Illini Basketball 2018-2019

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I can't quite recall if the timing was impossible or anything like that, but it's a REAL shame we didn't end up with Matta.
I can't like this post enough. Matta went to OSU one year later, but even at the time that's who I was screaming (to myself and the computer screen) that we should hire.
 
Do you have an example of an up and coming coach right now who would be a great fit for the Illinois job? What does that look like? Specifically how can you tell if a coach will succeed at recruiting? Take BU for example. Obviously recruiting at SFA is completely different than UI. He comes from a strong coaching tree but what does that say about his recruiting prowess?
Personally I was all in on Keatts or Musselman for our opening. I watched both of their teams and liked how they played. Could they have recruited here? I don't know, but they both seem to have good personalities that kids want to play for
 
I loved Coach Self, but the very very best fit for the program never got a chance....Coach Collins. We have no idea what could have been....actually I do have an idea...
 
Do you have an example of an up and coming coach right now who would be a great fit for the Illinois job? What does that look like? Specifically how can you tell if a coach will succeed at recruiting? Take BU for example. Obviously recruiting at SFA is completely different than UI. He comes from a strong coaching tree but what does that say about his recruiting prowess?
I do not honestly think it is fair to talk about coaching candidates because there is no way of making a change after year 2 on Whitman's own choice even if we go 0 for... and we have another mas exodus.

On the previous search, my choices (I believe everyone's choices are still there) were:

1. Archie Miller
2. Kevin Keatts
3. Chris Mack

All of them ended up with new jobs, so they were movable. It would have taken above market value money for Archie and Mack but would have been an investment well made. I thought (and still think) that Archie was a home run, an extremely good fit. For Keatts we needed to have moved fast but the investment would have probably been less than BU.
 
Don't matter anymore so I can say it....Rick Pitino was interested in leaving the Celtics for Illinois but wanted too much money...he never came to visit but we got word of his interest.
 
I do not honestly think it is fair to talk about coaching candidates because there is no way of making a change after year 2 on Whitman's own choice even if we go 0 for... and we have another mas exodus.

On the previous search, my choices (I believe everyone's choices are still there) were:

1. Archie Miller
2. Kevin Keatts
3. Chris Mack

All of them ended up with new jobs, so they were movable. It would have taken above market value money for Archie and Mack but would have been an investment well made. I thought (and still think) that Archie was a home run, an extremely good fit. For Keatts we needed to have moved fast but the investment would have probably been less than BU.
Oh I agree. Was more a theoretical question about what a good recruiter looks like, specifically with little power 5 head coaching experience. You can look at charisma/attitude/personality but it seems like there are a lot of good recruiters with a lot of different personalities out there.
 
I have no idea how you could possibly say this while watching this team play. Here are Groce's conference records...

8-10
7-11
9-9
5-13 (season filled with injuries and suspensions)
8-10

It would be a miracle if we won 4 conference games this year. Groce underperformed and that's why he got fired, but he didn't drive this program into the ground. In fact, he gave BU a lot of young pieces to work with. The cupboard wasn't full, but it was far from bare.
I iterated that Groce never finished above .500 in conference play and you listed all of his abysmal conference records, which trended downward. Thank you.

If Groce left the cupboard far from bare, then Weber left Groce with an entire grocery store of food. The fact is, Groce was bad here, got progressively worse with his own recruits, and left mid-major talent that not many coaches could’ve won with. In fact, he set the program back at least 5 years. BU is having to tear down and then rebuild, and establish a brand and culture which JG destroyed. To be honest, I know I complain about the current state of the team because I’m a passionate fan, but I don’t even think we can give a fair assessment of BU until the end of next year considering the state of the program when he took over.

I’m actually shocked that there are Illini fans that would suggest that he didn’t run the program into the ground honestly. Everybody has their own opinions.
 
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I iterated that Groce never finished above .500 in conference play and you listed all of his abysmal conference records. Thank you.

If Groce left the cupboard far from bare, then Weber left Groce with an entire grocery store of food. The fact is, Groce was bad here, and left mid-major talent that not many coaches could’ve won with. In fact, he set the program back at least 5 years. BU is having to tear down and then rebuild, and establish a brand and culture which JG destroyed. To be honest, I know I complain about the current state of the team because I’m a passionate fan, I don’t even think we can give a fair assessment of BU until the end of next year considering the state of the program when he took over.

I’m actually shocked that there are Illini fans that would suggest that he didn’t run the program into the ground honestly. Everybody has their own opinions.
I guess the difference is you think an NIT caliber team is considered running a team into the ground. I think it can get much much worse than that. If BU isn't careful, it will.
 
Likes: goillini30
Sycamore, Illinois
I iterated that Groce never finished above .500 in conference play and you listed all of his abysmal conference records. Thank you.

If Groce left the cupboard far from bare, then Weber left Groce with an entire grocery store of food. The fact is, Groce was bad here, and left mid-major talent that not many coaches could’ve won with. In fact, he set the program back at least 5 years. BU is having to tear down and then rebuild, and establish a brand and culture which JG destroyed.

I’m actually shocked that there are Illini fans that would suggest that he didn’t run the program into the ground honestly. Everybody has their own opinions.
Groce’s conference records (or records in general) were the reason he was let go as head coach. Yet here we are in worse shape. At this point Groce’s records would look like progress.

As much as I disliked the way the team played under Groce what I see now looks worse. I wouldn’t have said that last year. I thought there was reason for hope last season. This season looks hopeless.
 
Groce’s conference records (or records in general) were the reason he was let go as head coach. Yet here we are in worse shape. At this point Groce’s records would look like progress.

As much as I disliked the way the team played under Groce what I see now looks worse. I wouldn’t have said that last year. I thought there was reason for hope last season. This season looks hopeless.
Like I said; we can’t even give a fair (notice I said “fair”) assessment of BU until the end of next year because of where the team was when he took over. He had to tear down and then rebuild. That could take more than 2 years.
 
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Like I said; we can’t even give a fair (notice I said “fair”) assessment of BU until the end of next year because of where the team was when he took over. He had to tear down and then rebuild. That could take more than 2 years.
He didn't have to tear down. He chose to tear down. He had the chance to bring pretty much everyone back and keep some continuity. He chose not to.
 
You probably mean 2000, when Kruger left. I think we ended up OK with Self. ;)
We talked about how Kruger made a big mistake leaving us for the Hawks, and we wanted a younger coach who would be around for awhile. Self was a great hire and we were all excited.
 
Iowa City
Self created such a boogyman of Illinois being or not being a stepping stone and needing "right fits to be long-term hires". It has always been my opinion, that stepping stone or not, good coaches, short or long term, elevate the program. Any good AD should ALWAYS have a short list of who he would want to be his next coach. Get the best man for the job, and if he is so good that you need to find a replacement again in a few years, that is a good problem to have.
 
This season hasn’t started the way I expected. I didn’t think we would be 6-2, but I don’t think 4-4 would have been unrealistic. There are some concerns, the main one for me is I don’t see the same grit and toughness that I saw from last years team.

All things being considered though, the six teams we have lost to have a combined record to date of 39-7. Our best performance to date had us in a position to win against the #1 team in the country. The schedule so far is what it is, but it was too much for this young team. They look defeated.

The reality of the situation we are in is that there is talent on this roster, albeit young and mostly inexperienced, but we have talent that can compete and win most nights. We have some winnable NC games coming up that I think will be a good measuring stick and should allow them to gain some confidence. The Big10 maybe the toughest conference top to bottom this year in the NCAA so any wins are signs of progress.

BU and staff must show they can retain most if not all of the guys they have recruited for 2018 and getting players that are 6’6+ and athletic to round out 2019 is paramount. If we can do these two things I think we will be okay. If we fail to do either of these things then I feel it is time to question if we have the right guy. Until this plays out we owe it to this team of young men and this staff to support them.
 
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I iterated that Groce never finished above .500 in conference play and you listed all of his abysmal conference records, which trended downward. Thank you.

If Groce left the cupboard far from bare, then Weber left Groce with an entire grocery store of food. The fact is, Groce was bad here, got progressively worse with his own recruits, and left mid-major talent that not many coaches could’ve won with. In fact, he set the program back at least 5 years. BU is having to tear down and then rebuild, and establish a brand and culture which JG destroyed. To be honest, I know I complain about the current state of the team because I’m a passionate fan, but I don’t even think we can give a fair assessment of BU until the end of next year considering the state of the program when he took over.

I’m actually shocked that there are Illini fans that would suggest that he didn’t run the program into the ground honestly. Everybody has their own opinions.
I think you need to revisit the facts. First of all the conference record was not trending downward. When Groce left the conference record was 8-10, as high as it was in his first year that we greatly overachieved (despite pre-season expectations, made the NCAA, won an NCAA game, and lost in second round on a bad call to Miami that forced the NCAA to implement a new rule). During the Groce era the program was pretty much an NIT team, far from the disaster we are now.

As far as what inherited and what was left behind, you can read my previous post on the Weber era that had the facts. But Groce took over a pathetic 6-12 conference team that was losing its best player to the NBA lottery (Leornard). And while every coach would have to replace his senior class (2009 recruiting class for Groce), Groce also had to replace the 2010 class (ALL gone before he got there), the 2012 class (empty Weber class), and half of his 2011 class that had players who did not belong in the B1G (Ibby, Shaw, Langford). That is 3.5 classes from the get go that he had to recruit for in his first recruiting season. Far from the grocery store of food. Pre-season analysts, and even fans, were not predicting NCAA in his first season, yet we overachieved and made it and also won Maui. And even after the first season (2012-13) and after the 2009 senior class of Brandon Paul, DJ Richardson, and Tyler Griffey had all left after their one and only season under Groce, Groce still made it to the NIT for the next two seasons.

BU took over a program that had finished 8-10 in the B1G, was losing Malcolm and Morgan but was also adding what was probably Groce's best recruiting class (Trent Frazier, Damonte Williams, Tilmon, Pickett, and in very good shape with Smith, according to his own words). In addition to Frazier, who ended up having arguably the best freshman season since Kiwane Garris, the roster also included JCL (#37), Leron Black (#42), Kipper, AJ, TJL, and Finke. The fact that Tilmon, Pickett, and JCL decided to leave because they did not like the hiring of BU is certainly no fault of Groce. I am not going to quote you again what Illini fans expected but the vast majority expected NCAA. Yet, as said in previous paragraph, Groce still made the NIT in his second season AFTER he had to replace 3.5 classes with his first recruiting class. We are way, WAY below that point right now in BU's second season.
 
This season hasn’t started the way I expected. I didn’t think we would be 6-2, but I don’t think 4-4 would have been unrealistic. There are some concerns, the main one for me is I don’t see the same grit and toughness that I saw from last years team.

All things being considered though, the six teams we have lost to have a combined record to date of 39-7. Our best performance to date had us in a position to win against the #1 team in the country. The schedule so far is what it is, but it was too much for this young team. They look defeated.

The reality of the situation we are in is that there is talent on this roster, albeit young and mostly inexperienced, but we have talent that can compete and win most nights. We have some winnable NC games coming up that I think will be a good measuring stick and should allow them to gain some confidence. The Big10 maybe the toughest conference top to bottom this year in the NCAA so any wins are signs of progress.

BU and staff must show they can retain most if not all of the guys they have recruited for 2018 and getting players that are 6’6+ and athletic to round out 2019 is paramount. If we can do these two things I think we will be okay. If we fail to do either of these things then I feel it is time to question if we have the right guy. Until this plays out we owe it to this team of young men and this staff to support them.
Get ready for a 3-17 Big 10 record. Then we can discuss in depth
 
This team is suffering the exact same problems that last year's team did (fouling, defensive scheme from Ripley's, no half court offensive flow, and getting out rebounded). I haven't noticed any meaningful strategic adjustment by BU (hope am wrong about that).
 
Paducah, Ky
I watched the Wisky-Rutgers game last night and Rutgers bigs really made me think we will have our hands full when we play them...not a sure win at all.

It's gonna be a long season for the Illini....
 

IllFanInMi

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Guest
This season hasn’t started the way I expected. I didn’t think we would be 6-2, but I don’t think 4-4 would have been unrealistic. There are some concerns, the main one for me is I don’t see the same grit and toughness that I saw from last years team.

All things being considered though, the six teams we have lost to have a combined record to date of 39-7. Our best performance to date had us in a position to win against the #1 team in the country. The schedule so far is what it is, but it was too much for this young team. They look defeated.

The reality of the situation we are in is that there is talent on this roster, albeit young and mostly inexperienced, but we have talent that can compete and win most nights. We have some winnable NC games coming up that I think will be a good measuring stick and should allow them to gain some confidence. The Big10 maybe the toughest conference top to bottom this year in the NCAA so any wins are signs of progress.

BU and staff must show they can retain most if not all of the guys they have recruited for 2018 and getting players that are 6’6+ and athletic to round out 2019 is paramount. If we can do these two things I think we will be okay. If we fail to do either of these things then I feel it is time to question if we have the right guy. Until this plays out we owe it to this team of young men and this staff to support them.
I think it’s time we move on from the Gonzaga game. Be proud we were right there, and hopeful that it shows a realistic ceiling this team can consistently hit. IMO it was an outlier and not a ceiling, this, or most teams similar to Illinois can do regularly. This was the first game of a tournament and a very early season game, I would put much more weight on this game in January.

The mighty UMBC team that pulled off the biggest upset in NCAA tournament history, UNDER A FIRST YEAR COACH, is sitting at 5-4 so far with a recent win by 11 over the mighty Coppin State team sitting at 0-9!

Hanging with the Zags was a great performance to be happy about, but it certainly doesn’t appear to be an indication of where this team is at.
 
Likes: Steelyunk
Baltimore, MD
It kills me how reactive this board is after every game. These forums are a more entertaining read this way as a bystander, but I can't imagine letting myself get so high and so low after every result. I never expected this team to be a tournament team, but I expected the record to be better than it is now. That being said, I'm not too far down on BU and the team and I'm optimistic for the team 2-3 years down the road as long as we don't have a major exodus of players from this team (Ayo, Frazier, Giorgi, Williams, Feliz, Kane, Jones, Griffin - listed in order of importance imo). I think if that core stays together for the next 2-3 years and January and another solid big sign that we will be a tournament team by March of 2020. I am concerned about attrition though. Most of these kids are used to winning and if we don't piece together some decent wins I'm afraid that the culture in the locker room will be like it was last year and some key pieces will leave. I don't care if BU ran some kids off, the only player that we lost that really hurt us was Black. I think this team would have a winning record had he stayed. I would have loved for Ebo and Smith to stay and develop as I think they could have been significant contributors this year, but we didn't lose any stars outside of Black.

I don't really understand the BU can't recruit thing. He's had a lot of misses, but some great finds.

2017
Smith - 4* - over MSU and UK

2018
Ayo - 5* - BU didn't lose him. There's a lot to say about it.
Jones - 4* - Seemed like we were in late, yet pulled him from the west coast schools that were closer to home. Expected more, but he's shown flashes.
Griffin - 3* - Great find, exploded after he committed with NY Player of Year honors if I'm not mistaken. Has shown flashes, but also freshman mistakes
Kane - 3* - Would have been a 4* if he'd stayed in school another year. Needs some weight and time to learn.
Feliz - 3* - Top JUCO PG in country.
Giorgi - 3* - Playing and looking more like a 4*. They must've seen something they liked from him while he was on a team with higher ranked recruits
Higgs - 3* - Committed without a visit. A lot to like from highlight tapes. Needs to heal that foot and cut the weight he showed up with. Potential is there.

2019
January - 3* - High 3* big committed without a visit - Friend of Jones

TL;DR - Try not to be so reactive. Pieces are there if they stick around. Hopefully BU can rally them and the kids see that there's enough potential here to stay.
 

IllFanInMi

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DePaul wins 65-50 against FAMU yesterday without future NBA superstar Max Strus.

FAMU kept it close for a time; went cold down the stretch. I think they only scored 5 points in the final 6+ minutes.

Could Illinois beat a healthy DePaul team right now? ND dropped 95 on them (DePaul went cold down the stretch; ND was red hot), but they did pull a win from PSU. Currently sitting at 5-1.
DePaul doesn’t have our guard depth or talent this year, but Gage is a solid PG, JCL is close to double digits in scoring despite not shooting well from 3 so far. They have 3 bigs, who we would love to have and Reed is a VERY promising 6’9” athletic guy who has an offensive game, he will get paid to play when it’s all said and done. Big difference to me is Cain and Strus at 6’6” and strong offensive games, especially Strus.

I believe their roster is more talented due to its balance, I still think they’re dealing with believing how good they can be. Losing Strus next year will hurt, but they have a lot coming back and a lot of talent coming in.

I’ve been lambasted by a couple here for saying DePaul is very much on the rise, but look at their roster and recruiting class and a 6’7” Arkansas transfer (Darius Hall) sitting out this year and it’s very hard to argue which program is in a better talent position.

I think with the ultimate geek cheerleader Pantelis Xidias, DePaul wins.
 
Iowa City
The defense is very frustrating we can all agree on that. For those more in the know, what do you feel would be a reasonable adjustment that could be made with the players we have. We heard so much about Ayo as a defender. How can we leverage that? Ball pressure down the court to push for turnovers and fall back into a normal man to man after a certain point?
 
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IllFanInMi

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It kills me how reactive this board is after every game. These forums are a more entertaining read this way as a bystander, but I can't imagine letting myself get so high and so low after every result. I never expected this team to be a tournament team, but I expected the record to be better than it is now. That being said, I'm not too far down on BU and the team and I'm optimistic for the team 2-3 years down the road as long as we don't have a major exodus of players from this team (Ayo, Frazier, Giorgi, Williams, Feliz, Kane, Jones, Griffin - listed in order of importance imo). I think if that core stays together for the next 2-3 years and January and another solid big sign that we will be a tournament team by March of 2020. I am concerned about attrition though. Most of these kids are used to winning and if we don't piece together some decent wins I'm afraid that the culture in the locker room will be like it was last year and some key pieces will leave. I don't care if BU ran some kids off, the only player that we lost that really hurt us was Black. I think this team would have a winning record had he stayed. I would have loved for Ebo and Smith to stay and develop as I think they could have been significant contributors this year, but we didn't lose any stars outside of Black.

I don't really understand the BU can't recruit thing. He's had a lot of misses, but some great finds.

2017
Smith - 4* - over MSU and UK

2018
Ayo - 5* - BU didn't lose him. There's a lot to say about it.
Jones - 4* - Seemed like we were in late, yet pulled him from the west coast schools that were closer to home. Expected more, but he's shown flashes.
Griffin - 3* - Great find, exploded after he committed with NY Player of Year honors if I'm not mistaken. Has shown flashes, but also freshman mistakes
Kane - 3* - Would have been a 4* if he'd stayed in school another year. Needs some weight and time to learn.
Feliz - 3* - Top JUCO PG in country.
Giorgi - 3* - Playing and looking more like a 4*. They must've seen something they liked from him while he was on a team with higher ranked recruits
Higgs - 3* - Committed without a visit. A lot to like from highlight tapes. Needs to heal that foot and cut the weight he showed up with. Potential is there.

2019
January - 3* - High 3* big committed without a visit - Friend of Jones

TL;DR - Try not to be so reactive. Pieces are there if they stick around. Hopefully BU can rally them and the kids see that there's enough potential here to stay.
If, little word, big meaning, and you used it after making some very crucial statements.

I think the reaction each game is based on the entire body of work of BU so far and each loss just compounds the frustration. I will wait until this season is over to evaluate attrition and where they stand recruiting wise, hopefully a lot of your ifs go our way.
 
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Baltimore, MD
If, little word, big meaning, and you used it after making some very crucial statements.

I think the reaction each game is based on the entire body of work of BU so far and each loss just compounds the frustration. I will wait until this season is over to evaluate attrition and where they stand recruiting wise, hopefully a lot of your ifs go our way.
It is a big word, I won't argue that point. Things may not work out and the next few years will be nearly insufferable too, but I'm not going to sit here and be miserable over the "what-if"s when things may pan out just fine. I'll save my misery for when the "if"s don't work out.

I also think BU is running his system this year with the "results be damned" mentality. He doesn't want to water his offense and defense down this year (or run a different scheme entirely) because the players aren't running it right yet. He'd rather lose with his systems this year and them learn it correctly once rather than water it down this year and have to teach them again next year all in hopes of trying for an extra win or two this year.
 
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