With a winning head coach, an incredible student section and NCAA Tournament eligibility beginning next season, the future looks bright for Grand Canyon men's basketball.
One of the few things that could dim that future would be the departure of their coach -- and while that's hardly imminent, we now have rumblings that fourth-year Lopes coach and former Phoenix Suns star Dan Majerle could be on the radar of Illinois, which is looking for a new head coach after firing fifth-year coach John Groce on Saturday.
On Monday, college basketball insider Jordan Cornette suggested Majerle could be on Illinois' radar in part because Jerry Colangelo is advising the Illini on their coaching search. Colangelo is the former owner of the Suns, a long-time GCU advisor and an Illinois alum.
Cornette tweeted yesterday that Colangelo "has the ear" of Illinois director of athletics Josh Whitman, and the relationship between Colangelo and Majerle is "remarkably strong."
The relationship between Jerry Colangelo (who has the ear of Whitman) and Dan Majerle is remarkably strong. Considers him mentor. https://t.co/rTUU8rRYWY
— jordan cornette (@jordancornette) March 13, 2017
Later on Tuesday, Chicago Tribune writer David Hough suggested Majerle could be considered for the job, also citing Colangelo's influence with Majerle and Whitman.
Majerle has served as GCU's head coach for the last four seasons. He's guided the Lopes to an 81-46 overall record, including back-to-back 20-win seasons. The Lopes joined the Western Athletic Conference at the NCAA Division I level in Majerle's first season, and after a mandatory four-year probation period, they'll finally be eligible for an NCAA Tournament bid in the 2018-19 season.