Source: Illini contact Robert Smith

Updated: March 20, 2012, 7:59 PM ET
By Scott Powers | ESPNChicago.com

A University of Illinois representative contacted Chicago's Simeon Career Academy coach Robert Smith regarding the Illini's coaching vacancy, according to a source, but it wasn't a formal interview.

There had been some speculation that Smith could be an assistant coach to help recruit the Chicago area, but Smith is interested only in being Illinois' head coach and has yet to speak with Illinois athletic director Mike Thomas, the source said.

Smith declined comment when contacted on Tuesday.

Illinois has targeted VCU's Shaka Smart, according to a source, as its top choice to replace Bruce Weber, who was fired on March 9.

Smith won a state-record fifth state championship on Saturday with the top-ranked junior in the country in Jabari Parker, who lists Illinois as one of the schools he's considering. Kendrick Nunn, who was previously committed to Texas A&M, and Marquette recruit Steve Taylor also were key contributors.

Smith has compiled a 230-37 record in eight years at Simeon. His former players include Chicago Bulls guard Derrick Rose, UCLA senior guard Lazeric Jones, Memphis junior center Stan Simpson and Kansas State junior guard Jeremy Jones.

Scott Powers covers high school and college sports for ESPNChicago.com and can be reached at spowers@espnchicago.com.

Scott Powers is a general reporter for ESPNChicago.com. He is an award-winning journalist and has been reporting on preps, colleges and pros for publications throughout the Midwest since 1997.

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