work at OR was really not that good at all (.505 win%), which is why he went to Tulsa from OR and not somewhere bigger. Keatts is basically as good as you'll find at the low-major level.
Yeah definitely. I looked at Self's number too. Nothing super impressive at ORU. I'm not arguing against the job Keatts has done. It's just personal preference for me. Having only 3 years worth of experience and head coaching resume is light in my opinion, especially at such a low major. I'm sure someone will grab him this year. If it's Illinois, I'll be 100% on board. It's just very risky in my opinion.
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Old Feb 17, 2017, 12:38 PM   #5847
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I am fully on team Keatts. My only hesitation is just how bad the CAA has become now that VCU, Old Dominion, and George Mason have left. OD and George Mason left in 2013 the year or two before Keatts took over.
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Old Feb 17, 2017, 12:44 PM   #5848
Greensboro
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Originally Posted by TownieMatt View Post
Wouldn't be shocked if Keatts lands at NCST. Makes more sense than Illinois in terms of area connections, and Illinois isn't a significantly better job at this point.
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Originally Posted by Fighter of the Nightman View Post
8 years of sucking doesn't change the potential of a job like Illinois THAT much.
One of these schools is 1 of 15 schools with 2 or more NCAA championships & it isn't us. I think many outside of this board would consider NCState the better job even before the 8 years of suck.
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Old Feb 17, 2017, 12:44 PM   #5849
zpfled
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Cuonzo Martin wants the Illinois job. He'll bring Charlie Moore with him.
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Old Feb 17, 2017, 12:45 PM   #5850
UofI08
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Originally Posted by LurkLongandProsper View Post
An entirely reasonable stance to have I would be cautiously optimistic, although that will likely be my stance on whoever we hire.
I'd definitely be cautiously optimistic as well. Just maybe more cautious than some lol. As I was with Groce. Hell, as I was, though less so, with Beckman.

Based on all he's done and how he's carried himself thus far, there's no reason to not trust Whitman here. Whoever he choses, I'm sure he's doing all the necessary homework before coming to the decision.
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