There was a time when Division I college basketball in Illinois was thriving. The programs at Illinois, DePaul, Loyola, Bradley, Southern Illinois, Illinois State, Northern Illinois and even Western Illinois once ranked among the best in the nation.
It has been suggested here and elsewhere that one reason is a lot of high school talent has opted to leave the state, filling rosters at Duke, Kansas, Kentucky, California, Indiana, Ohio State, Michigan, Iowa, Purdue, Wisconsin and a lot of places in between.
It certainly is a contributing factor and, arguably, the most significant. But why is that? In the last 20 years, why have so many homegrown stars elected to leave the state?
Some might argue that it all began in the 1960s when players such as Cazzie Russell went to Michigan, Dan Issel and Tom Parker went to Kentucky and Dave Robisch, Rodger Bohnentstiehl and Tom Kivisto went to Kansas.
There are other arguments. One is that the dip in the quality of Division I programs in Illinois can be traced to the early 1990s.
Traditionally, Illinois had an unspoken hierarchy as to how the state's talent pool was distributed. Illinois and DePaul were first in line followed by Bradley, SIU, NIU and ISU with the remainder of the talent spread between WIU, Eastern Illinois and Chicago State.
That isn't the case any more. Today, the talent is taking the underground railroad to other geographical stops from coast to coast. Why? In the business of recruiting, there is no loyalty among thieves, only back-stabbing and treachery.
Oh, here are other reasons why the state didn't have any qualifiers in the NCAA tournament in 2010, why the programs have little national respect.