John Groce talks about building toughness at Illinois

3:33 PM, Apr 9, 2012   |    comments
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John Groce

By DAVID MERCER, Associated Press

CHAMPAIGN, IL (AP) - Illinois' new basketball coach John Groce says he wants to build a culture of toughness and leadership.

In an interview with The Associated Press, Groce reflects on the moment Ohio upset Michigan in the NCAA tournament as an example of the mental toughness he hopes to cultivate.

He recalls how Bobcat guard D.J. Cooper got to his teammates to put a lid on celebrations, knowing that they would have been an acknowledgment the 13th-seed Bobcats weren't supposed to win. They controlled themselves, won another game and eventually took North Carolina to overtime in the Sweet 16.

Groce says that toughness is invaluable.

He takes over in Champaign for the fired Bruce Weber.

(Copyright 2012 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)

Associated Press

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