Clark Kellogg high on Groce

AUSTIN, Texas — The Illinois roster doesn’t have much NCAA tournament experience.

Seniors Brandon Paul and D.J. Richardson were regulars in the Illinois rotation when the Illini beat UNLV and then lost to Kansas in the 2011 tournament in Tulsa, Okla. Tyler Griffey and Joseph Bertrand, Illinois’ other scholarship players who were on the roster in 2011, played a total of four minutes.

Their coach, however, is in familiar territory.

John Groce led 13th-seeded Ohio to the Sweet 16 last season with wins against Michigan and South Florida before falling in overtime to North Carolina.

“The tournament is the tournament, anytime you can experience it, it’s got to help you as a player or coach,” said former Ohio State and NBA star Clark Kellogg, an analyst with CBS. “It’s his first year with this group. He had that other group (at Ohio) for a while longer, so that’s a different deal. He’ll have his guys prepared.”

Kellogg is familiar with Groce and his approach. Kellogg’s son, Nick, was a sophomore on last year’s Ohio team that made the deep run.

“I had a good relationship with him. I think really highly of him, I think he’s a rising star as a college coach, I really do,” Clark Kellogg said. “He’s a hard worker, an eager learner and he wants to help guys develop on and off the court. I think he’s got all the ingredients to be really, really successful.”

Last year wasn’t Groce’s first in the tournament as a head coach. In his second season at Ohio, Groce directed the Bobcats to their second NCAA tournament appearance in 16 years.

The 41-year-old was on the bench for two NCAA tournament appearances as an assistant to Thad Matta at Ohio State, including a trip to the 2007 national title game.

“Experience is a great teacher. I’ve had the chance to be in (the tournament) a lot,” Groce said. “I’ve had the chance to coach a lot of really good players and be around a lot of really good coaches. We’ll rely on that experience in terms of itinerary and routine.”

Kellogg watched closely when Groce was at Ohio. That he’s been able to infuse confidence in this Illinois team, which missed the NCAAs and NIT last year, isn’t a major surprise to Kellogg.

“A lot of it can be attributed to John and his style and approach in terms of how he wants his guys to be and play on the court. He wants them playing freely, much like Thad’s teams,” Kellogg said. “They want you playing hard, playing together, but they don’t want you to think about missing shots. When you have your shot, they want you to look at the basket and you better shoot it. That’s a wonderful way to play, and I think kids enjoy that.”

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DaisyJ wrote on March 21, 2013 at 9:03 am

Why is Kellog an announcer. You cannot understand him. Who gave him this job and why.

Hester is hard to understand, and Barnhart yells the whole game. Ok, Ok, DaisyJ get on him for complaining, but you know I am right. Listen to other announcers, they articulate, their voice has highs and lows, they were selected because they had a pleasing understandable voice. Think about it.

IlliniMike05 wrote on March 21, 2013 at 10:03 am

Never had a problem understanding Kellogg. I have no idea what you're talking about. Barnhart and Hester, no clue. I don't listen to games on the radio. (Who still does? And why? Is listening to sports on regular AM radio still, like, a thing?)


I've also noticed that people who feel compelled to say "you know I am right" or something along those lines usually aren't.

DaisyJ wrote on March 22, 2013 at 7:03 pm

Kellog and Hester are muffled when you hear them talk. They did not get the job because of voice clarity. I also notice that people who call out people that say you know I am right are the smartest people on earth. I see where they are ending all a.m. radio broadcasts at the end of March because no one cares and it is no longer being considered a thing also.

bernies wrote on March 21, 2013 at 6:03 pm

First time I've ever agreed with a Moonpie statement. I've listened to Clark Kellogg's commentary for years, and I've never had trouble understanding him. Clark sometimes falls victim to hyperbole, but he's never hard to understand...

jdmac44 wrote on March 21, 2013 at 3:03 pm

I enjoy listening to the play-by-play from the local MC's far more than the network guys.  They appreciate our teams and are more familiar with them, they get excited when I'm excited and aren't excited when I'm not.  Unfortunately I don't subscribe to cable, so the radio isn't synced with the video and so I don't do it as often, but when I did, I would mute the TV and have the radio on.  It's also a nostalgia thing for me, I used to work in the yard with my Dad when I was a kid and we'd have the games on the radio; good times.  :)

Moonpie wrote on March 21, 2013 at 3:03 pm

Oh, DaisyJ is not hard to understand at all: when he refers to articulation, he's just trying not to show his true colors and say, why are these black men announcers? Why can't they speak English? DaisyJ prefers articulation from, oh, gee--Rush Limbaugh.

IlliniMike05 wrote on March 21, 2013 at 3:03 pm

I agree, and that's the first thing you've ever written here that wasn't the dangerously insane ramblings of a lunatic obsessed with every last word of a veteran sports columnist.


Isn't DaisyJ the same guy who always foams at the mouth about how awful the three-point shot made basketball? Yeah, he's terrible.

DaisyJ wrote on March 22, 2013 at 7:03 pm

So, were you cheering the old illini when they took all those three balls today. What great basketball, stand around outside the line and heave it up. ha ha , jokes on you.

DaisyJ wrote on March 22, 2013 at 7:03 pm

Try this one out Mooncry,,,they talk muffled because they do , and there are many black brothers that do that also. Black brothers. Get with the program, take your skin color issues and  go visit with your brothers. We have seen this with Obama, he knows the press is afraid to critisize him because he will play the race card if they do. Wake up,

bernies wrote on March 21, 2013 at 6:03 pm

DaisyJ is also the same person who moans about three-point shots, calling them "set shots". I've watched b-ball a long time and today's three pointers are not "set shots" for the most part. They are jump shots, which is a very different thing...

DaisyJ wrote on March 22, 2013 at 7:03 pm

How did you like watch another game of three point horse in the Colorado game. These kids have no skill. Takes no skill to shoot 25% from the three line.

OKOMIS wrote on March 21, 2013 at 6:03 pm

So it’s unanimous?? Moonpie is the NEW voice of the Illini Nation…..

murphjim41 wrote on March 25, 2013 at 3:03 pm
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I enjoyed this season despite being frustrated by the loss to Miami.  I feel sorry for DJ Richardson.  He was a classy guy during his career at Illinois and he had a very bad final game.  Stats don't really show how good a defender and how good a leader he actually is.  I played high school basketball followed by ten years playing in Europe where I was always my teams "shooter".  Shooters can have great games where it seems every thing they shoot goes in and other games where they can't make a basket. I was a better than average shooter and my fg percentage was always above 50%.  I played before the 3 point shot and in my last year in high school I averaged 39 points a game.  In my career in Europe I played for an English team.  International Basketball in Europe is a much more physical game than basketball in US colleges.  It seemed that every game I played in England ended with a fight.  In my league each team was allowed to have one player from the US.  The UK players were loosy shooters and it was very dangerous to go for a rebound. However, they loved the game.  I think that most good college players want to play in the NBA because the money is good.  I don't think any of the Illini seniors can make it in the NBA but they should try to play in Europe or Asia.  They can make a little money and see what the rest of the world looks like.  They could play for a Chinese team but the Chinese play a very intense brand of Basketball.  The graduating Illinois players would have more fun playing in Europe. If they do play in Europe they will enjoy the fact that their teams will want them to do most of the scoring.  They will get more "open looks" than they did in the Big Ten.

Good Luck to them.\

I know that John Groce is a good coach but if he is going to win at Illinois he had better recruit some "shooters".  This years team didn't have a good shooter. There are some good shooters around and John Groce needs to recruit some of them.

jnaour wrote on March 26, 2013 at 12:03 pm

The problem with you, Daisy J is that's all you do.  COMPLAIN.  I have NEVER read any positive comments from you.  

DaisyJ wrote on March 26, 2013 at 6:03 pm

Dinajour, you confuse complain with being objective. So, you think Kellog and Hester are easy to understand. I think they got their jobs because, well they got their jobs inspite of their poor articulation.

An announcer needs to be good at knowledge of the game, communication skills, and a voice you can understand. All three need to be there. They have 2 of the three. Sorry, they would not announce a game if it were up to me.