Let's face it, Illini Nation... we all had the same initial reaction: "Well, this blows." But once you get past the initial frustration and really dig deeper into this situation, you'll actually realize that... oh wait. This still really blows.
And it really, really sucks for a couple different reasons. For one, here's what our roster will look like for this coming season:
- 3 returning players
- 2 mid-major transfers
- 5 true freshmen
- 1 sophomore walk-on
That's not a roster set up to win in the Big Ten and get to the Big Dance. Not saying we won't, not saying we can't (I mean it's John Groce we're talking about here), but our chances appear to be dwindling after the Starks news. Another reason this sucks? Cliff Alexander.
We'll already be one man over-signed for next season, which means, if you know how to do some simple addition, we'd be two over if Cliff were to hop on board. Which dramatically decreases our chances of nabbing Alexander, unless John Groce really has something up his sleeve. Like expanding roster size in the NCAA. But if they're not going to grant a waiver request for a young man wanting to help his ailing grandmother, are they going to let Groce expand roster sizes? Unfortunately, no.
The experience and talent we lose without Ahmad being able to play this year is too bad, and I feel for the kid, but it's even worse when you really look at how the roster is going to be constructed for 2013, and when you look at the recruiting plan Groce has in place. It most likely means no Cliff Alexander (unless we decided to go all out and Crean the roster... *shudders*).
We will have 10 scholarship players for the 2013-14 campaign, and yes, there's also the best basketball player on the planet Mike LaTulip, who's a walk-on. So... what now? Thoughts on the roster size/construction? Thoughts on the recruiting plan from this point forward? Drop by below.