Groce addresses biggest need

Four-star Quentin Snider gives Illinois a playmaker at a position where it was needed.

In his time as both an assistant and head coach, point guard play has seemingly always been a strength of times John Groce was a part of. During his time at Ohio State players like Mike Conley and Jamar Butler ran the show and then during his time at Ohio University D.J. Cooper had a stellar career. Now Groce has his man at Illinois with Quentin Snider.

If there is one thing that has been a staple for Groce as a head coach it has been ball screens. In his time at Ohio and now at Illinois, Groce's teams have set a ton of ball screens. In order to run that type of offense you have to have someone who can really run the show at the point guard position.

Now Illinois has that player in Snider. Snider is a four-star prospect who is one of the best in the country off of a ball screen. While Snider isn't a jet with the ball, he combines being able to really shoot with excellent floor vision and feel for the game.

What makes Snider so important to Illinois is he is very tough to defend in the ball screen situations. If a defender chooses to go over the screen he is excellent at getting into the lane and finding an open teammate.

If the defense elects to go underneath the ball screen then Snider can knock down shots from deep with the best of them. In fact because of his height and his shot making ability, it is very unlikely that defenders would ever choose to go underneath the screen.

This is so important because having a point guard who is a matchup problem is the key to the offense. Illinois had a lot of success in the 2013 class on the wing with four-star wings Kendrick Nunn and Malcolm Hill. Also the Illini added a proven wing scorer in Aaron Cosby via transfer from Seton Hall, so they were set on the wing, and now with a quality power forward in Leron Black in the fold in 2014, point guard was the missing piece.

With Snider the Illini have that missing piece in the fold, and it is seemingly a near perfect fit for their offense. Groce and his staff have been working hard to rebuild the roster since arriving in Champaign, and that is obvious by the massive personnel turnover they have had in the last 18 months.

Now the future looks bright in Champaign with Snider and Black joining some talented transfers and a very strong 2013 class. The proof will be in the pudding when the calendar turns to March to see if the Illini can make deep tournament runs, but at least on paper Snider gives Illinois that type of player they have been looking for.


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