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Saturday, April 18, 2009

Chicago Tribune Reports Illinois Asst Coach Jerrance Howard Turned Down Josh Pastner

Illinois assistant basketball coach Jerrance Howard stays put
By Terry Bannon | Tribune reporter
12:31 PM CDT, April 16, 2009

Illinois coach Bruce Weber is breathing easier now that he knows assistant coach and lead recruiter Jerrance Howard isn't going anywhere.

Howard has turned down a chance to be associate head coach under new Memphis coach Josh Pastner, who was promoted after John Calipari left for Kentucky.

"This is home," Howard, a former Illinois point guard and Peoria native, said. "I know I'm working for one of the best coaches in the country and the future is really bright. Anytime you have options you have to look at it and do what's best for your family, and this is the best situation for my family."

Howard, 28, just finished his second season as an Illinois assistant and helped put together a nationally ranked recruiting class of 2009 including guards D. J. Richardson, Brandon Paul and Joseph Bertrand and forward Tyler Griffey.

Howard is a key contact with Chicago-area prospects and his presence is considered a key in keeping together the Illini's work on the Class of 2010, from which it has commitments from forwards Jereme Richmond of Waukegan and Crandall Head of Crane -- both considered among the top 25 players in their class -- as well as center Meyers Leonard from Robinson, Ill.

Howard spent three years as an assistant under former Illinois assistant Billy Gillispie at Texas A & M before taking an administrative position under Gillispie at Kentucky in 2007. He got to know Pastner better when Pastner interviewed for a Kentucky assistant job.

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