Illinois’ John Groce blames Twitter for losing
by Scott Gleeson, USA TODAY Sports
College basketball seasons always have their ups and downs.
As far as turning points go, most Illinois fans will point to Tyler Griffey’s game-winning lay-up with 0.9 seconds left to topple No. 1 Indiana (the first time, that is).
Illini first-year coach John Groce credits a different remedy.
Following a disastrous January in which Illinois went 2-6 and seemed to be falling into a Big Ten death trap similar to last season’s awful ending (The Illini lost 12 of their last 14), Groce had the perfect solution: Ban his players from using Twitter.
Groce certainly isn’t the first coach to make this call, and considering the Illini’s resurgence (winning five in a row before Sunday’s loss to Michigan), it’s hard to argue with the results that have put Illinois firmly back in the NCAA tournament picture.
Coincidence? Nah. Plus, Groce has a pretty convincing explanation in the Chicago Tribune:
“I believe in freedom of speech. But you get off to a 12-0 start and social-media wise, it’s like these guys are rock stars. Then you don’t play as well, they’re scum. I said, ‘Fellas, that’s the way of the world. The reality is you’re not rock stars. You’re not scum. You’re somewhere in-between.’ I wasn’t sure we were staying level with social-media stuff.”… [For more on Illinois' John Groce blames Twitter for losing, 'rock star' mentality, click here.]