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Top Strength Coach Joins Illinois Basketball



Former Illinois Basketball Signee Commits to Big Ten Opponent
Credit: Patrick Gorski-USA TODAY Sports

Jon Sanderson Joins Illinois Basketball

A former 15-year veteran of the Michigan Basketball staff has now joined Brad Underwood and Illinois Basketball. A top strength and performance coach with a ton of respect throughout the Big Ten and the world of college basketball. He joins the program as a Sports Performance Consultant. Surely, the position will be clarified further by Underwood and company. Jon Sanderson, a native of Mansfield Ohio played college basketball at Ohio State before he was hired at Michigan in 2009.  According to Blue By Ninety “The offseason workouts were known as “Camp Sanderson” and he was essential in the development of guys like Nik Stauskas and Caris LeVert who came to Michigan as lowly recruited players but wound up as first-round picks.” They also quoted “Sanderson was part of two Michigan basketball teams that went to the Final Four, in addition to coaching 30 NBA players throughout his career.”

What is going on in Ann Arbor?

Jon Sanderson took a step away from the Wolverines just weeks ago after an altercation within the program left a bad taste in his mouth. The University of Michigan did not release any details about the alteration in a statement. That statement reads “Jon Sanderson has resigned his position with the University of Michigan Athletic Department, effective March 1. We appreciate Jon’s contributions over the years and wish him the best going forward.”

On March 1st, Katie Strang and Brendan Quinn of The Athletic released an Article from the digging they did around the situation. Of course, the findings certainly put things further into perspective. That is of course, if proven true. The article states Jace Howard, son of Michigan Head Coach Juwan Howard, was involved in a confrontation with an Athletic Trainer. Sanderson details that Jace was “berating” one of the Michigan athletic trainers. Jon told The Athletic the was scene “Totally out of control” and that the unexpecting trainer was “Panicked.” The new Illini coach claims that he told Howard “You’re a student athlete and he is a professional. You don’t talk to a professional like that. That is disrespectful and entitled.” Jon says said Howard was “angry and ready to fight,” repeatedly yelling as players and staff held him back.


Certainly a bizzare situation overall. But, as the old saying goes Take em’ as you get em’. Any time you can add an A tier assistant to your staff, from within your conference, its gold. Sanderson knows the ins and the outs of the Big Ten. He has seen Michigan through some very memorable teams as well. As stated, there has been a abundance of NBA talent that has hit the league from our Maize and Blue neighbors up north. Certainly attributed to the high level development work Jon instilled within the Wolverines program. Illinois Basketball has not been nice to Juwan’s tenure in Ann Arbor, and this just adds to the pot. It will be very interesting to see how things shake out for Michigan basketball as we draw ever near to the conclusion of the 2024 college basketball season.

Illinois Statement

“Excited to have Jon Sanderson assisting our program as sports performance consultant. We will utilize Jon’s industry expertise – which includes three Final Fours and developing 30 NBA players during his career – through conversations and meetings with our current staff to create a first-in-class performance development program.”

Via: Sleepers Media – Youtube

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Kirkland is a go-to source for Illinois athletics news. He is the lead Football analyst at Armchair Illini and has been featured in top media publications like Bleacher Report, Yard Barker, Autograph, Newsbreak, CBS Sports and more.