April 11 Illinois basketball chat

Wednesday, April 11, 2012 - 1:30pm

Missouri assistant Isaac Chew will be announced as the third assistant at Illinois. Attended high school in Chicago. Worked with UI assistant Jamall Walker at Murray State.

Here's more from today's online chat by beat writer Paul Klee.

Paul Klee — 01:31 PM on Wed, 04/11/2012

Afternoon everyone. Beat writer Paul Klee joining you for this Illinois basketball chat. Plenty to discuss after a busy Tuesday. Be here for an hour. Fire away.

jsnow — 01:32 PM on Wed, 04/11/2012

Hey Paul,

For all the emphasis on Chicago, is there a chance this staff broadens the recruiting areas outside of just Illinois?


Paul Klee — 01:35 PM on Wed, 04/11/2012

J- You'll seen an emphasis in St. Louis, Indiana (although most of the good players in upcoming classes are committed), Ohio and some other spots. Prep schools. John Groce doesn't have much of a history recruiting jucos. He prefers not to. He took only one juco player in four years at Ohio University. They will emphasize Chicago. But they won't overemphasize Chicago. That's a plus. In the meantime watch for transfers and fifth-year seniors that are looking to move. Illinois needs players, mainly in the frontcourt and at point guard, and the new staff is working feverishly to add to the roster. Klee

Retention — 01:36 PM on Wed, 04/11/2012

How possible is it there may be some transfers?  Who is the most likely, and would these players just go to Kansas State, or would it be more open?  I literally woke up at 5am from a bad dream that DJ had transferred to Kansas State.  Please calm my nerves and tell me no one is actually going to leave.

Paul Klee — 01:43 PM on Wed, 04/11/2012

Retention- First, you need help. As for your question, these coaches didn't recruit these players; these players didn't commit to these coaches. So put it this way: the expected 2012-13 roster won't look like you're expecting it to look. Could be a recruit not arriving as expected; could be a player leaving. There will be movement. As for your dream... D.J. Richardson isn't going anywhere. He loves Illinois. And it would take a moving truck to transport all of his Chuck Taylors. If there's one thing I've noticed about John Groce - and I've noticed a lot - he rarely sees a bad shot. The coach is more inclined to shout at a player for passing up a shot than taking a bad one. Guys like D.J. Richardson appreciate that sort of approach. Klee

Anonymous User — 01:44 PM on Wed, 04/11/2012


Any word on any possible transfers? I think athletic guys such as Henry and Langford would thrive under Groce's System! Your Thoughts?

Paul Klee — 01:53 PM on Wed, 04/11/2012

Anonymous- Myke Henry is what the staff calls a "bucket-maker." He could play significant minutes as a sophomore - perhaps at the 4, if he doesn't mind playing the 4, and he doesn't. He's gifted. Scoring comes easy to him, and the new staff wants to score. Devin Langford led the prayer at the Illinois basketball banquet last night. If he finds a motor he could play, too. The size and instincts (especially the instincts) are there. Haven't seen anything to suggest he can impact next season; maybe as an upperclassmen. That's the quick answer. Klee

Bart — 01:55 PM on Wed, 04/11/2012

It's a shame Crandall Head transferred so soon, seems to be an offensive style he was looking for.  Any chance he could come back?

Paul Klee — 01:58 PM on Wed, 04/11/2012

Bart- Doubtful. First, last I was told he's not enrolled anywhere, so there's the academic side of it. And I'm not sure he would be that good of a fit on the basketball side of it, regardless. Klee

Dave C. — 02:05 PM on Wed, 04/11/2012

Do you think it will hurt the U of I to not have retained Jerrance for recruiting?

Paul Klee — 02:17 PM on Wed, 04/11/2012

Dave- We'll see. What I see is a coach building an impressive staff. Dustin Ford and Jamall Walker are excellent, particularly in player development. If you watched last season, that's what this team needs (dribbling, passing, shooting). Recruiting-wise, Walker will handle Chicago and St. Louis; Ford largely will be in Indiana and Ohio; John Groce will be everywhere. And there will be some overlap. Isaac Chew would work in Chicago, as well. By adding Chew, you get a guy that already is familiar with many of the Illini targets; he's recruited the same players. This staff wants to operate in a six-hour "breadbasket" of recruiting - while reaching outside of that ratio for the occasional prep school recruitment or otherwise. And six hours is a loose term. Hopefully you get what I mean by that.

As for your question, I think it would hurt the U of I more (from a PR/favored alumni standpoint) if it doesn't handle Jerrance Howard's contract situation well. He played at Illinois, he's an alum (so is his wife) and he was the lead recruiter on (roughly) half your roster. Want to lose Deron Williams' influence and good favor? Jerk around his best friend and former roommate. So we'll see which direction that goes. Jerrance is very good on the recruiting trail. And like I wrote in today's News-Gazette - joining Bruce Weber at Kansas State is a distinct possibility for Jerrance Howard. Unless something changes, I expect his next job will be in Manhattan. Klee

Johnny Be Good — 02:18 PM on Wed, 04/11/2012

Klee when you taking a vacation? Everytime I look on illinihq you are breaking another story. LOL. Nice job these last few weeks. Question is this... would Ravonte Rice be a good option at Illinois? Thanks for keeping us informed it can't be easy making everyone happy...

Paul Klee — 02:24 PM on Wed, 04/11/2012

J- I'm on vacation... soon as this chat is over. For a couple days, at least. It's been a good few weeks for the News-Gazette. As for Rayvonte Rice, yes, he would be an immediate-impact guy at Illinois when he became eligible. He would be one of your top two or three best players next season (if he were eligible next season, but that would only happen if there were special circumstances and he needed to be closer to home). Rayvonte Rice has a gang of schools after him. Kansas State, Missouri, Illinois and several more... and Marquette and Memphis got in the mixt yesterday, asking for his release. Kansas State is in good shape with him and could get a visit as soon as this weekend. As we wrote Monday, Illinois requested and was granted permission to contact Rayvonte Rice, and the new Illini staff did so. They'd like to get him on campus. He fits their profile of an attacking player. But as you can see - he has options. Klee

EA Sports — 02:29 PM on Wed, 04/11/2012

Hi Paul - There are reports of Isaac Chew from Mizzou as lead assistant for Groce. Any insight on Coach Chew? Thanks, EA

Paul Klee — 02:38 PM on Wed, 04/11/2012

EA- Missouri assistant Isaac Chew will be announced as the third assistant at Illinois. Attended high school in Chicago. Worked with UI assistant Jamall Walker at Murray State. Has a relationship with the Irvins in Chicago. On an immediate level, might help with Rayvonte Rice. There's more. And there's your first Braggin' Rights win in a few years - taking a Missouri assistant. Klee

Brooks Taylor — 02:39 PM on Wed, 04/11/2012

Do you think that Groce would land both Rayvonte Rice and Kendrick Nunn in 2013? With the need for a quality big man and Parker a possibility, it seems foolish to go after both. I would prefer having Nunn over Rice. Can you also give us an update on potential recruits you think would be a great fit with Illinois under Groce? Thanks again for the chat.

Paul Klee — 02:45 PM on Wed, 04/11/2012

Brooks- Different types of players. Yes, if given the opportunity, you take both. Those are the types of players you will see this staff pursue - attacking, versatile and good ballhandlers. As for big men, since you need a couple, De La Salle's Gavin Schilling will be near (or at) the top of the list. He goes and gets it. And Cincinnati-area junior Devin Williams, who always has said nice things about Illinois, would be up there. The Illinois staff is familiar from their time in Ohio. There are others. Klee

Steve Glendale AZ — 02:51 PM on Wed, 04/11/2012

Does Meyers Leonard have the intention to finish and obtain his degree?  I wish him the best and can't blame him for moving on but the idea of earning an athletic scholarship to obtain a college degree seems to be lost now adays for getting visiblity and seeking the big money of the NBA. Colleges are the NBA minor leagues. I would feel prouder of both Meyers and Deron if they also were Illinois graduates as well as fine NBA performers.   

Paul Klee — 02:53 PM on Wed, 04/11/2012

Steve- To answer your question, Meyers was on pace to finish his coursework in three years (with an internship tacked onto the end). He said he plans to finish his degree at some point. This isn't me saying he will or won't get his degree or should or shouldn't have entered the draft. Just the facts. If I may offer an opinion, I tend to think the biggest reason we go to college is to get a job. Meyers went to college and will get a job.  Klee

Bob Loblaw — 02:56 PM on Wed, 04/11/2012


Please tell me that Coach Groce is simply pandering to the University VIP's when he keeps talking about wanting players who have a "desire to earn a degree".  I understand this is the way it should be but it's not reality nowadays.  If he truly believes this then you're eliminating the best players in the country right off the bat.  Do you really think Jabari Parker wants to hear that Illinois wants him but only if he'll stay for 3-4 years to earn his degree??

Paul Klee — 02:58 PM on Wed, 04/11/2012

Bob- To answer your question... I don't have an answer to your question. Because I don't think there's a question in there. Jabari Parker is most likely a one-and-done prospect. Terrific talent. If there's a question in there somewhere, I apologize. Klee

Phil G. — 03:04 PM on Wed, 04/11/2012

Paul: Well you were right about Snacks. So congrats hope youre proud of yourself.. Jerrance is gone as you had predicted since Weber was fired... Whats next??

Paul Klee — 03:09 PM on Wed, 04/11/2012

Just told you what would happen - not that I agree or disagree with the decision.

What's next? I'm out. Gone until Monday and leaving Marcus Jackson (mjackson@news-gazette.com) in charge. No questions about the unusual banquet that took place last night? About Tracy Abrams becoming the first true freshman to be named Team MVP (Congrats, Tracy)? Thought that said as much about the upperclassmen as the freshman that won it. I pre-recorded an interview with Steve Kelly for SportsTalk tonight. And some more stuff coming later this week on HQ. Thanks for a news-packed couple of weeks. Talk to you Monday. Klee