But with Tracy Abrams graduating in the spring of 2015, and Tate the only remaining true point guard on the roster, Illinois needed to add another talented lead guard to the fold.
For a while, a lot of Illinois fans expected that point guard to be JaQuan Lyle. But when Lyle cut his final list to four schools, Illinois wasn't one of them. At the time, it was a cause for concern, but after Lyle ended up committing to Louisville, that made the point guard situation pretty crowded in the Cardinals' backcourt.
But what was going on behind the scenes triggered a series of events that ultimately landed Illinois their point guard.
Quentin Snider was committed to Louisville for about two years as of late summer. He was the hometown guy, a top-50 recruit who was committed for the longest time and was recruiting other top players to join him at the school that just won a national title.
Well, it turns out that when you don't hear from the Louisville coaches for a while and the backcourt is crowded, you start considering other options.
And at the end of August, Quentin Snider went public with his decommitment from Louisville. It was a bit of a shocker to hoops fans at first, but it was understandable.
Immediately, Indiana and UCLA jumped out as early favorites, but as time went on, Indiana faded out of the picture, leaving UCLA as the frontrunner, but Illinois was always lingering around. The key would be whether or not Illinois could weather Snider's visit to UCLA without a commitment to the Bruins.
Snider admitted he was close to a commitment, but upon the encouragement of his father, he kept his options open and followed up his UCLA visit with a visit to Illinois. After a few suspenseful days, Snider announced for Illinois at a ceremony at Ballard High School.
John Groce got his point guard. But what exactly did he get in Quentin Snider?
As I mentioned earlier, Snider is a true lead guard. He's a winner (took his team to the state finals last year). And he has the chance to make an impact from day 1.
As a point guard, Snider's ball handling is advanced. He doesn't try to do anything fancy, but he has the ability to make moves such as spins and crossover dribbles to navigate his way through a defense. His ball security is one of his best traits. Snider isn't an aggressive scorer, but he knows when to take what the defense gives him, and his shot (both mid-range and perimeter) is consistent enough to be a scoring threat.
His ability to penetrate the defense fits perfectly into the ball screen offense. Snider will be able to both drive and kick to open shooters as well as set up scoring opportunities near the basket for his big men.
Getting Snider was a big coup for Illinois and Coach Groce. Snider is poised for a big senior season, and was a signature recruit for Illinois in the Groce era thus far.
Here's a look at some recent film of Snider: