We've all heard it before: "Bruce Weber can't recruit." "He's a good coach, but can he win with his own players?" So many people focus on the "near" misses they often forget about who's at home and who's coming.
Currently, Indiana guard Eric Gordon (2007) could be the highest ranked player to attend the University of Illinois since Chicago King's Marcus Liberty. For those who've seen Gordon play, most think this kid could go to the NBA today and be a lottery pick even though he's going to be a senior in high school next year. I've spoken with Gordon many times and he's made it quite clear that he would like to play with Derrick Rose. He loves the fact that Illinois is trying to put together the "three-headed monster" the Illini had just a couple years ago with Deron Williams, Luther Head and Dee Brown. Without a doubt, if Rose decides to pick Illinois - the Illini could have potentially one of the best backcourts of all time.
Not only will the Illini be guard heavy, Weber is putting together a great group of big men in Champaign. The staff will be expecting great things from new big men on the block - Brian Carlwell and Richard Semrau, and future big men - Bill Cole and Mike Tisdale from Riverton, Illinois. Each of these young men brings something different to the game. In Weber's motion offense you need athletes, shooters, ball handers, passers and a low post game. With the class of 2006 and 2007 players, it's clear to me Weber knows what he's doing.
The recruiting game can be tough. The one thing I respect about the current staff at Illinois is no matter what it looks like on the "outside" of things the players come first and they will always do what's right when it comes to potential student athletes. Rose knows that he's the number one target for Weber. He also knows that he's bringing in the kind of players it takes to win Big Ten and national titles. The Rose saga will come down to picking the school he, along with his family members, feels the most comfortable with.