Illinois assistant basketball coach Tracy Webster has accepted an offer to join Billy Gillispie's staff at Kentucky.
The Louisville Courier-Journal first reported the move that fills the third and final opening for Gillispie, who's a former Illinois assistant as well.
Webster, who spent three years in Champaign, was regarded as the team's finest recruiter as well as the one with the most ties to local prospects and coaches.
Among other players, Webster forged the relationship that netted an early commitment from Class of 2010 standout Jereme Richmond of Waukegan.
Webster's departure leaves a gaping hole on a staff that already has been hammered by the media -- both in print and on the Internet -- for its perceived recruiting shortcomings.
If head coach Bruce Weber intends to fill Webster's spot with someone as savvy about Chicago, the list of prospects isn't that long.
Notre Dame assistant Gene Cross was graduated from Illinois in 1994 and has been recruiting Chicago since 1996 for UIC (six years), DePaul (three years), Virginia (one year) and the Irish (starting his second season).
"I'm focused on Notre Dame," said Cross, who expressed interest in Illinois three years ago when Webster was hired. "I'm getting ready to get on the road recruiting. I love working for Mike Brey. I love working for Notre Dame."
If that eliminates Cross from the discussion, someone like Troy Collier, currently a free agent, might be next in line.
Collier, a downstate Danville native who received interest from Illinois when Webster was hired in 2004, played at Eastern Illinois from 1990-94 when Weber's brother David was an EIU assistant coach.