Tate: What is Walker's next move?

Tate: What is Walker's next move?

Josh Whitman’s dismissal of John Groce, an appropriate move based on the Illini basketball record, was not made without risk.

First of all, it’s unusual for a coach to be fired in the midst of a highly successful recruiting surge.

Those promising prospects now hang in the balance.

Missouri’s hiring of Cuonzo Martin, which was clearly in the works before Cal’s loss to Bakersfield on Tuesday night, now compounds the UI dilemma.

That’s because Martin and Illini interim coach Jamall Walker have personal backgrounds in the suddenly vibrant St. Louis area and, with Walker’s future at Illinois uncertain, Martin will certainly make Walker an offer he hopes Walker can’t refuse.

In case you hadn’t heard, Walker is the Illini connection whose influence is crucial with five-star recruit Jeremiah Tilmon of East St. Louis and likely Mr. Basketball Mark Smith of Edwardsville.

Walker was in the Metro East area Thursday making contact with UI prospects there.

Whitman has stated that he’ll recommend Walker to the next coach but that’s about as far as the AD can go.

So, in these precarious days waiting for the NCAA tournament to unfold, we hold our breath. No coach can win without players.

For the record, Mike Krzyzewski once had seasons of 9-17, 10-17 and 11-17.

Miller vs. Marshall on Friday night
By Monday’s closing date for the Illini job, 52 of 68 NCAA tournament coaches will be eliminated and free to sit down for negotiations.

Of course, Whitman’s choice might advance to the Sweet 16, which would take longer, but UI recruits — they get the inside word — have indicated the new coach could be finalized next week.

Among the most analyzed games on Friday will be the showdown in Indianapolis between Archie Miller’s Dayton Flyers and Gregg Marshall’s Wichita State Shockers.

If Miller, 38, isn’t No. 1 at Indiana, why wouldn’t he be interested in Illinois? University tax forms had him at $1.16 million after Dayton reached the Elite Eight in 2014, and he’s had two raises since then.

If Miller can expect $1.8 million next season, Whitman reportedly has the funds to double that, thereby drawing him close to Big Ten leader Tom Izzo’s $4.15 million (he actually makes more).

All Marshall does is win
But it is Marshall who is most intriguing among a dozen comparable prospects.

The guy made seven — that’s right, seven — NCAA tournaments at Winthrop.

He’s turned the Missouri Valley into a 68-4 joke the last four years, and has made six straight NCAA tourneys while averaging fractionally less than 30 wins per season.

But he’s the Rodney Dangerfield of basketball. The 53-year-old gets no respect.

For his 30-4 season, he was handed a 10 seed opposite Dayton, even though the Vegas gamblers (who know better) make Wichita State a six-point favorite, and ESPN projects the Shockers with a 72-percent chance of winning.

Even if successful on Friday night, the Shockers will probably have to face Kentucky ... which means, too bad, he’ll probably be gone by Sunday.

But he’s got a nice setup
Marshall, who has indicated he “might listen,” would be crazy to jump.

He’ll make $3.5 million next season, has a strong squad intact, and is the king of a university that has no football and is backed by the billionaire Charles Koch, after whom the arena is named.
If it becomes a money battle, they win.

Furthermore, Marshall’s daughter will be a senior next school year, and his wife loves Wichita.

Now operating the Gonzaga of the Midlands, he has previously shown interest in Texas and UCLA, turned down Missouri when Kim Anderson was named coach, and rejected Alabama’s six-year bid of $4 million per year.

But that ultra-low No. 10 seed must gnaw at his craw.

The Valley is still a mid-major conference, in no way comparable to the cut-throat Big Ten.

In 20 wins against Valley teams this season, the Shockers’ average margin was 21.4. Wichita avenged the lone loss to Illinois State by paddling the Redbirds by 41 and 20.

Playing weak sisters like Bradley, Drake and Loyola is not comparable to tackling upstarts Minnesota, Michigan and Northwestern in order, or even the likes of Indiana and Michigan State when they’re down.

Izzo’s Spartans defeated Wichita State 77-72 this year between losses to Baylor and Duke.

Despite 14 losses, Michigan State may be more prepared for the next challenge.

Loren Tate writes for The News-Gazette. He can be reached at late@news-gazette.com.


News-Gazette.com embraces discussion of both community and world issues. We welcome you to contribute your ideas, opinions and comments, but we ask that you avoid personal attacks, vulgarity and hate speech. We reserve the right to remove any comment at our discretion, and we will block repeat offenders' accounts. To post comments, you must first be a registered user, and your username will appear with any comment you post. Happy posting.

Login or register to post comments

Efrem84 wrote on March 16, 2017 at 11:03 am

I hope he is more honorable than Tracy Webster, current Martin assistant.

IIRC, Webster was supposed to be recruiting a player for UI, and actually told him that he might be moving to Kentucky, and would he go there if he moved. Player ended up at Kentucky, with Webster.

Hope this turns out better.


wayward wrote on March 16, 2017 at 7:03 pm

Realistically, Walker needs to do what's best for Walker at this point. Loyalty is a two-way street.

Wiseguy1130 wrote on March 16, 2017 at 10:03 pm


So grateful to be informed a coach can't win without players.

Who knew?

For the record, I don't care about Coach K's record! What does three Coach K seasons with 17 losses, have to do with anything Illini? What was the point?

What is precarious about the NCAA tourney for Illinois? Did LT mean precarious days waiting for the NIT to unfold?  

Precarious waiting for a Missouri offer to Walker? Wondering if Missouri's offer will be glorious?

Maybe LT can ask Walker who those fans are that he thinks want Illinois to lose. I mean any who aren't from Iowa, Wisconsin, Indiana, etc.

The ones Mr. Interim Coach mentioned in the post-game.


jjohnson wrote on March 16, 2017 at 12:03 pm

I don't know if we are witnessing an alias in "wiseguy," but for those with logical minds, Tate is suggesting, for instance, that Coach K could not win until he got players -- fairly obvious, I suspect, to anyone who is not obessed witn "getting even" with Tate, and relevance of NCAA and "precarious" is whether Whitman is interested in attracting one of those coaches who is in the tournament, with the need to close out so that another school cannot grab Illini recruits. Maybe it is simply that I am cursed from having been in the College of Engineering, but I cannot escape using a touch of reason rather than blind hatred every now and then.

Wiseguy1130 wrote on March 16, 2017 at 7:03 pm

I'm personally quite delighted that you have set your sights on building a better bridge, or designing a nifty faucet, JJ. Very admirable. Especially the bridge work. Safety is serious business.

You were clearly not in a lot of English, or composition classes. But I am impressed that you set a world record for the most words used in a run-on sentence. And invented a new word, obessed.

And I'm also aware that the grammatically challenged, are likely to call me the police to divert attention away from carelessness.

Now get back to that bridge design, JJ.

skm1962 wrote on March 17, 2017 at 10:03 am

Wiseguy, maybe you should brush up on your grammar and writing skills before throwing stones at others. You have commas where they aren't needed.  You begin sentences with the word "and".  You have put together a string of words that are incomplete sentences.  Perhaps you should head back to English or composition classes?

Wiseguy1130 wrote on March 17, 2017 at 11:03 am

Not necessary to have complete sentences in a creative piece.

Thanks for playing.

skm1962 wrote on March 17, 2017 at 12:03 pm

Then I'd venture to say it's not necessary to have short and concise sentences in a creative piece.  jjohnson's piece was very creative.

Too bad you aren't as smart as you think you are.

Wiseguy1130 wrote on March 18, 2017 at 6:03 pm

Actually I am.  And I have the paperwork to prove it.  Just wish you hadn't bullied me into possibly sounding egotistical by defending myself.

Also never said short, or non-complete sentences are necessary. It's a chosen, acceptable technique. Read more and you'll discover the N-G writers also use it.

Please pay atttention.


Moonpie wrote on March 16, 2017 at 1:03 pm

Successful recruiting? Really? What we know is that Coach Grimace could not nab the top talent necessary to compete in the upper echelon of the conference. Does The Legendary Scribe mean those two recruits who have yet to play a single minuite as Illini and so they are essentially unproven? That, as usual, is The Ancient Seer violating one of this own edicts -- that highly-touted recruits to other schools must be regarded as unproven, but if they choose Illinois, they're the greatest thing since sliced bread. But then Ancient Tate is a consistent hypocrite and cheerleader.

cowpie needs a hobby wrote on March 16, 2017 at 3:03 pm

"But then Ancient Tate is a consistent hypocrite and cheerleader."

Based on your demonstrated lack of reading comprehension skills and post history, I  think we can all safely assume you have no absolutely idea what those 2 big words you used in your sentence there actually mean.

Objective Reporter wrote on March 16, 2017 at 2:03 pm

To Tate - Um, his next "move" is to win his next game.


To Moonpie - A top recruiting class in the country and the best in the Big 10 isn't landing high calibre players? 

OrlandoIllini wrote on March 16, 2017 at 3:03 pm

Moonpie and Wiseguy rhyme. Probably just a coincidence.

Moonpie and Wiseguy are obsessed with pummeling Loren Tate. Probably just a coincidence.

Moonpie and Wiseguy say they’re former newspaper guys. Probably just a coincidence.

Moonpie and Wiseguy sometimes write with similar cadence and sentence structure. Probably just a coincidence.

Moonpie has neglected to use his MasterOfTheObvious moniker for a while. Probably not a coincidence.


Wiseguy1130 wrote on March 16, 2017 at 6:03 pm

OrlandoIllini rhymes as well. Perhaps more palatable would be the pseudonym NashvilleIllini?

I could change, if that would make you happy and able to reach better conclusions.

Frankly, dude(or dudettte), I think your phrasing matches mine more closely than Moonpie's does.That's my compliment of your style.

For all you amateur analysts out there, observe the harsher tone in Moonpie. Not that I do not utilize an acerbic style occasionally. Well, ok, pretty often.

I don't think that alliteration is part of Moonpie's repertoire, nor on a consistent basis, is word humor.  I consistently try to insert cleverly crafted, creative quips. You don't think so, don't get it, don't like it--I DON'T CARE!

So I'm very tired of the entirely goofy conclusion that Wiseguy is just a different handle for Moonpie. 

And I'm starting to think y'all are trying to Badger me into giving out my personal identity.  I'm not even on Facebook.  Not going to happen. I don't Gopher that kind of stuff.

This an arena for COMMENTING people. We make COMMENTS!!

Deal with it!!!



jdstieg wrote on March 16, 2017 at 7:03 pm

Here's my comment.  Wiseguy is Moonpie.  Deal with it.

Wiseguy1130 wrote on March 16, 2017 at 7:03 pm


JD, what a clever comment!

You're also wrong. And I suspect are someone who had a lot of difficulty paying attention in class.

Moonpie wrote on March 17, 2017 at 3:03 pm

This is so funny! My goodness--many of you folks are absolute loons.

Other than the fact that I respect wiseguy, I have no idea who he is. I suspect we both are true Illini fans who don't have to get into lockstep behind the clowns who blindly cheerlead all things Illini.

But wiseguy -- you don't think I can do alliteration?

We may have to explain it to the locksteppers.

MasterOfTheObvious wrote on March 16, 2017 at 8:03 pm

Wonderboy is 0-1 on Monty WIlliams.  NBA guy looked at Illini and said no.  Illini spin it the other way.  Not so.

Wonderboy is 0-2 on Cuonzo Martin.  Guy would rather be in the SEC East vs Kentucky than have to put up with the Illini mess.

Tony Bennett is not coming to Champaign either,  Pipe dream.  Charlottesville is a much better place to live than Tornado Alley.  Another airball from Wonderboy, 0-3.

Archie MIller?  He will opt for the ACC too.  Wonderboy 0-4.

Roy and K will retire soon and Miller + Bennett will be in the catbird's seat to take the mantle of power coaches from the Blue Boys.  

Indiana is a better job than Illinois - people all over Indiana care about the Hoosiers.  Illinois not even iin the discussion any more with recruits on a national level.




Rocky7 wrote on March 17, 2017 at 12:03 am

How about:

Tom Crean

as the next Illini basketball coach.

wayward wrote on March 17, 2017 at 12:03 am

How about not?

Wiseguy1130 wrote on March 17, 2017 at 9:03 am

Comment of the week, ww!

Love it.

jjohnson wrote on March 17, 2017 at 9:03 am

Sorry your mind cannot digest complex ssentences, wiseguy; no grammatical errors, but I err in engaging in the foolishness of mud-wrestling with a pig.

Wiseguy1130 wrote on March 17, 2017 at 11:03 am

Well, since you hit us with your engineering degree, although I don't think that action would have really hurt anyone, let me say that MY degree and vocational experience would suggest that I can indeed digest the complex JJ, but I am curious however, does ssentences merely describe a run-on sentence, of which this composition is an example, or does it merely reference complexity of wording, for which you provide such a creative example with your magnificent, mud-wrestling pig metaphor, because despite my aforementioned, university studies, I have never heard of that word, so I suspect that perhaps you only made a careless mistake.

Hey! I think I may have broken your record.

But thanks for playing!

skm1962 wrote on March 17, 2017 at 12:03 pm

Sometimes, you just have to use the make-believe "ignore" feature, jjohnson.  Wiseguy is so brainy and witty and smart, none of us will be able to keep up with said person. *insert eye roll and sarcasm*

Moonpie wrote on March 17, 2017 at 3:03 pm

Goodness-- all the silly and needless grief tossed at wiseguy is making me feel down right loved.

Of course -- I know better. The lockstep Tate supporters -- people who don't think for themselves -- love to go after good old Cowpie.


Anyway--leave it to the Trib to do what the Lazy Gazoo cheerleaders won't:


In the absence of other former Illini, athletic director Josh Whitman sounds prepared to offer $25 million to a new coach, perhaps $4 million per season.

If true, you can interpret that as an impressive level of commitment. I see it more as a sign of desperation.

Cowpie sends his everlasting love...

MasterOfTheObvious wrote on March 17, 2017 at 4:03 pm

The funniest thing about everything surrounding Illini Basketball is how the lemmings all feel like the Univeristy of Illinois is an ELITE program, or even a program in the Top 30 in terms of respect.

Not even close.

There are 15 teams that have won MULTIPLE NCAA TITLES. Illnois is not one.  In the Big Ten, Indiana and Michigan State have done this in the B1G.  Maryland, Michigan, Ohio State and Wisconsin have all won titles too.

Illinois has been to 5 Final Fours, but only 2 in the last 28 years. Wisconsin has been in two in the last 4 years. Michigan State has been to 4 since 2000. The new class of recruits were 1 year old when Dee Brown took the Orange and Blue to St Louis before losing in the title game.

No one in Chicago gives a damn about Illinois Basketball.  

The United Center is less than 40% filled for games now.  

In 2015 Illinois could not even sell out the Peoria Civic Center.

There is no mystique about Champaign any more.  No more high school kids grow up dreaming of HS titles in the Assembly Hall.  Their Dads and Uncles did, but that was way back in "the day".

There is no High School Pipeline from Chicago to Champaign.  It's all about the AAU coaches now and Illinois does not want to get caught cheating again, but maybe that will change with an Attorney as the AD.

Just paying a new coach a king's ransom is not going to make a winner.  

Who at Illinois has been a part of winning in football or basketball?  

Josh Whitman played football at Illinois, and was a part of 3 losing teams out of 4 who went 16-29 with him on the field.  His mentor was Ron Turner, who has a 52-91 career coaching record.  He is a big guy, tall, muscular, good speaker, smart, but he has never been a WINNER at any level in terms of WINS and LOSSES.  His Washington U teams won a few national titles in D3, but Wash U outspends other D1 programs 5:1 and more or less buy titles with their overwhelming resources. Illinois is never going to have that advantage. Ever.

In just over a year, Whitman has paid buyouts to Bill Cubit and his football staff, John Groce and his men's basketball staff, and Matt Bollant and his women's basketball staff.  He has also been at the helm as Kevin Hambly, the last Illinois head coach to take his team to an NCAA Final, left the school to coach at Stanford. The jury is out on his successor, and the two hoops positions are open, waiting to be filled.

Whitman's first hire, Lovie Smith went 3-9 at Illinois last year, being paid $4,000,000 to put that record up on the board.  All time, Smith is 92-99 as a head coach. His first recruiting class was ranked #55 in the nation by ESPN http://insider.espn.com/collegesports/football/recruiting/classrankings/_/class2017&date=null

Not exactly making big strides.



I'd hope so.  $180 million for the "new" State Farm Center, $140 million for the new add-ons to Memorial Stadium on top of the $120 million done in the mid 2000s, over $24,000,000 in buyouts of coaching contracts and lawsuit settlements since 2004 and Ron Turner, and what has come to show for it?  Do the math, that's over $464,000,000 in cash going out, and there is ONE major bowl game and ONE Final Four over the last 13 years.







Moonpie wrote on March 17, 2017 at 5:03 pm

I agree, for the most part, with masteroftheobvious. Illini athletics would be in proper perspective if not for the juvenile antics of Jockstrap Ancient Tate and his Lazy Gazoo cheerleader posse. It's a coaches graveyard. A conference backwater. Time to demand better from the athletic department and the third-rate columnists who cover the programs.

Or, simply call moonpie a cowpie and wiseguy a cowpie in disguise. That's what a third-grader would do. Some of you folks ought to wake up from the horsepucky Tate has been doling out for decades.

Brownshoe wrote on March 17, 2017 at 7:03 pm

I said it earlier and I'll say it again.

If we cant get Monty Williams, hire Jamall Walker as Head BB Coach.

He can recruit, that is really all that's important.

We've all heard him speak and he's not dumb.

He has plenty of coaching experience, so he knows the game. 

If he's not dumb, and has plenty of BB experience, he fulfills the coaching requirements to be a head BBC.

It's recruiting that really counts, and he can do that.

If we don't hire him as Head BBC, there is a huge chance that we will do worse.

Hire him now, Josh.

Need I say, "Tom Izzo, Chris Collins, Fred Hoeberg"?


annabellissimo wrote on March 17, 2017 at 8:03 pm

Like some others, I also think "moonpie" "wiseguy1130" and "MasteroftheObvious" are one and the same. There is just a level of vitriol and bitterness in each of their posts that is so similar to each other's writings that makes that conclusion seem probable. Whether they are the same person or not, their posts make one wonder why they have such hatred and misery for everything University of Illinois and Champaign-Urbana, but beyond that, why they have such compulsion to make everyone else here think the same way. Over and over and over again, they drive home their point of view of how awful the whole place is, declaring that as fact and that anyone who thinks otherwise is stupid/wrong/lying/foolish or their invariable target for hatred: Loren Tate. Why do they bother? Why is it such an obsession with them that they express their bile and that they do all they can to make sure everybody else is covered with it. What is their goal with this repetitive nasty misery? Do they imagine they will get Loren Tate fired? That they will destroy the University of Illinois and Champaign-Urbana? That others will bow down in gratitude that those nasty posts finally cast the scales off the eyes of the ill-informed and ignorant causing them to finally see the light?! Why does spewing their bitter, sour negativity matter so much to them? I also wonder why the News-Gazette doesn't ban them; they are a plague on the sports sites, but especially in their relentless vendetta against Loren Tate. He may retire someday and then what will fill the void in these bitter lives? Please- the three of you and any of your other screen personae - please just stop. Leave us alone, but more importantly, leave the University of Illinois athletes out of your bitter diatribes.

MasterOfTheObvious wrote on March 17, 2017 at 10:03 pm

I did not mention Tate, nor a single current student-athlete. It's boring to pick on Tate, and there is no reason to pick on a kid, ever.  I never have.

 I did mention a former student-athlete, who is currently the AD and who makes over 600K a year, so he is fair game.  Josh Whitman may be a smart guy, but he, at this point, is no different than Mike Thomas in that inside of his first 13 months on the job, he has fired all three major sport coaches (and the #4 sport coach left to take another job so retention is not Whitman's strong suit), and his one hire to date (Football) went 3-9.

These are facts, and they are undisputed.

Moreover, over half a billion dollars in facilities and coaching buyouts and the fact remains that Illinois has only one major bowl game in football and one Final Four in the last 13 years.

These are facts, and they are undisputed.

These are not alternate facts, personal attacks, or agendas as you allege.  These are the real mccoys, things that are real.

The truth hurts, and in the DIA realm of reality it's expensive and without ROI.

Wiseguy1130 wrote on March 17, 2017 at 10:03 pm

Moonpie--I wasn't suggesting that you can't or don't use alliteration. I could be wrong, although I hardly ever am, but I don't think you use the technique a lot.

That last sentence should give the loons, as you aptly called them, more to chirp about!

I honestly don't recall ever bashing the Illini.  Maybe an occasional quip or two about missing free throws. Unfortunately, some of our fine followers seem to have lost their sense of humor if they ever had one. And apparently their Teddy Bears.