Full disclosure, I'm a Hoosier basketball fan. It's kind of weird, though, I didn't become a Hoosiers fan until I went to school there in the fall of 2005. Before that, I followed the Illini. That 2004-2005 team with the trifecta of Dee Brown, Deron Williams, and Luther Head went all the way to the National Championship game before losing to Sean May and the Tar Heels of North Carolina.
This offseason, the Illini fired Bruce Weber after nine seasons and brought in John Groce, who coached Ohio University to the Sweet 16 in this year's tournament. Right away, Groce faced a big challenge: Get Jabari Parker to come to Champaign.
Parker will be a senior this year at Simeon, the same high school that produced Derrick Rose. He's considered by many to be the best high school prospect in the Class of 2013, and certainly the best in Illinois. For Illinois basketball to get back to where they want to be, and where their fans think they belong, they HAD to bring Parker down to Assembly Hall.
They appear to have failed.
Just a little bit ago, Parker tweeted his current list of schools he's considering:
No Illinois on that list, but there is a DePaul mention. It's no surprise that John Calipari and Kentucky make an appearance. Seeing Michigan State, Kansas, Duke, and North Carolina on top recruits' lists is also quite normal. Parker is a Mormon, thus the BYU appearance.
For Illinois to not even make the top ten on Parker's list is a shot to the school's basketball credibility. There was skepticism about the hiring of Groce, and for right now, that skepticism appears to be validated.
Bruce Weber could certainly recruit, maybe the Illini would have been better off keeping him and giving him a chance to coach Parker.