"Elijah Thomas showed well in early action before losing minutes to nagging injury concerns, foul trouble, and the return of senior Jalen Jones."
Well this could certainly be an interesting development for John Groce and Illinois. On Monday, Texas A&M freshman Elijah Thomas announced his intent to transfer out of the program; the 6-foot-9 power forward/center was averaging 3.8 points and 2.5 rebounds in 9.5 minutes per game this season.
Thomas' name should ring a bell for Illini fans because he was one of the program's main targets in the 2015 recruiting class. Coming out of high school, Thomas was ranked as the No. 44 overall player by 247Sports, and he selected Texas A&M over Illinois, Oklahoma State, UNLV, and LSU.
It's clear that Thomas wasn't happy in College Station because he was only there a few short months. Based on the following statement from Aggies coach Billy Kennedy, I'd say that his decision was fueled by a lack of playing time in a loaded front court.
"I’m disappointed in Elijah’s decision to transfer. He’s struggled with injuries and missed several weeks of practice. Unfortunately, sometimes young people have a hard time working through the process. I wish Elijah the best."
~ Billy Kennedy
At one point in his recruitment, Thomas labeled Illinois as his "leader" while stating that John Groce was a coach he'd like to maintain a relationship with. One could assume that this pre-established bond could play a huge role in the upcoming transfer process, since he's is likely looking to make a decision relatively soon.
This will absolutely be something to keep an eye going forward.
"The Illinois search committee's process for identifying a new AD is turning off some prospective candidates and has some board of trustee members considering an independent search"
According to Shannon Ryan, the whole search committee idea isn't going so well. In addition to "turning off" some prospective candidates, Illinois has evidently contacted at least two targets through their university email addresses -- that's just mind-bogglingly horrible. I mean, how does that even happen? How can smart people do such dumb things?
Think the lesson here is it’s quite a bit more difficult to get into Illinois as a student than as an employee.— Tom Fornelli (@TomFornelli) December 15, 2015
Oh and it sounds like at least a few Illinois boosters are still going after Colorado AD Rick George to fill this position. That can be either good or bad news, depending on your interpretation of George's comments from a few weeks ago.
Now please go click on the above link before I spoil any more of Shannon's #content -- she includes a lot more there.
I can go on and on about how this situation is making me lose faith in the university, but here's the TL;DR version: the administration needs to figure things out, and they need to figure things out fast.
"Soon after Barry Odom was hired as Missouri's head coach, he offered a scholarship to longtime Illinois commit Trevour Simms...After a visit to Columbia this weekend, it appears he has flipped his reservation."
Illinois suffered a pretty big loss on the recruiting trail Monday afternoon when Trevour Simms, a three-star offensive lineman from East St. Louis (IL), flipped his commitment to Missouri. The 6-foot-4, 330 lb. prospect was perhaps the best lineman committed to play for the Illini.
The worst part about this news? It's only the beginning. This exodus will only get worse over the next month as bowl-eligible programs turn their attention to offseason recruiting. Meanwhile, we're still waiting on Cubit and company to real in some of those recruits that were supposedly interested in coming to Illinois after the extension became official.