By Joe Henricksen
Who will be the next assistant coach for Bruce Weber at Illinois? The best hire
in high school basketball this past offseason was? Who landed the best high school job? Who will have the
toughest new job? Who has the best chance to win? The Hoops Report provides a rundown of all these coaching
topics in this latest blog entry.
ILLINOIS WILL HIRE? There are dozens and dozens–no, make that hundreds–of coaching
friends, associates, media members, alums, donors, administrators and anyone and everyone that has just the right
coach for Bruce Weber to hire at Illinois. Without question the name Jerrance
Howard has been at the top of the list. The Peoria native and former Illini would be a fine choice–in place
of current coach Wayne McClain. But the hiring of Howard would likely only infuriate city
coaches more as he would not be considered a “Chicago guy.” In the end, just another slap in the face to the
Chicago coaching brotherhood.
After looking at all the possibilities, the guy I would go after hard if I’m Weber is former Morgan Park
and current Illinois State assistant coach Paris Parham. He’s smart,
articulate, well connected, very respected in the city among both Public League coaches and AAU coaches,
impossible not to like, is a Chicago guy and brings years of college coaching experience from previous stops as an
With that being said, however, I honestly don’t think Parham would–or should–take the job. He would have to think
long and hard about it simply because it’s Illinois vs. Illinois State; Big Ten vs. Missouri Valley, but in the end the
negatives may outweigh the positives. Right now he’s positioned himself in the whole Bill Self/BIlly Gillispie
coaching tree via Tim Jankovich, the current ISU coach. That’s not a bad place to be,
especially with the way things are looking at ISU right now and in the future. And imagine the pressure this poor
next coach is going to have on his shoulders when he arrives? Don’t think for a minute that didn’t weigh on
Tracy Webster’s mind.
BEST PREP BASKETBALL HIRE? A no-brainer here as former Thornwood
coach Bob Curran, who is full of class, discipline and past success, takes over at
Lincoln-Way North. Curran won’t have anywhere near the talent at his disposal as he did at
Thornwood, but this is the guy you want to put your trust in when starting up and running a basketball program.
TOUGHEST JOB? Of all the new hires this past offseason, you have to feel for first-year coach
Brendan Lyons at Addison Trail. It’s been several years since Addison Trail
was even competitive. In the last five years this program is 5-99 overall. Ouch!
NEW COACH WITH BEST CHANCE TO WIN? Steve Messer is a veteran coach
having coached previously at Elk Grove Village. Messer, though, takes over for Don Rowley at
Hersey this winter and should be a Mid-Suburban League favorite with the return of 6-9 Dayton-bound
Luke Fabrizius and the arrival of sophomore shooter Ben Brust. That is
something to build around immediately.
NEW COACH WITH THE MOST PRESSURE? Ron Ashlaw takes over a
Waukegan program that has had its share of internal turmoil in recent years and is welcoming the
state’s best college prospect, sophomore transfer Jereme Richmond. The league is loaded with
perennial powers New Trier and Evanston at the top and expectations will be high.
NEW COACH WITH THE BEST JOB? When Bob Curran left
Thornwood to go to Lincoln-Way North, the T-Bird coaching job became the
biggest and best of the coaching vacancies this offseason. Enter Marcus Alderson. He inherits a
job that is blessed with tradition, talent and a terrific athletic director to work for in Gary Lagesse.
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