April 12 Illinois basketball chat

April 12 Illinois basketball chat

Wednesday, April 12, 2017 - 12:30pm

How does Jeremiah Tilmon and Javon Pickett opting out of Illinois affect the 2017-18 team? What will Brad Underwood do with four open scholarships? Will the third assistant coach be named soon? Just what will the '17-18 team look like? Ask these questions (and more) of beat writer Scott Richey who is chatting at 12:30 p.m. Wednesday on all things Illini basketball.

Scott Richey wrote on April 12, 2017 at 12:04 pm
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Good afternoon everybody. With a bunch of questions already waiting in today's chat, I'm just going to jump right into it, but wanted to put this little teaser out there, too. Got a chance to spend some time this morning with Brad Underwood and the plan is to have a story in Sunday's N-G on his first almost month as Illini coach. If you missed it, I talked with some of the coaches Underwood worked with for a story in this past Sunday's N-G. Check it out here.

Anyway, a big offeason hoops chat is awaiting me. Let's get to it ...

Scott Richey wrote on April 12, 2017 at 12:04 pm
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First two questions this week come from Twitter ...

From Waka Molè‏ (@arm_4016)

Is Keelon Lawson a potential option for the last assistant job?  What unsigned players are realistic options at this point?

For those who might not be aware, Keelon Lawson is a former Memphis assistant and father of recent Kansas commits Dedric and K.J. Lawson. Basically, Keelon Lawson was hired at Memphis to get his sons on the team (i.e. Cuonzo Martin hiring Michael Porter Sr. at Missouri to get Michael Porter Jr.). Keelon Lawson, as fas as I know, wasn't even in the Illini picture before his sons committed to Kansas. He does have two younger sons, however. So with the way things work, their might be another assistant or support staff job out there for him.

From jimmy christopher‏ (@illinistones)  

why is the sun-times reporting the new HC hasn't yet reached out to the big time CPS programs???

This question is in reference to the mailbag City/Surburn Hoops Report's Joe Henricksen posted this week where, in reference to a direct question, said Brad Underwood had yet to reach out to some of the more high profile Chicago Public League coaches as of earlier this week.

In answer to the question to me, the Sun-Times (via Henricksen) is reporting this particular news because it covers the CPL and because Henricksen was asked directly about it.

Kevin H. wrote on April 12, 2017 at 12:04 pm

Thanks for the chats, keep up the good work!

We'll never know what was said in the visits Underwood had with Tilmon and Pickett, but in your opinion do you think Underwood told them they weren't ideal for his system and it'd be in their best basketball interest to open up their recruitment again? Or do you think other programs were in their ear to decommit?  I would have thought he'd definitely do his best to keep Tilmon but maybe he didn't see Pickett as an ideal fit.

Thanks

Scott Richey wrote on April 12, 2017 at 12:04 pm
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Kevin H.,

Glad you enjoy the chats and thanks for the question this week.

You're right. What was said between Brad Underwood and Jeremiah Tilmon and Javon Pickett will largely remain between them and their families with more conjecture than anything coming from the outside. I do, however, find it difficult to believe Illinois — a team with a need down low — told Tilmon there wasn't a place for him. He had the opportunity to contribute immediately at Illinois. Pickett perhaps less so in that regard, making Tilmon's departure the tougher pill to swallow in a pure basketball sense.

But at one point, both had apparently heard something they liked to make a public declaration of still being committed to Illinois even if Tilmon's was, in retrospect, a bit more circumspect than Pickett's.

The coaching change at Illinois gave Tilmon, and then Pickett, the opening they needed to re-open their recruitment with no penalty. That's about the only circumstance where this situation becomes possible, and they've taken advantage. 

 

Anonymous User wrote on April 12, 2017 at 12:04 pm

Who will be the third assistant coach? I have heard the name Chuck Martin, who was on Tom Crean's staff at Indiana. Why is he a possibility for Underwood's staff?

Scott Richey wrote on April 12, 2017 at 12:04 pm
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Anonymous,

No official word on the third assistant coach yet, although I would expect it soon. The two names that seem to be tied to Illinois the most are Ron "Chin" Coleman and Chuck Martin.

Coleman is the definition of "Chicago guy" having played and coached in the Chicago Public League, coached with the Mac Irvin Fire on the circuit and now coaching at UIC. 

Martin would be a possibility because Brad Underwood is looking all over in putting together his coaching staff having not brought any of his former assistants at Oklahoma State with him. Martin has head coaching experience (five seasons at Marist) and would help Illinois tap into east coast recruiting. He was Indiana's top recruiter under Tom Crean the past three seasons and was the main recruiter of Thomas Bryant. 

Anonymous User wrote on April 12, 2017 at 12:04 pm

I am happy John Groce landed at Akron. I expect he'll have great success there.

My question has to do with the difference between the two schools for a head coach (other than salary). Groce had use of a private jet at Illinois for recruiting purposes. Would a coach at a school like Akron have access to a private jet? Do all Big Ten coaches have access to a private jet? Other differences like a dedicated men's basketball team practice gym versus a shared gym space ...?

Scott Richey wrote on April 12, 2017 at 12:04 pm
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Anonymous,

The fact so many jobs in the state of Ohio opened up this season (except for Ohio State basically) was almost perfect for John Groce. Akron is a good landing spot for him given his ties to the area.

As far as how the move from the Big Ten to the MAC will change things for Groce, he'll just have to try and do the same with fewer resources. The MAC doesn't have the type of money pouring in to its member schools like the Big Ten does with its various TV deals. That changes things. I'm not sure if Akron has a private jet on standby for recruiting trips, but a quick look at its athletic website does not reveal a separate basketball practice facility. That's different. 

It's the difference between a power five (or six) job and the rest of Division I. The MAC is better situated than, say, the SWAC or MEAC, but those coaches simply don't have the resources of the high major programs.

Lars wrote on April 12, 2017 at 12:04 pm

Scott, 

Thanks always for your intelligent insight into the most important questions asked on a chat board anywhere (and for ensuring that I'll have an hour of Kardashian free internet at my desk).  

Can you tell us what the new assistant #2 brings to the table and his background?  Thoughts on who the #3 assistant might be and what that assistant fills as far as need?

 

 

Scott Richey wrote on April 12, 2017 at 1:04 pm
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Lars,

Thanks for the kind words, and if I can provide an hour of Kardashian-free internet I'm more than happy to do so.

Orlando Antigua gives Illinois a national recruiting presence. He's a known quanitity in those circles. Having the Kentucky and John Calipari brand behind him certainly helped him recruit the quality of players he did for the Wildcats, but he had to sell the program to those guys who could have gone anywhere they wanted. It will be interesting to see how that translates at Illinois where the brand isn't quite at the same level right now. He's a basketball guy, too. Played at the D-I level, some overseas and with the Globetrotters even before becoming an assistant.

I went into more detail on two possibilities (Chin Coleman and Chuck Martin) for the third assistant in a previous response. Whoever it ends up being, I would expect he would match the profile of the guys Brad Underwood has already hired in Jamall Walker and Antigua — a do-it-all type of assistant that is good on Xs & Os and can coach and recruit.

teachdacc2 wrote on April 12, 2017 at 1:04 pm

Scott, 

Keep up the great work on these chats!  VB question:  Will the new recruits remain committed?  Any defections projected or are the current students excited for the new coaches?

BB Question:  With four scholarships do you project the Coach Underwood goes after guards and a Big ?  Will Coach Walker reignite the flame for the two individuals who were released from NLI today?  Having a sister on staff at the school Tillmon goes to, and his dad now stepping into the picture is this tampering by Misouri?  Will these guys follow Groce?  

Thanks.

Scott Richey wrote on April 12, 2017 at 1:04 pm
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teachdacc2,

From all indiciations, including talking with Chris Tamas, Illinois' nine-deep Class of 2017 will arrive intact. And the roster as it stands this spring will stay intact. I haven't spoken with every single player, but the ones I have talked with said the team is on board behind Tamas. Already a close team, they used the time between Kevin Hambly leaving and Tamas being hired to get even closer out of necessity really.

If all four scholarships are used I could see a guard, a wing and two bigs being added to give the roster a bit more positional balance. Now, all four might be used. If one's held over for a possible midyear guy or to roll over to 2018, I would still of each of those groups (guard, wing, big) being added.

Now that Jeremiah Tilmon and Javon Pickett have their release in hand, I would say either landing back at Illinois is a super long shot. Pickett maybe could follow Groce. Tilmon won't be playing at Akron. 

The Missouri tampering allegation from some corners of the Illinois fan base has become popular. It's only tampering if Missouri contacted Tilmon directly, and that would have to be proven with hard evidence of which I don't know that anyone making the allegations could present at this moment. Missouri was within its rights to talk to people connected to Tilmon or have other commits like Michael Porter Jr. get in his ear. The latter is fine. The former is a bit "dirty pool" as they, but recruiting isn't exactly a clean business.

Anonymous User wrote on April 12, 2017 at 1:04 pm

Among my reasons to be excited about 2017-18 is the opportunity to watch new player-leaders emerge. Who among returning players do you think will step up as a team leader?

Personally, I look at Finke and Black as guys who have played the most, make big plays, and bring serious energy. Additionally: Aaron Jordan was always smiling and cheering from the bench. Does he take a big step? DJ Williams and Jalen Coleman will have increased roles and came from very solid high school programs where I imagine they soaked up leadership skills every year. Nichols brings it every game. Lucas running the show.

Scott Richey wrote on April 12, 2017 at 1:04 pm
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Anonymous,

Based solely on the position he plays, Te'Jon Lucas, even as a sophomore, almost has to become more of a leader. I would say Michael Finke could step into that role as well being one of the older guys on the roster. Illinois had Tracy Abrams so long as the vocal leader and Malcolm Hill as the leader by example that there's a big gap to fill there now. The Illini will need someone or multiple someones — maybe Jalen Coleman-Lands steps up, too — to take that leadership responsibility.

JPY wrote on April 12, 2017 at 1:04 pm

Should Illinois be concerned about allegations around  USF program and Antingua's hire?

Scott Richey wrote on April 12, 2017 at 1:04 pm
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JPY,

I asked Brad Underwood about this today. He said the allegations of academic fraud at USF and the ongoing NCAA investigation was part of the vetting process of Orlando Antigua. Underwood spoke with Antigua about it. So did Illinois athletic director Josh Whitman. Both clearly were satisfied with what they heard and discovered to hire Antigua. They're not concerned — Underwood said he knows the kind of person Antigua is — but I understand that there are parts of the fan base that are concerned by it.

Bill-e-bob wrote on April 12, 2017 at 1:04 pm

Hi Scott,

Thanks for the very helpful article on the new Illini Volleyball recruit! 

Do you think you will have time to do a profile of the new Volleyball coaches in conjunction with the Huff Hall Spring match on April 22? 

With so many new players coming in August, there will be plenty of other profiles to write when the season starts then. 

I appreciate your efforts to provide Illini Volleyball strong sports coverage.

Scott Richey wrote on April 12, 2017 at 1:04 pm
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Bill-e-bob,

Glad to have you back on the chat and you're welcome about the recent article on 2019 commit Ellie Holzman. (Check it out here.)

Not sure what my coverage plans are for the end of the spring schedule. I intend to check out the Illini this coming Saturday at Illinois State (my schedule permitting, of course) and I'll be at the match at Huff next Saturday. The full staff isn't all in Champaign yet. The Tamas family is still finalizing its move, so new volunteer assistant Jen Tamas has yet to arrive. 

But the turnover with the coaching staff and nine new players coming (Illinois just announced the official addition of its four walk-ons) will provide plenty of story opportunities moving forward. 

Illini Basketball Fan wrote on April 12, 2017 at 1:04 pm

Scott -

Several Questions:

1) What are the NCAA rules involving teams that have massive defections/departures? (Thinking graduations, transfers, LOI Releases, quiting, etc) Suppose a team loses 10 players at once (end of season) - does that mean the team now has ten available scholarships to expend? Or is there a limit t0 9ffer regardless of how many left the team/departed?

2) Do you anticipate 'surprise' commit(s) now that BU's recruiting team has gone pretty much 'steath' in their recruiting trails?  Who are the realistic recruits that BU go after to 'fit his system'? 

3) Will the fan base be overall favorable with the 'replacements' (replacing Tilmon, Pickett, others TBA)?

4) Who do you think will most likely be the 3rd Assistant?

Thanks!

Scott Richey wrote on April 12, 2017 at 1:04 pm
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Illini Basketball Fan,

Hopefully I've several answers for you.

1). It's my understanding that if a team has an open scholarship it can fill it, and that the number of open scholarships doesn't matter. Brad Underwood ultimately ended up with seven open scholarships after taking the Stephen F. Austin job. He added five freshmen and two junior college transfers. Of course, you don't have to fill every open scholarship.

2). There are several players, both 2017 high school prospects and various transfers, that have been tied to Illinois since the coaching change. You could see guys from that group — like Edwardsville's Mark Smith or even Pitt transfer Cameron Johnson — or more "surprise" guys. As far as type of player to fit Underwood's system (with need in mind), think combo guard, scoring wing and versatile big man. Smith actually could fit those first two criteria, while Johnson, at 6-foot-8, would be a mix of the latter two criteria.

3). I think like most things in sports, there will be, say 40 percent, of the fan base over the moon about anyone that signs, 40 percent that cares more about who Illinois missed on and not sold on anyone that signs and 20 percent just happy to fill out the roster with guys that can hoop a little. Can't make everybody happy all the time. Just about impossible.

4). I'd say it could be one of the two assistants whose names have cropped up recently (Chin Coleman and Chuck Martin) or someone who's not on anybody's radar — with the former perhaps being the better bet at the moment (but no sure thing). When it comes to recruiting and coaching searches, I've found it's best not to deal in absolutes.

Anonymous User wrote on April 12, 2017 at 1:04 pm

Regarding the release of Jeremish Tilman, do you think there were any restrictions placed on his release?  I know Josh Whitman will keep that information pretty close but curious if you know anything.  If any schools broke any rules regarding contact with him, I would hope those schools would be excluded from signing him.  By doing nothing, the U of I would have enabled those schools to break the rules.  Needs to be consequences to those schools (maybe such as Missouri)

Scott Richey wrote on April 12, 2017 at 1:04 pm
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Anonymous,

Again, the perils of an early submitted question when things change by the day with Illinois basketball. Jeremiah Tilmon has his release in hand. As far as restrictions, there's not much a school can do in the case of releasing a player from a National Letter of Intent. Some restrictions can, and have been, placed on transfers like Wisconsin did to Jarrod Uthoff, which led to him sitting out a season so he could transfer to Iowa.

The three options a school has when it receives a request to release a student-athlete from an NLI is to give the full release, deny the release or deny the release but remove the recruiting ban. That last one means the student-athlete must still sit out a seaosn and lose a year of competition, but can be recruited by anyone that chooses.

There's obviously been plenty of rumor mill churning concerning Tilmon's requested release. Actually proving any malfeasance, though, will prove more difficult. 

ScottRisAwesome! wrote on April 12, 2017 at 1:04 pm

Scott,

There seems to be a number of Illinis fans/faithful with the notion that, "I like Williams and Frazier because of their character, they remained loyal, etc." while the bashing of Tilmon and Picket either comes with, "They were not a good fit"-(Tilmon), "He was not going to play until Senior year because he only had 1 or 2 high major offers" (Pickett), and/or "It says a lot about character when they back out of a commitment." However, our brand new coach just left a high major school after only 1 year. Now, I am not saying he is a bad coach (his record says otherwise). However, if Illini fans are bashing these 2 players because they no longer serve a purpose (which is fueling the hope and dreams of Illini fans), how can Illini fans not bash Underwood for essentially doing the same thing to OSU? Yes, I realize that he got a pay bump from 1 to 3 million but leave only after 1 year of service? How can players rely on him for the future? What Kansas State opens up and they are willing to pony up 4 mil a year? The hypocrsiy of some of the fans is amusing. Anyways, my question...do you see a lot of fans bashing the "lack of loyalty" of Pickett/Tilmon and do you feel that those who do bash them and not Underwood are hypocritical? Thanks Scott.

Scott Richey wrote on April 12, 2017 at 2:04 pm
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ScottRisAwesome!,

Terrific screen name. Thought-provoking question, too. You're the early leader for "winner" of today's chat.

I was not surprised to see the "these guys are overrated" narrative permeate out of the fan base once Jeremiah Tilmon and Javon Pickett requested their release. It was like clockwork. I think the thing that sparked those kind of feelings this time around, though, was the fact both Tilmon and Pickett signaled their intent to still come to Illinois only to change their mind — two days later in Tilmon's case.

They changed their mind. Just like Brad Underwood did about staying at Oklahoma State when presented with the opportunity to coach at Illinois. Illini fans are unhappy about the former. Cowboys fans are unhappy about the latter. 

There is a double standard for sure when it comes to players requesting an NLI release or transferring and coaches leaving one job for another. It's not fair, but, what are you going to do?

Pam Mayer wrote on April 12, 2017 at 2:04 pm

Have you heard anything about the University of Missouri currently being investigated by the NCAA for academic fraud violations?  They settled 1 NCAA investigation recently, self-imposed sanctions, and then were reportedly under investigation again after a tutor admitted assisting students with exams, taking classes, etc., last November.   If true, MO could receive further sanctions.  Why would Tilmon, Porter, etc. consider MO?  Why isn't anyone talking about this, is it too preliminary or not true?

http://www.chicagotribune.com/sports/college/ct-university-of-missouri-t...
http://www.kansascity.com/sports/college/sec/university-of-missouri/arti...
Thanks!

Scott Richey wrote on April 12, 2017 at 2:04 pm
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Pam Mayer,

I haven't heard or read anything new on those allegations of academic fraud at Missouri since the original story broke last November. Perhaps the investigation is still ongoing. Nothing I saw tied the basketball program directly to the alleged fraud, but it is one of the two revenue-generating sports at Missouri. 

As far as Michael Porter Jr. goes, he wound up at Missouri because his dad was hired as an assistant coach. Now, the family has ties to Missouri. Michael Porter Sr. was on the women's basketball staff at Missouri for a time and is married to head coach Robin Pingeton's sister. Their daugther, Cierra, is on the Tigers women's team. 

Michael Porter Jr. was going to wind up wherever his dad was. It was Washington at first because Lorenzo Romar is his godfather and his dad was on staff. Jeremiah Tilmon might end up at Missouri because the opportunity to play with Michael Porter Jr. (a likely No. 1 pick in 2018) will put Tilmon in front of NBA scouts on the regular. That's a draw. Maybe even more than actually winning games.

Still Hopeful wrote on April 12, 2017 at 2:04 pm

What's the hold up on securing the third assistant? Doesn't look good. And why wouldn't you make those courtesy calls to the coaches of the best high schools in the state? I know there is a lot to do but it seems that this staff has not started all that well. 

Scott Richey wrote on April 12, 2017 at 2:04 pm
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Still Hopeful,

Having spoken with Brad Underwood, I get the feeling he's willing to take the time to make sure he hires the right assistant and not just make a quick hire. And, the big open recruiting periods are still yet to come this month. I'd imagine the hire gets made before then.

As far as your second question, I think it's important for Illinois to recruit Chicago — that's who I assume you're talking about — but that's been a very one-way relationship for a long time. Underwood has reportedly started reaching out to some of those coaches (Evanston's Mike Ellis tweeted about his call last night) but the vibe I get from Underwood is he's not going to beholden to anybody when it comes to recruiting. He's going to recruit guys he feels are a fit to his system and guys that want to be at Illinois.

Goldy173 wrote on April 12, 2017 at 2:04 pm

Does anyone know if illinois will honor the requests of the two recruits who want to be released?

Scott Richey wrote on April 12, 2017 at 2:04 pm
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Goldy173,

In case you missed it yesterday, Jeremiah Tilmon and Javon Pickett have received their releases. 

Kevin Blankenship wrote on April 12, 2017 at 2:04 pm

What is the probability that Bragg could end up at Illinois and who are the top 2 or 3 impact players that Illinois has a chance of landing to come play in 17-18?  Thanks.

Scott Richey wrote on April 12, 2017 at 2:04 pm
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Kevin Blankenship,

I'd say Illinois has a shot at Carlton Bragg, and having Orlando Antigua on staff could really help in that regard. It might come down to Illinois being willing to bank a scholarship on him to sit a year rather than use it on a player that could contribute right away. 

With Kentucky getting a commitment from Jemarl Baker and Miles Bridges leaning heavily it seems toward returning to Michigan State, I think that puts Illinois in a really good position vis-à-vis Mark Smith. So there's one impact player that could end up with the Illini in 2017-18. The reported in-home visit with Pitt transfer Cameron Johnson is also a good sign for Illinois. Those two, I believe, would immediately jump into the rotation.

Anonymous User wrote on April 12, 2017 at 2:04 pm

Scott, your opinion please on the Tilmon release. Squeaky clean on Mizzou part or rotten in Denmark?

Scott Richey wrote on April 12, 2017 at 2:04 pm
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Anonymous, 

Innocent until proven guilty, right? It seems like Missouri was in Jeremiah Tilmon's ear through people around him, which is fine. Proving direct contact, if it happened, is more difficult. Yes, Cuonzo Martin did make a reported stop at East St. Louis in the last month. Who there will/would say he and Tilmon were allegedly together?

Recruiting's all sorts of fun, right?

P.S. Bonus points for the Hamlet reference.

Anonymous User wrote on April 12, 2017 at 2:04 pm

 

With the recent decommits, whether by them/us/ or both, it seems as if the ILLINI may finally be getting back to the Flying ILLINI days of athletes and more fun and run style of play. If so, who are the leading recruits to take the last 3 spots available? Yes 3, after Smith announces of course....

Johnson, Badocchi, and ? Hardy would apply if Smith goes elsewhere (MSU)?

Do you think any scholarships are rolled over with 2018 being down as far as talent in state?

 

 

Scott Richey wrote on April 12, 2017 at 2:04 pm
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Anonymous,

Your assumption Mark Smith picks Illinois might look better now with the news in the last two days out of Kentucky and Michigan State. We'll see, right?

But operating under the impression Smith does say yes, I'd say Illinois looks for another bigger wing and a legit big man (grad transfer perhaps).  Who those players might be I really don't know. It's a fluid situation right now at Illinois.

That would leave one scholarship open, which I could see being rolled over since there are no seniors on next year's team and the Class of 2018 has some guys worth pursuing. A grad transfer big man with just one year of eligibility remaining helps in that regard, too.

Gregg G wrote on April 12, 2017 at 2:04 pm

I was really impressed with how Trent Frazier handled the defections. He seems like a class act. I am glad he is an Illini and good riddance to the two that do not want to be here.  Do you see him on the floor at the same time as Lucas and JCL very often in a Brad Underwood offense?

Interesting article by Tate on the Pickett release possibly being a mutual decision. Do you agree with Loren's take?

Who are the PF and C they are recruiting for 2017 including incoming freshmen and 5th year senior transfers?

Thanks for your insight.

Scott Richey wrote on April 12, 2017 at 2:04 pm
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Gregg G,

I think a Te'Jon Lucas-Trent Frazier-Jalen Coleman-Lands three-guard look is a real possibility next season. I wouldn't even be surprised by the occasional four-guard look, with Michael Finke at the 5 operating in the high post and ready to pick-and-pop.

I think Loren could be right about the Javon Pickett situation. Losing Pickett is less of a blow than losing Jeremiah Tilmon, and I've probably been higher on Pickett than others. Would he have made an instant impact? Probably no, but he could score.

The recruitment picture for Illinois isn't exactly clear at the moment. There's interest out there, but no new offers I'm aware of at the moment. There are currently more than 400 names on the transfer list. Of the immediately eligible big men, I wouldn't call it an overwhelmingly great crop so far.

IlliniFansincetheSpoon wrote on April 12, 2017 at 2:04 pm

Hey Scott,

Three top recruits from Metro STL area, at their pressers, with hats from Mizzou, Kentucky, Michigan St., Ohio St., SLU, et al, on the table in front. What are the chances any reach under the table at the last moment and pull on an Akron Zips hat? I find the recruiting game, interesting, to be polite. But you can't fault the young men's concern for their future!

Scott Richey wrote on April 12, 2017 at 2:04 pm
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IlliniFansincetheSpoon,

Interesting is a very polite term for the recruiting game. Your last point is one I get behind, too. This is the biggest decision these teenage basketball players have probably ever made. That they're uncertain shouldn't come as a surprise.

As far as the actual question in your question, I'd say your scenario has pretty poor odds of happening.

Jim from Rockford wrote on April 12, 2017 at 2:04 pm

Do you see anyone such as DJ Williams or Aaron Jordan transferring out of the program, or anyone else for that matter?

Scott Richey wrote on April 12, 2017 at 2:04 pm
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Jim from Rockford,

I've only covered Illinois men's basketball for 1 1/2 seasons. At this point, though, I don't know that I'll take anything off the table in terms of what could happen. Could D.J. Williams or Aaron Jordan transfer? Maybe. They didn't get much playing time the past two seasons, but maybe the shift in system favors them.

Today was actually the first day Brad Underwood and his new staff had a chance to get with the team in the gym and put them through some workouts. So Underwood is getting his first hands-on look with the team, and the players are seeing how they fit. That should provide some clarity perhaps.

 

Allan Huizenga wrote on April 12, 2017 at 2:04 pm

 

 

    How was Chatrice White able to transfer and play immediately?  Thank you!!!!!

           Allan

 

 

         

Scott Richey wrote on April 12, 2017 at 2:04 pm
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Allan,

Like Jacqui Grant and Amarah Coleman (DePaul), Taylor Gleason (Oakland) and Alexis Smith (Wagner) before her, Chatrice White petitioned the NCAA for a waiver to play right away after transferring to Florida State. The circumstances following the 2014-15 season with the investigations into the Illinois women's basketball program and changes made because of them allowed for those waivers to be approved.

Mica wrote on April 12, 2017 at 2:04 pm

Any chance Dee Brown or another former Illini player comes back to be the 3rd assistant and recruit the Chicago area?

Scott Richey wrote on April 12, 2017 at 2:04 pm
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Mica,

Honestly? No. Also, Dee Brown wouldn't be the first on that list probably either. Maybe Deon Thomas would have been. Illinois might have been the job to get him back into coaching, but I think he enjoyed his first season as radio analyst for Illinois and Big Ten Network studio analyst quite a bit, too.

Anthony Mac wrote on April 12, 2017 at 2:04 pm

With the two commitments in Tilmon and Pickett leaving.
I really didn't expect much in terms of wins for this team.
Who are the recruits Underwood is looking for besides Finke
And the Morgan Park point guard for 2018 class and beyond

Scott Richey wrote on April 12, 2017 at 3:04 pm
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Anthony Mac,

Illinois' success in the 2017-18 season is still dependent on how the four open scholarships are used. There's clearly opportunity to add some immediate impact type players ... if the Illini can land them. So that's a wait and see at the moment.

As far as some 2018 guys to keep an eye on, forwards Trevion Williams (Detroit) and Darius Days (Williston, Fla.) had Illinois offers from John Groce. So did five-star point guard Darius Garland out of Nashville, Tenn. Everybody wants Garland, though. He's got Kansas and Duke offers among a lot more.

The 2019 recruits with Illinois offers under Groce are power forwards E.J. Liddelle (Belleville West), Francis Okoro (Normal West), James Wiseman (Nashville) and Nobal Days (Racine, Wis.) and guards Tyger Campbell (La Lumiere), Marquise Walker (Curie) and Perry Cowan (DePaul Prep). Wiseman's a top 10 guy nationally, but Liddell and Okoro would also be big gets for Illinois.

Haven't had time to dive into all the 2018 and 2019 guys Oklahoma State offered, but that could possibly add to Illinois' potential recruiting target pool.

Scott Richey wrote on April 12, 2017 at 3:04 pm
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Based on sheer number of questions alone — and the fact there wasn't much repetition on topic — I think that qualifies as best offseason basketball chat to date. Thanks to everyone that participated this week or simply followed along. Both are appreciated.

Be on the lookout for more Illini hoops coverage this week. The chat will return next week, of course. Same time, same place.

Until then, enjoy the week!