Coaching Carousel

#501      
This board ought to consider that given the sudden exodus of the entire coaching staff, the problem just might be Brad Underwood.
I think when all the rumors and innuendos have been laid to rest, we will find the one and only motivation will be, as usual, MONEY.
 
#502      
I agree it just seems weird. Assistants leave from time to time and I can get over that but 2 at the same time sort has me thrown off. I can't recall 2 assistants leaving one program for the same other program ever. It just feels odd.
Antigua's return makes sense. I'm genuinely surprised at Kentucky's interest in Coleman. He's done a very good job at Illinois, but his CV looks a little light for Kentucky.
 
#504      
There is zero doubt that recruiting will be "easier" for OA and Chin at UK....both academically and...ahem...financially.
Sure especially one and doners, not sure that way of winning games is working so hot anymore there, we shall see.
 
#505      
Just perusing through the players who have banners in the rafters:

Dee Brown. Luther Head. Kendall Gill. Nick Anderson. Deon Thomas. Kenny Battle (Aurora - still Chicago area). Ken Norman. Eddie Johnson.

Thats 8/13 players who played since the 80s to get a banner.
Last 10 years, how many?

We can't continue to live 30+ years in the past! Players we are recruiting are 18 years old and don't care about 1989 or 2005!
 
#508      
Chicago is not worth the trouble We’ve never gotten the best ones anyway. If we can’t get Chicago’s best without having a guy with “connections” then move on. There is a whole world out there! Thinking we have to have Chicago in order to be successful is an outdated joke! I don’t care if they are even from Illinois as long as they can play and WANT to be here!
The masked mamba would like a word
 
#511      
Last 10 years, how many?

We can't continue to live 30+ years in the past! Players we are recruiting are 18 years old and don't care about 1989 or 2005!
In the last 10 years we've only been good when Ayo Dosunmu, a Chicago player, has been our best player.

At the tail end of the Weber era, we made the tourney in 2010-2011. That team had McCamey and BP, both from Chicago area. Also Jereme Richmond, who didn't pan out for us. We next made the tourney in Groce's first season, 2012-2013, with a team featuring BP, Nnanna Egwu and Tracy Abrams, from Chicago. Then we proceeded to miss the tourney every year until we got Ayo.

Edit: I dont know which great teams in the last 10 years we've had without Chicago players. If anything, our lack of success in recruiting Chicago in the pre-Underwood era correlates with a lack of success on the court
 
#513      
I didn’t know anything about the now reported personality conflicts (if true), but I did find it interesting during the season that when coaching acumen and X and O’s were mentioned by media it usually centered round Gentry. I wondered if that would cause conflict and sounds like at least it didn’t help matters. Plenty of people including most on here knew about the great ability and importance of OA and Chin both as coaches but more importantly as recruiters. But there are plenty that don’t seem to based on the messages that say “just hire some more recruiters and we’ll be fine,”. I mean how good could they be if they never brought in a top 30 recruit right? [eye roll]

Now I’m not saying that Illinois basketball is now doomed to backslide into the mediocrity of the Groce years. Based upon their original hires, the success level the program is at now, and what appears to be a generous AC salary pool, it is reasonable to assume that BU and JW will bring in quality new ACs. It is likely we will skip a beat (but hopefully not “beats”), and that the current roster as well as recruits can help cover up any growing pains the new staff has. Just have to hope that BU can keep the 2021 and 2022 recruits on board. I really don’t see Curbelo leaving, but I guess there is always a chance.

The bottom line is that whether or not you considered OA the top recruiter in nation, it is hard not to admit that the OA and Chin combo covered a lot of bases. OA is a top national/international recruiter who is also one of the top big-man coaches around. Chin had the Chicago connections and has developed into at least a good all-around recruiter (I think more like very good) who seemed to be a very good guard coach too. If Gentry stays, it will be tough to cover all those bases with another two coaches. I’m interested to see who BU turns to in order to help keep things on track as well as get even better in future. Nice thing is that this year he has two “internal coaches” — Trent and DMW — on board. I was firmly in the happy to see them back camp, but that has grown to ecstatic. Think those two have become even more important in maintaining the culture with the coaching losses.
Spot on. People seem to diminish Chin's and OA's contribution as coaches. There has been actual player development at Illinois, something that hasn't been the case under previous coaching staffs. Maybe that's why Kentucky wanted them so bad (other than just recruiting). At Kentucky, the philosophy seems to be sink or swim. Play well and you go to the NBA, or are maybe allowed to return for another year. Play ok/don't play, find another school.
 
#514      
Is Brian Randle in the AC conversation??

I've seen his name pop up here a few times, but quickly drowned out by all the other noise. No idea if he's in BU and JW's AC conversation.

I didn't realize he has a degree from UIUC in Agricultural Finance. Is that what one pursues to become a bean counter.

Now that you say that I remember them saying that while he played, but wouldn't have remembered that otherwise.
 
#515      
The kid who wrote the DI article (who was excoriated here) made a good point about the ceiling of our program. We are no one's destination school, so when we get close to being really good, we run the risk of losing the staff who got us there. I have faith the Whitman and Underwood will find good replacements, but let's not kid ourselves. If there was a guy out there as good as Antigua, Kentucky would have hired that guy and Antigua.

If Underwood is able to regroup and continue the success (well, mostly) of last season, he will prove himself an elite coach. But how long have we historically held on to elite coaches? The hierarchy perpetuates the hierarchy. A Kentucky offer while the program is in disarray is more attractive than an Illinois offer while the program is at a peak.

I was a freshman in 1980. I've been a fan for a long time. I've seen how this movie ends.

We really needed a deep tournament run while we still had the lighting in the bottle.
 
#516      
In the last 10 years we've only been good when Ayo Dosunmu, a Chicago player, has been our best player.

At the tail end of the Weber era, we made the tourney in 2010-2011. That team had McCamey and BP, both from Chicago area. Also Jereme Richmond, who didn't pan out for us. We next made the tourney in Groce's first season, 2012-2013, with a team featuring BP, Nnanna Egwu and Tracy Abrams, from Chicago. Then we proceeded to miss the tourney every year until we got Ayo.

Edit: I dont know which great teams in the last 10 years we've had without Chicago players. If anything, our lack of success in recruiting Chicago in the pre-Underwood era correlates with a lack of success on the court
Good points - I'm definitely in the camp of realizing the importance of Chicago and how many of my favorite Illini through the years have come from there. So many players who have made the program what it is today. I hate the take that "let's just blow off Chicago, don't need it"

What I liked so much about the staff that's leaving us, especially OA, is that they made it possible to still try recruiting Chicago hard but also having (numerous) backup plans if we missed on a certain player or two. I think that's got to be the goal with the next staff, still making it a priority to get a handful of top 100, occassional top 50, kids out of Chicago, with also hiring someone with connections to other parts of the country/AAU programs to fill the gaps when we lose out on kids we want from Chicago.

And of course also find assistants who develop kids so well, which is what makes losing OA and Chin tougher than just losing good recruiters is that it was so refreshing to see Illini players getting better, starting with OA's first year and Leron Black. I'm looking forward to seeing what Brad finds and cautiously optimistic he'll do well in the search but he's got a tough act to follow with the ones who are leaving.
 
#517      
It is naive to think that Illinois can maintain a sustainable, successful program without regularly recruiting top players from Chicago.

It also is silly to suggest that Illinois shouldn’t prioritize recruiting from a metro area two hours away from campus that regularly produces Top 100 talent, when literally every top program (other than maybe UCLA) recruits the area. Our proximity can and should be an advantage.

Illinois is not always going to win “the game,” but it sure as heck ought to be playing it.
 
#519      
NW Suburbs
My mistake. Jimmy Collins, Rob Judson and Norm Roberts all brought in considerably more top 30 recruits than Orlando Antigua's grand total of zero.

Repeating that he is the best recruiting assistant in the country doesn't make it so.
24-7 basketball recruiter rankings has shown OA as the top recruiter only once since 2012 (when he was at Ky in 2012). Granted, Cal has been listed more than once but this is supposed to list the main recruiter. Lots of talk that he is the best recruiter in the country but not as much evidence.
 
#520      
Northern Indiana
If we're filling 3 AC slots, I'd hold my nose and bring on Bergeron, if that seals the deal with Tre Mitchell.

Curbelo, Frazier, Hutch, Mitchell, Cockburn

Plummer, Grandison, DMW, Payne, Podz, Hawkins, Melendez, et al off the bench

That team could do some damage.
Sorry Goode...
 
#521      
UK is 100% an easier recruiting job for an assistant coach. More banners (that are more recent), greater NBA-talent, more resources, and a university administration more willing to play ball. Just being rational. OA and Cal had the #1 recruiting classes from 2009 to 2013.

Losing OA and Chin stings a lot. We will have to see how vital they were in finding the hidden gems and developing guys. With them, we still lost a lot of major recruiting battles, so let's not pretend they were perfect. However, we still identified a lot of guys that were mis-ranked and undervalued. Was that 100% them or BU? Time will tell.

I have incredible faith in BU. If it weren't for COVID, BU would have tourney appearances with 3 different programs over 5 seasons. How many HC's could do that? BU paid his dues as an assistant. He identified Gentry, OA, and Chin as guys that he wanted. He clearly knows what makes a good assistant. Why can't he do it again?

Lastly, the recruiting environment is changing with the new transfer rules. The game is changing and we have to wait and see the impacts. Losing OA's pipeline is tough, but every assistant has their connections. There's more than won way to skin a cat.

Assuming all the current guys stay and the '21/'22 classes remain intact, we will still be in a terrific position.