Sun, June 15: UI's Tiley keeps eye on possible recruits
Two weeks before tennis coaches are allowed to chat with recruits, Illinois' Craig Tiley will have 100 of the Midwest's top prospects as weekend guests.
Go ahead and tattle, Big Ten rivals.
The NCAA's not going to do a thing about it.
For the fourth straight year, the 13 Junior Davis Cup teams in the Midwest have decided to hold their annual district tournament at Atkins Tennis Center, where Tiley has a desk and a parking space.
Tiley's more than happy to spend a couple days coaching the Middle Illinois juniors, just to be around for all the action.
"It's a very good recruiting tool. That was the main reason we got into it," he said. "We host all those kids, traditionally a lot of the top kids in the country. They get to see our campus and our facilities.
"It's like having a state meet here."
Or seven of them. The Midwest district is the largest in the United States Tennis Association, teams coming to town from Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kentucky, Ohio, Michigan and Wisconsin. (Tiley's tip: Look out for Chicago and Ohio Valley).
Tiley will pick the Middle Illinois team of eight on Friday, the day before tournament play begins. The open tryout begins at 10 a.m. at Atkins.
Last year's squad included Kevin Froehlich of Champaign Central, Alex Hobson of Urbana University High, Shaun Peterson of Urbana and Alex White of Danville.
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Chris Hoover's Junior Wightman Cup lineup card will look a lot like it did last summer.
All he had to do was erase a couple names (Mariel Verban, Sara Matthews) and pencil in another (G.G. Strawn).
The rest of Middle Illinois' entry in the girls' equivalent of the Junior Davis Cup remains the same.
Naturally, Illinois State women's coach Hoover kept Redbird recruit Kindal Shores. Also back: two of her former Centennial teammates, Keri Crandall and Nicole Griglione; Central's Liz Fraker; and Peoria's Laila Shetty.
Action begins Friday at Ball State in Muncie, Ind. Middle Illinois has placed fourth the last three summers.