Cal men’s basketball head coach Cuonzo Martin has been widely recommended for an open head coaching position at Illinois, and during an interview Sunday about the Bears’ upcoming play in the NIT, he did not refute rumors that there is mutual interest between him and the Fighting Illini.
“For me, the most important thing is being here at Cal and coaching our basketball team,” Martin said. “All that other stuff … we’ll deal with that when we get to that point.”
Martin also confirmed that Illinois was one of his top choices when he was being recruited as a point guard out of high school. But the team faced NCAA sanctions over allegations that the school paid a player to commit, and Martin ultimately chose to attend Purdue, where he became an All-Big Ten player.
Martin, who grew up in East St. Louis, Illinois, has been linked to the job with Illinois in the past — particularly in 2012, while he was coaching at Tennessee.