The University of Illinois Fighting Illini are looking at an ever-shrinking list of coaching candidates, with Shaka Smart electing to stay at Virginia Commonwealth University and Frank Martin rumored to be heading to South Carolina.
Smart would have brought a youthful face to the sidelines at Assembly Hall, and Martin would have been a recruiting wizard in the Chicago area.
In recent years, the Fighting Illini have lost out on Derrick Rose, Anthony Davis, Jacob Pullen, Jon Scheyer and other Chicago-based talents. Additionally, they let Andre Iguodala, Verdell Jones and other high-level recruits from Illinois slip through their fingers.
Chicago is crucial to becoming a perennial Final Four contender. It's is one of the best basketball cities in the United States, and bringing the area's top talent to campus is a step towards becoming a power program—not just in the Big Ten, but in the country.
With the next coach still to be determined, here is a list of potential candidates that have a winning background and a large enough name to get the best players in the state to the Urbana-Champaign campus.