June 27, 2012
Paris is the right fit
Sometimes you look all over and try to find someone, when in reality the right choice was right in front of you. Illini Head Coach John Groce got it right the 2nd time around, hiring former Illinois State assistant and Chicago native Paris Parham to fill out his staff on Tuesday. After hiring Isaac Chew away from Missouri, Groce was blindsided when Chew left for Marquette just weeks later. Now, Groce got the man Orange and Blue News liked from the beginning in Paris Parham.
Parham isn't a big name nationally. He hasn't recruited a bunch of 4 and 5 star players. He isn't an Illinois alumni. He is a great hire though. Parham has close ties to Chicago, knows the ins and outs of the city and is well respected within the coaching community. People need to understand, however, that this hire isn't going to suddenly bring in 5 star recruits. That will still take time. This is an excellent step towards getting Illinois back in the minds fo some of the top players in Chicago, however.
With his full staff now in place, John Groce has done an excellent job assembling a solid group of coaches at Illinois. He's pulled coaches that can recruit the area they refer to as their 'breadbasket', within a 5 hour radius of campus. He has coaches with ties to major markets in St. Louis, Indianapolis and, obviously, Chicago. He has a staff of coaches that are excellent teachers as well. Jamall Walker, Paris Parham, and Dustin Ford are coaches with bright futures, and with a little bit of success on the court will become head coaches someday.
If there is a question mark it is in experience at the high major and Big Ten level with scouting and game preparation. For all of their faults, one area where the previous staff excelled was in game preparation and scouting. They were familiar with the Big Ten, having coached or played in the conference prior to their stints at Illinois. Only Groce has that type of experience from his time at Ohio State, but in another shrewd move Groce hired Brandon Miller in an administrative role. Miller, a former assistant at Ohio State, also knows the conference inside and out and has that experience that may help them in the upcoming season.
Overall, Groce gets an A for the staff he has put together and the departure of Isaac Chew is nothing more than a footnote at Illinois.
2015 Indiana prospects Jalen Coleman and Ryan Fazekas are both slated to be on the Illinois campus for unofficial visits on Wednesday. Coleman is one of the top point guards in the Midwest in his class, while Fazekas is a tremendous shooter with size on the wing.
On Thursday Illinois will host 2013 star forward and Rivals top 50 player Semi Ojeleye. The #37 player in 2013, Ojeleye has offers from Duke, Stanford, Arizona, Kansas St., Missouri, UCLA, Wisconsin, and Illinois. He plans on taking 5 official visits this fall, so this trip could go a long way towards getting Illinois on that final list of 5.
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