Looks Like (He'll Be An Assistant Coach At The) University Of Illinois: Tim Anderson
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The three assistants are Frazier, Alexander, and Anderson, so I'm gonna call them the FAA. "All recruiting flights are.. grounded by the FAA in Champaign."
Nope. That's not it.
"The FAA has issued an airworthiness directive stating that the horizontal stabilizer jackscrew in the Big Ten Standings may become disengaged when Illinois starts the conference season 13-0."
It's not there yet. I'll find it.
So Tim Anderson (not the White Sox player) is the third assistant coach. I spent an hour googling my way around the internet and to see what I could learn. Some of this might be common knowledge, some might be new information to you, but I didn't know a thing about him until a few hours ago so here's what I learned:
+ First off, some IlliniBoard lore. Tim Anderson is from Chicago and he played at Crane High School for Anthony Longstreet, graduating in 2001. Olds like me remember Anthony Longstreet for one phrase: "Show me the canceled check". If I were to list the 10 most common phrases used on IlliniBoard from 2003 to 2008, "show me the canceled check" probably comes in at #3. "Everything is fine, goodnight", of course, is #1.
Here's the story. Twitter didn't exist yet (thank God), but when Sherron Collins picked Kansas over Illinois, the Illini internet was set ablaze. Hashtag insiders had said that Collins all but committed to Illinois on his visit (see how much things have changed?), but then Bill Self got him to flip to Kansas with his famous "final piece of the national championship puzzle" pitch. The worst part: Collins hit a bunch of big threes in Kansas' furious comeback in the title game where they beat Memphis. So, uh, he actually probably was the "final piece of their national championship puzzle".
Illini fans were quite angry. And the dark side of the fanbase (see how much things have changed?) were able to get the message to Longstreet that he must have been paid to urge Collins to forget Illinois and commit to Kansas. His response reached the newspapers: "Show me the canceled check".
That phrase was used for years on the IB.
"You talk about your trip to The French Laundry so much you're probably a paid spokesperson."
"SHOW ME THE CANCELED CHECK."
+ Tim Anderson was later the head coach at Crane where he coached Crandall Head (Luther's brother). Crandall transferred from Crane to Rich South for his senior season, but I don't believe he ever played there because he tore his ACL that offseason. But it was his junior season at Crane which solidified his high-major status (before knee injuries took his promising career away).
So if we think of these two tidbits together, when Lon Kruger (and then Bill Self) was recruiting Will Bynum from Crane (he picked Arizona), Tim Anderson was his high school teammate. And when Bruce Weber was recruiting Crandall Head, Tim Anderson was his head coach.
+ Then Anderson was the program director for the MeanStreets AAU program in Chicago. So I think we can keep following this thread of Illini coaches recruiting in Chicago. When John Groce was recruiting Kendrick Nunn (who, I believe, played on a MeanStreets team called "MeanStreets Nunn" created around Kendrick and coached by his dad), the MeanStreets program director was Tim Anderson.
If you'd like to see a video from 2013 of Anderson taking MeanStreets players through a workout, here you go:
+ Anderson was then hired as an assistant coach at DePaul. Which would mean that when JCL transferred from Illinois to DePaul, was it Tim Anderson who lured him there? No, wait - DePaul had hired JCL's high school coach by then (to try to get Brian Bowen to commit). So JCL wasn't lured there by Anderson. But I think we've found our theme here.
- Student at Crane HS when Illinois was recruiting his teammate.
- Head coach at Crane HS when Illinois was recruiting his player.
- Director of MeanStreets when Illinois was recruiting his players.
- Assistant at DePaul when DePaul was grabbing Illinois transfers.
And now assistant coach at Illinois.
In that sense, this seems like a really smart hire. Chin Coleman was a former Mac Irvin Fire coach, spent some time as an assistant at Bradley and UIC, and then took the Illinois assistant job. Then he left for Kentucky.
His replacement? A former MeanStreets coach who spent some time as an assistant at Texas-Pan American and DePaul. Now he's taking the Illinois assistant job. And hopefully he won't leave for North Carolina.
My main curiosity here: will he be the assistant establishing connections at private, basketball-only high schools? Because that became Chin Coleman's area of expertise. Just look at some of the recent commits and their high schools.
- Reggie Bass - Elevation Prep in Fort Wayne (high school founded in 2020).
- AJ Storr - Compass Prep in Arizona (yes, I'm aware he decommitted - I'm making a list of where these players are playing high school ball).
- RJ Melendez - Central Pointe Christian HS in Florida
- Coleman Hawkins - Prolific Prep in California
- Kofi Cockburn - Oak Hill Academy in Virginia (recruited by Orlando Antigua, but you get the point).
All of these are what I call, for lack of a better term, traveling high schools. And that's not a shot. They provide a college prep education for athletes needing that kind of prep work prior to college. And they play a national schedule (it's not like they're based at a high school building and part of a conference). Those kinds of tournaments get kids like RJ Melendez and Coleman Hawkins the exposure they need to earn their high-major offers.
Recruiting-wise, at this point, I'd say the Geico Nationals (the April tournament for all of these high schools) is just as important as some big AAU tournament in the summer. The final eight teams at the Geico Nationals last year had to have what - 25 high major players on their rosters? The teams:
Montverde Academy (FL)
Sunrise Christian (KS)
IMG Academy (FL)
Compass Prep (AZ)
Wasatch Academy (UT)
Milton Prep (GA)
Prolific Prep (CA)
Oak Hill Academy (VA)
So many kids are moving to these schools now. I mean, how many times have we heard of Illinois offering a kid from Sunrise Christian or Prolific Prep? How many times do we suddenly hear of a recruit like Samba Kane? Underwood's staff recruits these programs a lot.
Which brings me to my question: if Chin Coleman was the "Chicago connections + works the traveling high school scene" assistant coach, will Tim Anderson do the same? I'm thinking that has to be the case. Anderson has worked at all different levels, from college assistant to AAU coach to NBA Draft prep. I'm sure he's established a lot of connections over those years. And now he gets to put those connections to use for a team that shot all the way up to #2 this past season.
I don't do Cruises for coaches, but if I did, this one would be 4+, I think. His resume has everything from basketball skill development to landing top-100 recruits. Now he's on the big stage, joining the FAA to launch the Illinois program to the moon.
Yeah, "FAA" is just not there.