"Born and Raised - They Will Get My Support"

Simeon High School Basketball Coach Robert Smith is an Illinois guy. "I love Illinois. They will always get my support first, along with the parents, kids and administration." Read here for my interview with star guard Derrick Rose's coach.

Don't think for one minute that coaches all across the state are not taking notice of the great job Head Coach Bruce Weber and his staff are doing at Illinois. "Man, I like Coach Weber, as a person first and then as a coach. He does a great job, and he's got a great staff right there with him," said Smith. "What Illinois is doing right now has to have a positive effect on recruiting. It's great to see so many guys from our state do so well. You hear so much about the East Coast or West Coast players; this shows how good the basketball is in the Midwest and Illinois."

Everyone knows it took some time for the kids to buy into Weber's system, but Smith added, "Once the players bought into his system everything just fell into place for them."

"All of this playing in the States of Indiana and Illinois and right here in Chicago is great for recruiting. Everyone in the state is supporting those parents, players and kids and they have such a great respect for Assistant Coach Tracey Webster," said Smith.

Dick Vitale and ESPN can talk ACC, Big East basketball, but times are changing for the good in the Big Ten. "Just look at what Illinois and Michigan State did. Both of those teams play a lot like the ACC schools; they got out and ran. The good thing about Illinois is they can play both ways - run and slow it down, and that's a credit to their coaching staff."

"I think when things are all said and done kids from coast to coast will want to join the Big Ten. When I got here Derrick Rose told me ‘Coach, let's get out and run.' Kids like to run the fastbreak and be allowed to pull and shoot the jump shot, so that's what I allow my teams to do."

"Hey, I want you to know I'm an Illinois guy, born and raised, and I want people to know that," Smith added.

This week Illiniboard will have more premium stories from other high school players and coaches.

Illini Inquirer Top Stories