CHAMPAIGN — The Orange Krush wants everyone at the Assembly Hall to give John Groce the silent treatment for his Illinois coaching debut.
In a good way.
Playing off Taylor (Ind.) University’s “Silent Night," the Krush plans to stand in silence until the Illini score their 10th point in Friday’s season opener against Colgate (WDWS 1400-AM, WHMS 97.5-FM).
“On a personal level, it’s going to be really strange for me,” said Daniel Borup, president of Illini Pride. “Usually I’m screaming my head off, getting pumped up.”
The Krush devised “Orange Hush” as a way to recognize Groce, who played college basketball at Taylor. The NAIA school in Upland, Ind., has drawn national attention for its “Silent Night” promotion, which annually draws a sellout crowd to 2,500-seat Odle Arena. A quiet one, too, until Taylor reaches 10 points. Then the place goes bonkers.
“The longer it takes, the anticipation builds,” Borup said.
Some of Bruce Weber’s offensively challenged teams might have kept the Assembly Hall quiet for some time. Borup is confident Groce’s starting five can deliver in a hurry.
“I’m flattered and honored that they would basically honor Taylor University and welcome me and my family in that way,” Groce said.
“It’ll be interesting how you can get 18- to 22-year-olds ... to be quiet until the 10th point, that’s pretty amazing.”
“We’d love if everyone got involved,” Borup said. “We want the Assembly Hall to be pin-drop quiet.”