Cosby picks Illini

Cosby picks Illini

CHAMPAIGN — When he decided to transfer away from Seton Hall last month, guard Aaron Cosby said he was looking for familiarity with the coaching staff and a style of play that best suited his game. He found both of those on his visit to Illinois this weekend, giving John Groce and his staff a verbal commitment late Friday night.

The 6-foot-3 combo guard was scheduled to visit Missouri from Saturday through Monday, but won't make that trip after giving his pledge to the Illini.

Cosby, a native of Louisville, Ky., averaged 12.6 points per game and shot 40.7 percent from behind the three-point line for the Pirates last season. He was recruited out of high school by Ohio when Groce was the Bobcats' head coach.

“I really like Illinois’ playing style, and I was looking for comfort with the head coach, the staff and location. I have that with Illinois," Cosby said prior to his visit.

Cosby must sit out the 2013-14 season per NCAA transfer rules and would have two years of eligibility remaining.

With the move, Illinois has two scholarships available to use for next season.

The Illini have been recruiting fifth-year transfers who would be eligible immediately and at least one more scholarship is likely to be used there.

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JimOATSfan wrote on April 13, 2013 at 2:04 am

Awesome Aaron - welcome to Illini Nation!  Cheers

lmaran wrote on April 13, 2013 at 8:04 am

Coach Groce has not only convinced the Nation about commitment and tenacity, he is out bringing in players with these characterstics. There were times recently when it was hard to inagine that the same players (other than McLaurin) had played for the previous coaching regime. I for one am excited that new players are coming with commitment and tenacity as prerequisites. It is exciting time again on this count alone.

So here's a hearty welcome to Aaron Cosby!

GO ILLINI!                                                                                                                                    NaplesIllini

IlliniMike05 wrote on April 13, 2013 at 9:04 am

I like this addition. Some might worry that the backcourt might get a little bit crowded with Abrams/Tate/Nunn/Hill/Rice plus whatever potential 2014 recruits already here, but like Groce always says: players play players. You never know how recruits will pan out, but this is a Big East guard who put up 20+ points against UConn, Syracuse, Notre Dame and Villanova this year. Good size, good handle, very good shooter, can play either guard. No-brainer.

lmaran wrote on April 13, 2013 at 9:04 am

Your points are on target. I considered the scenario where we might be guard-heavy, but then I look at this breakdown:

A. Abrams and Tate are written into the PG function.

B. Nunn and Cosby (a year hence) at 6'3" the typical 2G in Groce's game.

C. Rice and Hill, between 6'5' to 6'7", surely gravitate toward the 3 position, whether as big guards or small forwards.  

And yet this grouping is not about fixed slot playing, it is about overlapping with the next, about seamlessly covering 1-3; circumstantially Abrams may be 2, Nunn & Cosby may distribute, etc.

So I do not think it is getting crowded. Rather, the quality is improving in the entire 1-3 spectrum.


Bwp 5P wrote on April 13, 2013 at 10:04 am

They are building that depth the Coach loves! Go play really hard for a few minutes and I'll give you a blow with another guy for a bit. I think when he says "I want to play a deep bench".....he really means it!


Going to be fun!

IlliniMike05 wrote on April 13, 2013 at 10:04 am

And with Rice being 230 pounds and Hill being 6'7", you can even slide either one of them to the 4 in a small-ball lineup for a few minutes here and there against a lot of teams. So many teams play a wing-type player at the 4 these days. Say you're playing Michigan State and they have Dawson at the 4; Rice would match up perfectly with him. Or you're playing Michigan with Zac Irvin and Nic Stauskas as their interchangable 3 and 4 in their 4-out, 1-in system, either Hill or Rice can play the 4 against them. Or Ohio State with Laquinton Ross at that spot. On and on. So many teams only play one legit big now.

You're absolutely right, we have a versatile collection of perimeter players. Add in a bruising big man (and we all know who I mean) and the 2014-15 team will have every single piece and be able to match up with anything anyone wants to do.

jruss62 wrote on April 13, 2013 at 11:04 am

It seem that John Groce is the closer coach that we have all missed for many years(with recurits).

Playing fast and taking care of the ball ,wow what a concept nothing wrong with that. Now if we can get Lyle and Big Cliff  to come and fill the need for that super star role. Two year defient final four type team.  I'm all for this pick up combo gaurds don't grow on trees and this kid will do nothing but get better in are system.

So welcome Aaron Cosby

And as always go ILLINI 

houstonillini84 wrote on April 13, 2013 at 11:04 am

Its one thing to have depth; its another thing to have your best players at the same position. Glad to have him on the team, but I would be far happier if he were a true PG. We have so much depth now on the wings its ridiculous, and I am not sure Hill or Rice really project as a 4 in the B10, in fact they are 2's more than 4's. Yes the 2005 team had an undersized Powell at the 4 but that guys was very strong and a rebounder for his size. Not sure Hill or Rice will fill that role. God help us if Egwu gets hurt, we will get killed inside. And I am not sure Abrams will ever be a true PG, he is more like Luther Head than Deron or even Dee. Ballhandling isnt something that usually tends to get much better at the college level, you either have it or you dont, like shooting. All that being said, we have as much quality and depth at the two wing positions that I can ever remember at UI.

IlliniMike05 wrote on April 13, 2013 at 2:04 pm

Of course neither Hill or Rice is a traditional power forward. Far from it. But they are, in very different ways, traditional small forwards. And like I said earlier, a lot of teams are playing guys like that at the 4 in college. If Michigan State is playing Branden Dawson at the 4, as they likely will quite a bit, it'd be almost preferable to match him up with another physical wing like Rayvonte. If Michigan's playing Stauskas at their version of the "4," again, preferable to put a quick, 6'7" perimeter player like Hill at that spot.

You definitely prefer to have a traditional 4 like James Augustine who can be a beast on the glass, score down low and still be quick enough to match up on the perimeter with smaller guys if need be. And I think Nnanna has the quickness to do that if a)he can cut out the cheapie fouls and b)Morgan or someone else (again, we know who I'm talking rhymes with "Cliff Alexander") can be that true 5 to let Nnanna play the face-up 4 where I think he'd be more natural. But basketball is a matchup game. You either have to dictate your own or at least be able to match up with what your opponent does. That's why it's great to have that kind of wing depth. We're just one physical big man (again.....) away from being able to match up with absolutely anything anyone wants to do in 2014-15.

Basketball's becoming a lot more positionless in general; when the best team on the planet, the Miami Heat, are playing that way, it kind of validates the movement away from the traditional PG/SG/SF/PF/C positions. I say it's a good thing. Hopefully with some rule changes to clean up the hand-to-hand combat that college basketball allows especially in the elbow areas (that would immediately and rightfully be called fouls in the NBA) we'll get back to a more free-flowing, higher-scoring sport eventually. 


aaeismacgychel wrote on April 13, 2013 at 3:04 pm

I sincerely hope hope Cosby works out and he is the deadeye shooter from three we've been lacking since Jamar Smith was on the team, but overall, I can't say I quite get it.  Granted, there are always people transferring and a spot or two will likely open up, but I thought we really made the 2014 openings we're going to make in Langford, Shaw, and Djimde leaving.  I don't know, maybe I'm overthinking this, but I don't necessarily see the benefit of going this route over aggressively going after the 2014 class.  If Cobsy fits into the system and is a deadeye shooter, great, but is this really all that much better an option than saving the 2014 scholarship for the 2014 class?  As I said, he could be a good pickup, and ratings certainly aren't everything, but is picking up an unrated 3 star out of high school (who has played better than his rating thus far) better than say going after 3 of Jahlil Okafor, Cliff Alexander, Rashad Vaughn, JaQuan Lyle, Leron Black, Paul White, Trevon Bluiett, and Larry Austin?


In any case, welcome to the team, Aaron, and hopefully you have a very successful career at Illinois.

IlliniMike05 wrote on April 13, 2013 at 3:04 pm


blmillini wrote on April 13, 2013 at 8:04 pm

I'm really happy we are not making the same mistakes we made when Weber was here.  He tried to go after the top recruits and failed without a backup plan.  When you have a proven commodity that can give you 2 years of quality minutes, I don't think you pass on that for the "off chance" that you pick up one of the can't miss guys or get lucky with a lesser rated recruit.  I'm certainly glad we have JG running the show instead of Weber or you.

aaeismacgychel wrote on April 13, 2013 at 9:04 pm

I remember Alex Legion being a can't miss transfer too.  And whether it's a transfer or a freshman recruit there's risk involved.  The point I'm trying to make is we don't know what the 2016 class is going to look like in Chicago but the 2014 class is indeed a strong one.  And transfers across the college landscape tend to have very mixed results.  I know we only want to focus on the positives, and if he hits on 38% of his threes, great, but Cosby also averaged more turnovers per game than Brandon Paul did last year.  He's not a great free throw shooter, and he's been a mediocre defender (granted he mainly played zone, but he at times was a defensive liability).  I know, I know, I'm raining on everybody's parade, but while I did very much like the Rayvonte Rice signing, I see this pickup as less of a sure thing.  Yes, he could play fantastic, and I'll be extremely pleased if he does, but I just don't want us to get too ahead of ourselves.  I just see this as similarly risky as holding the scholarship for the 2014 class.  Now you may not agree with me, but that's just how I see it right now, and hopefully he'll prove I was wrong to doubt him in 2 years.

lmaran wrote on April 14, 2013 at 10:04 am

I am not writing to disagree with you regarding Aaron Cosby, rather, I want to point out that your opinions about this player appear based on rather incomplete picture. First, you pointed out that he had turn-over problem at Seton Hall, you did not mention that Cosby wanted to transfer because there was no help, especially in the backcourt. The way he wanted to play was simply not possible. He wanted to go where there would be  higher calibre teammates on court with him. Second, Coach Groce recruited Cosby hard out of high school for Ohio U, and this would indicate that Groce had a development potential projection for Cosby that he feels is still valid today. Third, Cosby's strong point would be shooting and scoring, above ball-handling and setting others up. Fourth, if his defense is not there a year from now to the degree the coaches want to see the playing time he gets would reflect that fact. 

IlliniMike05 wrote on April 15, 2013 at 9:04 am

Alex Legion was completely unproven, having played about 100 college minutes in a few games at Kentucky and the excitement was based on his recruiting ranking. In hindsight, there should've been a red flag that he went from being ranked between 10-20 as a junior to being barely ranked in the top 50 as a senior. Guys who show that kind of regression before they're even done with high school are troublesome. (See: Shaw, Mike.)

Cosby has actually played two full seasons in a conference every bit as good as the Big Ten and proved that without any real backcourt help proved to be one of the best shooters in that conference and a guy who could put up big numbers against some of its best teams.

Totally false comparison.

crackerman wrote on April 13, 2013 at 4:04 pm

I have total faith in what coach Groce is doing!

helping wrote on April 18, 2013 at 8:04 pm

Cosby is clearly different than most transfers in that he's a double-digit scorer as a sophomore from another high major conference equal to the Big Ten.  Most transfers are either changing schools because they're not getting playing time or because they're moving up from a mid-major to a high-major.

In addition, Cosby is more of a known quantity than a current h.s. junior.  Even Mickey D All Americans bust sometimes (e.g., Jereme Richmond), whereas it's a pretty high probability that Cosby will be a key contributor at Illinois.  Also, he helps balance out the recruiting classes by being in the 2015-16 senior class, which currently has nobody on roster.  I'm sure that was an additional appeal to the staff as you always like to have a scholarship available each season.