MJ's take: Things are good

MJ's take: Things are good

We asked beat writer MARCUS JACKSON for his take on John Groce’s latest commitment:

By securing a commitment from Seton Hall transfer Aaron Cosby late Friday night, Groce will have plenty of depth in his backcourt for the 2014-15 season. Tracy Abrams and Rayvonte Rice will be seniors along with Cosby and sophomores Kendrick Nunn, Malcolm Hill and Jaylon Tate. You can never have too many ball handlers and it appears as though Illinois will have plenty of bodies to work in and out of its rotation in the up-tempo style Groce prefers to play.

The Illini still have two scholarships to give for 2014 with Centennial forward Michael Finke already committed. The recruiting focus likely will shift in the direction of a program-changing big man such as Cliff Alexander or Leron Black. Those are big ifs at this stage, but if nothing else, the program has picked up steam under Groce after one year. If Saturday’s raise and contract extension is an indication, the level of optimism surrounding the program is as high as it’s been in recent years.

Comments

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

swatlas wrote on April 14, 2013 at 1:04 am

I disagree with your comment that "Groce will have plenty of depth in his backcourt for the 2014-15 season. Tracy Abrams and Rayvonte Rice will be seniors along with Cosby and sophomores Kendrick Nunn, Malcolm Hill and Jaylon Tate. You can never have too many ball handlers"  -  most of those players are not great ball handlers.  We still are desperately in need of a great PG - like Jaquan Lyle.  That would be a program changer.

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

Don't disagree that Jaquan Lyle would be a program-changing point guard. But Marcus never said those guys were all great ballhandlers. He just said they were ballhandlers. And they are. Tracy may never be a true, traditional PG, but he's a solid ballhandler. Nunn and Cosby are in that combo guard mold as well, guys who are more two-guards but acquit themselves fine with the ball in their hands. Tate is an excellent ballhandler and Rice and Hill are both decent for wings.


 

coryfor3 wrote on April 14, 2013 at 8:04 am

I thought Rice was going to have 2 years of eligibility left. I am not sure if referring to players as "seniors" anymore gives you a full story. Rice has been in school for 3 years and next year will be his 4th year but that, arguably, doesn't mean he is a senior in the sense most would think. 

Brownman07 wrote on April 14, 2013 at 9:04 pm

Notice that it says for the 2014-15 season where he will indeed be a redshirt senior using his last year of elegibility. 

Brownman07 wrote on April 14, 2013 at 9:04 pm

This backcourt should definitely help with recruiting some bigs! Come on Cliff! Forget about trying to get Okafor, he mentioned already that he's going to school with Tyus Jones who is not on Illinois list. Cliff is down to MSU, Kentucky, and Illinois pretty much. Let Okafor and Jones go to MSU instead of Duke, so that we can get Cliff(Kart Towns Jr is headed to Kentucky, I doubt two five-star centers would sign for the same season).

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

Okafor and Jones have never said they're definitely going to school together, just that it's a consideration. I agree, though, that we have a good shot at Cliff and pretty much none at Okafor. A recent Rivals article said, in fact, that it's pretty much Michigan State or Illinois for Cliff.