Thad Matta Brings Built-In Shaun Pruitt Connection

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Matta Would Bring Built-In Shaun Pruitt Connection

Chicago Hoops
April 24, 2003

Ron Guenther’s official list of candidates to replace Bill Self as head basketball coach at Illinois is a closely guarded secret. Xavier head coach Thad Matta, a name thought to be on that list, would bring a strong connection to West Aurora power forward Shaun Pruitt if he were to get the job.

Matta, though just 35-years old, has had great success at both Butler and Xavier. He already has Xavier well positioned on the list of schools being considered by Shaun Pruitt, the top 2004 post prospect in the state of Illinois.

Xavier has long been on Pruitt’s short list of schools under consideration. He made an unofficial visit to the Xavier campus in November. If Matta were to get the Illinois job, his strong ties to Pruitt would strongly work in his favor toward landing Pruitt. However, the fact that he is such a hot coaching commodity, and could be lured away at any time, would likely hurt his chances should he stay at Xavier.

Nationally, the Class of 2004 is absolutely loaded with post prospects. As many as four post prospects could opt to head directly to the NBA next year. Thus, getting Pruitt, who continues to fly under the radar screen nationally, would be a tremendous coup for Illinois.

Shaun Pruitt and the Illinois Wolves will be in action this weekend at the Kingwood Classic in Houston, Texas.