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.
When it comes to discussing some of the game of basketball’s best players, specifically those who went directly from high school to the NBA, a question that’s often asked is where said player would have attended college if forced (by rule) to do so. Kevin Garnett, Kobe Bryant and LeBron James are among those who have been discussed in this manner, and in the case of LeBron he’s got connections to two programs within his home state of Ohio.
LeBron’s connected with the Ohio State program, which is outfitted by the Nike’s LeBron signature line, but there’s another program with an even closer connection. That would be Akron, which is led by head coach Keith Dambrot, and all he did was serve as LeBron’s high school coach at St. Vincent/St. Mary’s HS in Akron during the player’s freshman and sophomore years at the school. Also on those teams were two future Akron Zips in guard Dru Joyce and forward Romeo Travis.
Thursday the school announced that it would be honoring James, Joyce and Travis with bobble head dolls to be given out before Akron’s home games against Buffalo (February 16; Joyce’s bobble head), Bowling Green (February 26; Travis) and Ohio (March 1; James).
All three bobble head dolls are wearing Akron uniforms, which in the case of LeBron allows fans to think back and imagine what could have been. Season ticket holders guaranteed one bobble head per account (on each of the three giveaway days), with the first 750 fans in attendance to receive one as well.
The gang is back together again for another episode of the NBCSports.com College Basketball Talk Podcast, with Rob Dauster hosting and Raphielle Johnson and Scott Phillips joining him. Today’s episode touched on big wins picked up Thursday night by California and Indiana, discussing the performances of those teams and also touching on their prospects down the line.
Also discussed were the recent performances of Iowa State, Providence and Texas A&M (which are you more worried about?), and some of the top games on this weekend’s schedule headlined by Kansas visiting Oklahoma. And if you’re a fan of seafood, you may take umbrage with some of Rob’s comments at the beginning of the podcast.
As always, you can subscribe to the podcast on either iTunes or Stitcher, and there’s also a link to listen to this podcast below. Thanks for listening.