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Groce: Not sure yet how to replace Leonard

Published: Wednesday, April 4 2012 2:15 p.m. MDT

New Illinois men's basketball coach John Groce speaks during his introductory news conference, Thursday, March 29, 2012, in Champaign, Ill. Groce is replacing the fired Bruce Weber after compiling a 85-56 overall record and 34-30 in MAC games at Ohio.  (The News-Gazette, Robin Scholz)  MANDATORY CREDIT, Associated Press) New Illinois men's basketball coach John Groce speaks during his introductory news conference, Thursday, March 29, 2012, in Champaign, Ill. Groce is replacing the fired Bruce Weber after compiling a 85-56 overall record and 34-30 in MAC games at Ohio. (The News-Gazette, Robin Scholz) MANDATORY CREDIT, Associated Press)

CHAMPAIGN, Ill. — New Illinois coach John Groce (GROHS) says he hasn't decided yet how he will deal with the loss of 7-1 center Meyers Leonard to the NBA draft.

Groce was hired just last week from Ohio to replace Bruce Weber. Leonard announced Monday that he will skip his last two seasons of college to turn pro.

Groce says he doesn't want to add a player to his roster just to plug a hole.

The new head coach said he talked with Leonard quite a bit before the center announced his decision. Groce said he knew he had little chance to keep Leonard, who averaged 13.6 points and was third in the Big Ten with 8.2 rebounds a game. His 1.9 blocked shots a game led the conference.

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