Home > Illinois basketball > Weber: Illini assistants seeing ‘what’s out there’

Weber: Illini assistants seeing ‘what’s out there’

Illinois athletic director Ron Guenther said during a rare sitdown with media in February that he would not force basketball coach Bruce Weber to make any staff changes despite underwhelming results on the court since a national runner-up finish in 2005.

While Guenther could make a recommendation for fresh blood – he said Weber can’t be “loyal to a fault” – the Illini assistants may make that decision easier on the head coach.

“Probably all of them have tried to see what’s out there,” Weber said. “Right now, nothing definite. We’ll see how the summer goes, if something pops up.”

But the youngest Illini assistant – and most expensive – has the most marketability. Jerrance Howard, 30, has earned interest the last few years and consequently received two raises from Illinois since 2009.

The latest interest came via Florida coach Billy Donovan, who added Norm Roberts and John Pelphrey to his staff yesterday.

“When you get a name as a recruiter, I think it’s positive for him,” Weber said. “He’s a young, energetic guy. We’ll see what happens.”

Weber said he understands he’ll probably lose Howard “sooner or later.” But after spending 18 years as a Purdue assistant before earning his first head coaching job at Southern Illinois, Weber said Howard should wait for the best – not just the next – opportunity to make a move.

“I think his goal is to be a head coach,” he said. “It was great with what VCU did (with Shaka Smart) and Brad Stevens (at Butler), but sometimes a lot of young coaches think, ‘Oh, I got to do it. My turn.’ I think you got to get experience and be patient. If the opportunity comes, you got to be ready. That’s the biggest thing, whether it’s NBA guys or professional, if you become a head (coach) you have to be ready because you might never get another chance.”

Jay Price is an eight-year veteran on Weber’s staff,  and Wayne McClain has been an assistant at Illinois for 10 years.

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Categories: Illinois basketball
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