Originally posted on The Sports Bank  |  Last updated 3/28/12

The typical Illini fan believes life is like 2pac Shakur’s second album title, “me against the world.” The horrible debacle/national joke that’s been the search for a men’s basketball coach has only verified that belief.

It is the worst of times. It is the worst of times for Illinois fans right now. Hopefully, things will get better when they finally iron out a deal and announce John Groce as their next coach; and they’ll finally have a coach at least!

But there is some ray of light. Simeon high school coach Robert Smith went on 670 The Score today and mentioned some uplifting for Illini nation tidbits.

Jabari Parker is the nation’s #1 rated junior, next year when the McDonald’s All-American Game returns to Chicago for the third straight, Parker will be the nation’s #1 rated senior, and the star of the game much like Anthony Davis was last year, and Shabazz Muhammad is the star this year.

At this point, you wouldn’t think Parker, who’s father Sonny played in the NBA and is reknown in the Chicago Public League, would be interested in going to Champaign. (If you follow how UI is being portrayed in the local and national media right now)

However, Parker is interested in attending UI, according to what his coach said on the Score today. (if and when they archive the interview, we’ll have the link to audio posted here)

It doesn’t mean he’s coming, it just means the Illini are in  the mix. The last time the Illini were in the mix for a #1 overall recruit was Derrick Rose, and he obviously choose Memphis over the Illini at the very end. Perhaps the one and done in college basketball before becoming NBA MVP can help recruit Parker to Illinois?

Smith said a lot of other good things about Illinois basketball today during his spot. He said he wants Illinois hoops to succeed at the highest level, and he wants them to win with local talent; CPL talent. Smith has won five state titles, he’s as successful in both the Chicago Public League and Preps in the state of Illinois as anyone. His opinion counts.

Now he just needs to act on those words, get that talent to stay in-state and head to the University of Illinois. Keep the Simeon-to-Illini pipeline (Nick Anderson, Ervin Small, Ben Wilson, Deon Thomas, Kevin Turner) going.

Smith also said during the interview that he was contacted by Illinois about the head coaching job, but not for an assistant job.

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