Right or wrong no one really knows how much shoe companies play a part in any kind recruitment. Jerry Hester doesn't see that being a problem. "I don't think it's as big a deal as some may think. When I played it certainly wasn't. Some guys would prefer to wear certain shoes, but it shouldn't matter." As a matter of fact Hester feels we should be fair to kids as to why they pick certain schools.
Recently Illinois lost Duke-bound Jon Scheyer, Shannon Brown and recently Derrick Rose. "Each case is different. People may not understand that some kids fall in love with schools when they are young. That was the case with Scheyer, and that's tough to beat; that was nothing against Weber. Then you look at Shannon Brown. Most people didn't understand Shannon didn't want to come to Illinois and sit behind Luther Head and Deron Williams, and I can't blame the kid for that. Now with Rose I'm not sure what his reason was, but again, kids pick schools for many reasons," said Hester.
Hester also stated being a former Illini and alumni they need to show the players how close of a family they have in Champaign. "We all get along and Illinois is a great place to go," he added.
For those that feel Bruce Weber is a marginal recruiter, here's Hester's take on things. "Okay, what do you want? Weber will take a kid that fits his program that in the long run no NCAA violations will come or do you want the McDonald's All American that may only stay a year and then the NCAA comes calling? For me I'd take the first option," Hester said.
"I guess I don't get it. Two years ago Illinois was in the Final Four and Coach Weber is still winning. If he keeps going 30-4 or whatever, people can't really say anything. I really think Coach Weber is a great coach. When Bill Self was here it was his niche I guess, but I really like Weber."
Hester's last quote may sum up this entire Derrick Rose situation. "If coach Weber was such a bad recruiter, tell me, how did he go into the State of Indiana and take their best player? Eric Gordon could be the best player in the country next year and people question Weber's recruiting?"
For all those that think Weber is sleeping, wake up. Former high school coach at Rock Island and Alleman, and current assistant coach at Augustana College, Larry Schulte said, "The Illinois fans will be surprised this year at how good Illinois will be. This is the type of team that people won't expect much from - this is why he wins and the type of team he had at SIU. He's a great coach Kedric, and people need to realize that."