Groce's recruiting impact still being felt at Illinois

Groce's recruiting impact still being felt at Illinois

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Jalen Coleman-Lands’ announced transfer to DePaul on Sunday night adds another wrinkle to the John Groce era at Illinois. The book hasn’t closed on that portion of the Illini history just yet, but beat writer Scott Richey takes a look at how Groce’s high school recruits have fared in their careers:

Finished products

Malcolm Hill, 6-6, Guard
■ That Hill never played a single NCAA tournament game in his four years is the one mark on what turned out to be an illustrious career. Hill left the Illini as their No. 3 all-time leading scorer and as a fan favorite.

Maverick Morgan, 6-10, Center
■ Arguably no Illini improved as much during the last two seasons as Morgan. He became a better, more consistent scorer and rebounder as a junior and senior and proved he could play at the Big Ten level.

Jaylon Tate, 6-3, Guard
■ Through all of Groce’s point guard woes — injuries and recruiting misses — Tate was the constant. The Simeon product had a place on the court as a distributor, but his own offensive woes were a shadow on his entire career.

To be determined

Leron Black, 6-7, R-Jr., Forward
■ Foul trouble plagued Black as a freshman before a knee injury robbed him of nearly his entire sophomore season. Last season saw the Memphis native add a more dynamic offensive game to his potentially elite rebounding skills.

Michael Finke, 6-10, R-Jr., Forward
■ The consensus seems to be the Centennial grad — with his passing out of the high post and ability to stretch the floor as a shooter — could see the biggest improvement under new coach Brad Underwood.

Aaron Jordan, 6-5, Jr., Guard
■ The former top 100 recruit out of Plainfield East still has the potential to be a 3-and-D guard in the Big Ten. That only happens, though, if Jordan starts making more shots after shooting 33 percent in his first two seasons.

Te’Jon Lucas, 6-0, So., Guard
■ Lucas eventually found his way into Illinois’ starting lineup last season, and his play at the top of the Illini defense provided a needed spark. His summer goal — finish stronger at the rim — will make him more dangerous.

Trent Frazier, 6-2, Fr., Guard
■ Landing Frazier out of Wellington, Fla., was ultimately seen as a bit of a coup for Groce and Co. whe he signed last November. A dynamic scorer, he should fit well in Underwood’s guard-heavy offense.

Da’Monte Williams, 6-3, Fr., Guard
■ How the Illinois legacy fares following last December’s torn ACL and subsequent surgery will determine the start he gets to his Illini career, but an athletic, physical guard has a place with Underwood.

Tenure cut short

Kendrick Nunn, 6-3, Guard
■ Nunn was growing as a scorer and all-around guard before being dismissed in May 2016 after pleading to a single count of misdemeanor battery that stemmed from a domestic battery incident.

Austin Colbert, 6-9, Forward
■ The Chesapeake, Va., native lasted two seasons at Illinois, but did little in limited playing time. He transferred to Old Dominion then left after one season for Hampton, where he’s no longer on the roster.

Jalen Coleman-Lands, 6-3, Guard

■ Coleman-Lands was Groce’s highest-ranked recruit and set the program record for three-pointers made by a first-year player in 2015-16. Diminished production followed last season before his transfer decision in May.

D.J. Williams, 6-7, Guard
■ Williams arrived at Illinois from Simeon brimming with potential but got minimal playing time in his two seasons with the Illini. His transfer to George Washington is a shot at a fresh start for that potential.

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Moonpie wrote on July 04, 2017 at 9:07 am

Coach Grimace couldn't recruit. Just grimace.

Bear8287 wrote on July 05, 2017 at 12:07 am

So, if John Groce gets credit for recruiting Trent Frazier then it would only seem to be fair that Bruce Weber should get credit for recruiting Malcolm Hill.  

Of course, the credit  from a coaching standpoint for not getting to play in the NCAA tourney during Hill's four year tenure should still all go to John Groce.