John Groce is in this third year at Illinois, but before the season begins he may be in for his second contract extension.
According to the Julie Wurth of the News-Gazette, the University of Illinois board of trustees is considering the possibility of extending Groce’s five-year deal. In Groce’s first season, he led the Fighting Illini in to the 2013 NCAA Tournament. After a 23-win inaugural season, he was rewarded with a three-year extension, which runs through the 2017-2018 season, and received a pay raise that bumped his annual salary up to $1.6 million.
From the News-Gazette:
Officials won’t provide any details, but the UI Board of Trustees’ Governance, Personnel and Ethics Committee will meet Thursday and review an agenda item reading: “amend multiyear contract with head varsity men’s basketball coach.”
Committee Chair Pamela Strobel said Monday she couldn’t discuss the details of the proposed amendment until the committee reviews it on Thursday. The committee does not usually take formal votes on agenda items; the full board would vote at its regular meeting July 24 in Chicago.
Groce has compiled a 43-28 record in his two seasons at Illinois. Despite another 20-win season in 2013-2014, the Illini settled for a bid in the NIT, where they were bounced in the second round by Clemson.
The 42-year-old coach was hired by Illinois in 2012 after a four-year stint at Ohio.
Expected to be one of the favorites in the Mountain West this season, Boise State’s perimeter ranks have shrunk by one player due to injury. Thursday it was reported by the Idaho Statesman that freshman guard Malek Harwell will redshirt after suffering a torn ACL in practice. Along with fellow freshman Paris Austin, Harwell is expected to be a key part of the Broncos’ future beyond the upcoming season.
Now, instead of competing with an experienced backcourt that includes four redshirt seniors, Harwell will work to get his knee back to full strength for the 2016-17 season.
Among the guards who will play significant minutes this season are Anthony Drmic, who took a medical redshirt last season, Montigo Alford, Mikey Thompson and grad transfer Lonnie Jackson (Boston College). Chandler Hutchison, who started in Boise State’s final 18 games of the 2014-15 season as a freshman, will also compete for playing time.
Illinois will be shorthanded in its front court for the time being, as during the team’s media day Thursday head coach John Groce announced that sophomore forward Leron Black is out due to injury.
Black will undergo surgery Friday to repair a meniscus tear in his knee, and he’s expected to miss anywhere from four to six weeks. A return after four weeks would have Black back on the court just before the Fighting Illini open their season November 13 against North Florida. Any longer and the Memphis native would wind up missing some game action.
Black averaged 5.0 points and 4.3 rebounds in just under 15 minutes of action per game as a freshman. He’s one of the players expected to contribute in the front court for the Fighting Illini, who lost their best interior defender and second-leading rebounder in Nnanna Egwu at the end of last season (guard Rayvonte Rice, who led the team in rebounding, is also gone).
In addition to Black and junior Maverick Morgan, Illinois adds redshirt freshman Michael Finke and grad student Mike Thorne Jr. (via Charlotte) to their front court rotation.