Groce coached pretty well when he led Ohio to wins over Michigan and South Florida in the tourney while taking top seed North Carolina to overtime in the Sweet 16.
Haha, good one!!. Morgan is a terrible benchmark, he was a below average Big 10 center all 4 years and we never finished in the upper half of BIG during his tenure. We need to do much better.
Perfect summary. Agree with everything you say.Can't argue with success. But if you expand the sample size, you start to see a guy who had pretty limited success. It was a big concern among critics of his hire, that he had a crappy record in his conference, and his success rested mostly on a single outstanding PG of his, along with his lead recruiter status from Ohio State's elite classes. It looked like a shaky hire after the program whiffed on stronger candidates, but sometimes those next-up guys turn out pretty well.
IMO, the eye test alone eventually showed that he either A.) Didn't have upper-tier BIGTEN coaching chops, or B) Couldn't recruit to highlight what coaching skills he had. And I say this knowing he had a terrific first season --lotta buy in, and a legit top-25 team. But his motivational techniques didn't have staying power, and couldn't recruit enough of the talent or type he needed to keep it going. He struck me as a 'fake it till you make it' hire that never got there. Don't know if he'll return to elite coaching, but I wish him well. Give him his due --it's no easy thing to get to a high major in the coaching world.
I realize it's harsh to review these guys against a high standard, but keep in mind that we're talking about guys that get paid 7 figures, easy. The bar has to be high, and they have to be measured against other top-25 coaches. Groce got plenty of rope here. Probably too much; but he got a lot of mileage out of the hope that his recruiting would turn things around.
Lots of people overlooking just how much the new transfer rules are going to change the game too. There some potentially really good pieces out there.
Ref transfer portal....does the free year of eligibility allow 5th year players to graduate and jump to a new school? If that's the case....I would expect a portal frenzy at the end of this year.While some may be overlooking the Transfer Portal, there are others who are following with tempered optimism and / or overvaluing the unknown that is to come, believing that it will help to fix what has thus far been a bust on the recruiting trail - all love and loyalty to Goode, btw.
Bad years happen, and save for special circumstances / team needs, a bad year is still very much that; the talent is not coming. The many misses coupled with the dearth of remaining prep players and our projected departures, made this a terrible year to brick. Yes, it is only December, but the staff failed to capitalize on the program's resurgence and the hype created by '19-'20 and '20-'21 teams ... hype that should have been good enough to secure LOIs from Top-50s / 100s. The staff is now in an unenviable position of operating with a very small margin of error to creatively address team needs in a shortened recruiting lifecycle.
Perhaps some who have full faith in this year's Transfer Portal look to it as more of a cure without accounting for the fact that we are still going to be recruiting against the top programs for the top talent. The Portal, like the prep trail, is a highly competitive market where recruiting reigns supreme. It serves as a viable option to augment prep classes and add positional depth; it is not, however, a one-stop shop for repairing a busted recruiting class. Admittedly, this Spring is going to be different from than any we have seen - even if the expected talent boon is only a feint uptick from the norm - so saddle up. Although impossible to predict, will talent be there? And if so, will the staff be able to shake off the collective sting of its misses this Fall and downshift to a new gear?
Oddly enough, optimism is not dead. There are a few intriguing prep wings still available to go with those in the Top-30 who have yet to announce but with whom we have no shot. There is also a player already in the Portal who fits our needs (as we fit his) and checks a "big" box. Whether he is an anomaly, represents the ceiling / prize of the class, or a positive sign of the talent to come, Will Baker is a welcomed addition to the Portal. Unless there is a [recruiting] coup in the works, it would be surprising if the staff does not go all-in here, as they are not in a position to pass; Baker and two wings would palatable. The staff knows this and is no doubt silently at work forecasting various markets / signing scenarios, creating plans of attack, as well as prepping contingencies ... and contingencies for those contingencies ... as we wait impatiently. Until more materializes, what are "your" expectations regarding how the Portal will fill out / predictions for the players who will be filling it?
I am never surprised if they don't choose Illinois, but you sounded "Matter of Fact" like you had some inside info. Thanks for responding.History tells us that we do not get elite recruits from Whitney Young. There is no buzz around him speaking highly of Illinois. He is blueblood bound. I hope I am wrong. Just do not be surprised if he does not choose Illinois.
One poor recruiting cycle means more today than it did a few years ago. Rosters will turn more quickly and talent must be replaced immediately. I have very mixed emotions on whether the transfer portal will be a net benefit to Illinois or not. Only time will tell and it looks likely that we will have some strong needs without many other options than the portal.
When the rule is finalized on allowing the one time transfer, I hope they put in some specific language about when schools must be given notice. I honestly believe it would be in everyone’s, including the players, best interest to have at least a June 1 deadline for basketball.