Cosby a Braggin' Rights Battle

Transfer Aaron Cosby talks about Illinois and Missouri, his relationship with John Groce and reveals his plan for making his decision.

Aaron Cosby says orange isn't a featured color in his wardrobe, but he's always been open to try new things.

The 6-foot-3, 190-pound guard is deciding on a new school after being granted his release from Seton Hall in mid-March. He must now decide whether he looks better in black and gold or orange and blue.

"I'm open-minded. I had a lot of schools to choose from, but I narrowed it to Missouri and Illinois because of their style of play," Cosby said. "I like both, and it's mainly going to come down to the campus and things like that. "

Cosby was the Pirates second-leading scorer this season, averaging 12.6 points and 3.0 assists per game shooting 40 percent from the 3-point line.

His combo-guard skills make him an attractive option, and both Illinois and Missouri will host Cosby for a visit next week. He plans to visit Illinois next Thursday and will then head straight to the Missouri campus that weekend.

"I'll sit down with the staff from both schools and ask them some questions about the situation, and you know, whichever one I feel most comfortable with, that will be what makes the decision," Cosby said.

Cosby has yet to meet Tigers' coach Frank Haith in person. While the two parties haven't met face to face, Haith has impressed Cosby with his persistent approach.

"He has been in constant contact with me since I decided to transfer," Cosby said of Haith.

While next week will give Haith his chance for an introduction, Cosby's visit to Illinois will be the second time he's been hosted by John Groce for a visit to a college campus.

While head coach at Ohio, Groce recruited Cosby, a three-star prospect in the 2010 senior class, before losing him to the Pirates. Although two years have passed since the two were in contact, once he decided to leave Seton Hall, Cosby and Groce picked up where they left off.

"I got a chance to get to know him (at Ohio)," Cosby said. "And once I decided to transfer, he started recruiting me hard again, so we have a little bit of a history."

Given the way recruiting goes, Groce already had a good relationship with Cosby's parents, too.

"My mom and dad like Coach Groce," Cosby said. "He just had a long conversation with my mom (Thursday), and he talks to my dad almost every day. And that's important, not only that I'm comfortable, but that my family is, too."

Groce and his staff took a trip last week to Cosby's home in Louisville, Ky., to lay out their plans for him.

"It helped me a lot. It's what made me want to visit Illinois first, really," Cosby said. "They came in my house and did a presentation, kind of broke down everything about the program, and where they saw me fitting in, and how I kind of filled a need for the team."

The presentation included the usual sales pitch, but there were unique angles covered, too, given the circumstances. Cosby has two seasons of eligibility remaining, but he'll first have to sit out next season due to NCAA undergrad transfer rules.

Groce and his staff have experience with this scenario, accepting the transfer of Rayvonte Rice last spring. He sat out last season, but the staff made sure he worked hard to improve his game. That approach and mentality, to practice during the year as if he was playing in games, was sold to Cosby.

And he says the more he thinks about it, taking a year off might be a good thing in the long run.

"Its tough, but I feel like if you're in the right situation then it would be good because you improve, and you have a chance to improve on your game and be ready to play in each situation, so I'm actually kind of looking forward to it," he said.

While sitting out a year, Cosby would have the chance to learn the logistics of Illini basketball and the Big Ten conference. He took note of the team's performance this season, Groce's first at the helm, and already has a few observations of his own.

"I love their style of play," he said. "I love the way they played this year. They look like they enjoy playing for Coach Groce, and that's important. They have a lot of fan support, I noticed that from watching the games, and I have gotten a lot of love from the fans."

Even though Cosby enjoys the tweets from the Illinois faithful - all providing a recruiting pitch of their own - with visits approaching soon, and a decision coming in the near future, he's trying to focus on what is best for him and his family.

"I'm level-headed about it because at the end of the day I'm going to be in a good situation no matter which one I choose," he said. "I want to take my time and look at what both situations have to offer."

Cosby says he has no set decision date, and will make his choice whenever he feels ready after taking both visits.

Whenever he makes his choice, he'll also have to pick up new shoes to match his new colors.

Decisions, decisions.

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