Klee: Groce speaks on Chew development

BLOOMINGTON – John Groce is going to take his time before identifying the next addition to his basketball staff at Illinois.

And three days after Isaac Chew left Illinois to accept an assistant coaching position at Marquette, Groce voiced his opinion on the development.

“He made a decision that was appropriate for him and his family,” Groce said Thursday. “The biggest thing as we move forward is that I’m going to take some time to decompress and make the best decision for Illinois. There’s no question that one thing I’ve always learned – whether it’s in recruiting or with coaches – we want guys at Illinois that want to be at Illinois and want to be wearing the orange and blue.

“It’s a special place. I’m not going to beg anybody to put the orange and blue on as a player, and I’m certainly not going to do that (for) a coach.”

Groce didn’t set a timetable on finding a replacement, though he would like to have a third assistant in place before the July evaluation period.

“I’m going to take my time this time around for sure,” he said.

In the meantime – between recruiting obligations and summer workouts with the current roster – Groce has enough pieces in place to take his time on the hire. Dustin Ford and Jamall Walker are fulltime assistants. Brandon Miller is the special assistant to the head coach, and Mark Morris is the director of basketball operations.

“I think our philosophy is still the same in terms of wanting to find a great fit,” said Groce, whose two-month anniversary on the job was Monday. “That was true prior (to the Chew development) and that’s true now.”

Groce said the pool would include candidates he previously considered for the Illinois staff – and some new candidates that have surfaced.

“We’re going to open it up,” he said. “There were some candidates that were on the radar the first time and will continue to be on the radar. And there are some other guys that I’ve got some additional interest in that maybe I didn’t have as much so the first time around.

“We’re going to sift through all that and find the best person for Illinois that wants to be at Illinois and relishes the opportunity to coach the Illini.”

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