It’s a rarity at this level, in any sport, for a head coach to have had no playing experience in college. It hasn’t prevented Williams from guiding Marquette to the Sweet 16 the last two seasons and a 60-30 regular season record in the Big East.
At the University of Illinois, the faces may change, but the drama does not.
Thomas’ latest rejection has left him in a tough spot. Other candidates now know how much money Illinois is willing to spend.
When Jimmy Butler heard his name called as the 30th overall pick in Thursday night’s NBA Draft, it capped off a long and unique journey from the Tomball, Texas to Tyler Junior College to Marquette University, and ultimately ending with the Chicago Bulls.
The NCAA Tournament is one of the most physically and mentally taxing stretches any college basketball player will endure. And the players out of the Big East conference might be the best prepared to take on that challenge.