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Illinois Head Coach John Groce Knows Chicago Is "An Important Area" For Recruiting

New Illinois Fighting Illini men's basketball head coach John Groce joined The Mully and Hanley Show on AM 670 The Score for an interview on Friday morning, and spoke about some of the dynamics of his new job in the Big Ten. Recruiting Chicago public leagues is a hot topic around Illinois and something the program has failed to do well in recent years, and although NCAA rules prevented Groce from talking about the pursuit of local Simeon prep star Jabari Parker, Groce did say he considers Chicago an important recruiting base (via CBS Chicago):

"Recruiting is different everywhere," Groce told The Mully and Hanley Show. "There are different dynamics in every city. I think Chicago has great coaches around those kids. I'm looking forward to getting to know some of them better - some of them, I already know well - and continuing to cultivate some of those relationships. That's going to be an important area for us. We' be foolish to neglect it. It's two and a half hours from here, and Illinois has certainly had some success in the past."

Related: Illini Hire John Groce: Promising End To Shameful Coaching Search

Groce led the Ohio Bobcats to a 29-8 record and guided the team to a surprising Sweet 16 run as a No. 13 seed. As SB Nation's Ricky O'Donnell noted in his feature story on the Groce hiring, "[a]s an assistant under Thad Matta -- first at Butler, then Xavier, then Ohio State -- Groce developed a reputation as an ace recruiter. He helped get McDonald's All-Americans and future NBA first round draft picks Greg Oden, Mike Conley and B.J. Mullens to Columbus."

If you want to listen to the full interview with Groce, be sure to head over to CBS Chicago.

For more on this story, stay with SB Nation Chicago. For more on the Illini check out Hail to the Orange. For more news and notes around the country, stick with SB Nation's college basketball news hub.