Twelve years ago, after Lon Kruger bolted Champaign for NBA riches in Atlanta, it appeared that Illinois athletic director Ron Guenther had his successor in hand.
Oklahoma finally made an offer that Lon Kruger couldn’t refuse.
After turning down athletic director Joe Castiglione several times, Kruger agreed Friday to leave the job he’s held at UNLV for seven seasons and start another rebuilding project as the Sooners’ head coach.
The tantalizing question is whether the Fighting Illini basketball program – and, in particular, its embattled head coach Bruce Weber – can stare down the 800-pound gorilla in the gym.
Friday night, Illinois tips off against UNLV and face Lon Kruger who coached the Illini between 1996 and 2000. If Bruce Weber’s team advances, they could face Kansas with Bill Self, who Weber replaced.
It’s filled with potential potholes and a bunch of hazard cones (orange ones, of course), and the only exit ramp off it leads straight back to Champaign.