We have heard the names Dennis Gates, Jerrance Howard, Donald Whiteside and Gene Cross, but one name that continues to surface a lot more these past few days has been Kenny Battle. When you talk former, great players that played the game with passion and desire at Illinois, Kenny Battle has to top that list. His efforts earned an award that is given out each year for determination and hustle, Battle was a member of the 1989 Final Four team.
"I did call Coach Weber and left a message with him about the job. I haven't heard back from him yet, but I'm definitely interested in the job," said Battle. So many people feel they can be the one person to turn things around and help with recent recruiting woes at Illinois. Battle on the other hand sees it as a simple solution. "To me, what's not to like about Illinois? Just a few years ago they were in the Final Four. Some kids may not admit it, but most of their dreams are to play in the NBA and Coach Weber has proven he can do that for them. Look at his guys from that team. If I were given the chance to go in the homes and recruit for Illinois, I would really get to know the kid and his family first, tell them what we're about, and what we can do for them at Illinois. I feel by doing things right the rest will take care of itself."
Battle has always kept a close eye on the program. "Illinois was good to me. The fans were great. I've always told Coach Weber if the opportunity opened up, I would be interested in a coaching job there. But the decision really has to be his. I don't know how much influence Ron Guenther will play in all this, but in the end it should be up to Coach Weber," Battle said.
When this is all said and done, Coach Weber will have to do what's best for the players, the school, and his staff. Everyone thinks or feels they know who or what is best for the Illinois program and unless you have lived it or recruited for Illinois, it's not fair to say we know what's best. Illinois has been dealt a tough hand when it comes to recruiting lately. Mentioning all the names of players that could have played there would be pointless right now. So what will it take to turn this all around? A strong-minded family and star student-athlete who will "buck" the trend and show people they want to play for Coach Weber for all the right reasons - starting with current commitment Jereme Richmond, a 6-6 sophomore and already a five-star recruit here at Scout.com.