It didn't take long for new Illinois basketball coach John Groce to hit the recruiting trail in Chicago.
According to an ESPNChicago report, Groce has made Simeon junior Kendrick Nunn one of his top priorities. Groce has only been on the job since last Thursday, but he's already spoken to Nunn's father, Melvin, twice. The Nunns will make an unofficial visit to Champaign later this week.
Nunn, a 6-foot-2 guard, is ranked No. 57 in ESPN's Class of 2013 Super 60. His more celebrated Simeon teammate and classmate, Illinois Mr. Basketball Jabari Parker, is ranked No. 1 on that same list.
There's little doubt Illini fans are fixated on Parker. I've read and heard all kinds of banter on how Groce should go about trying to coax Parker to wear the Orange and Blue. People have suggested Groce offer Simeon head coach Robert Smith an assistant coaching position. Mark Potash from the Sun-Times says Illinois should hire Parker's father, Sonny, as an assistant coach/director of basketball operations.
Here's a better idea: Recruit other good players from Parker's class. Nunn may not be as highly-regarded as Parker, but there's little question he's a high-major talent. If Groce can secure a commitment from Nunn, he'll be off to a good start with his 2013 recruiting class and, just maybe, he'll open a door with Parker.
The decision to target Nunn early is excellent strategy by the new Illinois coach. There seems to be a widespread belief out there that Illinois will have to do something dirty and under the table to land these players. Baloney. Who are we to say that a good, clean sales pitch won't get the job done?
Groce is swinging for the fences during the first week of his tenure. That is good news for Illinois fans.