Romar looking at the wads of cash Illinois had to throw at him to make this happen
Please enjoy my satirical piece on Lorenzo Romar accepting the Illinois job, an April Fools idea. (Hint: Click the links)
Depending on who you are, this isn’t the type of news you were quite hoping to hear today.
Multiple sources are reporting that Lorenzo Romar has accepted the job to become the head coach at the University of Illinois, that was vacated when Bruce Weber was relieved of his duties at the end of the season. An official announcement from both schools should be coming soon, as contractual issues are being hammered out.
For Washington, this news comes as a shock and could potentially be immediately damaging. Washington will be dealing with the impending NBA draft decisions of Terrence Ross and Tony Wroten, while the Huskies have zero commits to the class of 2012 as it stands now. This doesn’t take in to account that a player or two could also transfer as well because of the coaching change.
No matter whether you are a Romar supporter or believe UW can do better, if there is a light at the end of the tunnel it will not be any time soon. Lorenzo Romar teams rely on continuity and leadership, and there is little to no guarantee that a new coach can come in and bring the talent that we have together.
It’s confusing to me why Lorenzo Romar would leave his alma matter and a fan base that treats him like royalty, in a city where he is comfortable for an Illini fan base and situation where he would need to provide instant gratification or feel the heat within a matter of months.
Washington is losing a coach that has taken the Huskies to six NCAA Tournaments, three Sweet 16s, won two regular season titles and three conference titles. It was the most successful decade long run for Husky basketball in half a century. I don’t care where your context of standards is, that is impressive considering the program that Lorenzo took over at Washington.
Ironically enough, both the Illini and Huskies are coming off of disappointing seasons that saw them both compete in the NIT.
Romar wasn’t believed to be at the top of Illinois’ list, with VCU’s Shaka Smart probably being at the top of it, and perhaps Butler’s Brad Stevens in the mix as well. It was the same circumstances that got Romar hired at Washington, as he was down on Barbara Hedges list.
This is a risk/reward move for the Illini, who are making this move to counter what they believe is perpetual under-achieving under Bruce Weber since the team’s Final Four run in 2005. Lorenzo Romar will bring his up tempo style and west coast recruiting connections to a school that has big aspirations in a crowded Big 10 conference that has upped it’s basketball reputation in recent seasons.
But Romar has often been criticized at Washington for under-achieving as well, so much so that this news may be taken pleasantly by a sect of the Husky fanbase.
It will also be curious to see as to how Lorenzo Romar fills out his staff, and how that will help him recruit the midwest. Romar has limited expertise in prep hoops there, aside from his time coaching at Saint Louis. I would still look for Romar to dip his hand in the West coast and Seattle recruiting scenes.
I guess you could also say this is where we find out for sure where Washington ranks in the national landscape in terms of being an ‘elite-esque’ basketball program. Is Washington a big enough name for them to throw money at a big name with little west coast connections? Perhaps Pitt’s Jamie Dixon would be interested if that were the case. Or will Washington play it safe and hire a familiar name, a Pac-12 assistant or a guy like Ken Bone who served under Romar during the Brandon Roy years.
Who knows. All we know, is that this isn’t what you wanted to hear today.