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Jerry Hester stepping down from career as Illinois Basketball radio analyst

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Good morning. Welcome to the Orange Minute for Sunday, June 26.

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Fighting Illini basketball will be looking for a new radio analyst this offseason. Former Illinois forward Jerry Hester has informed The News-Gazette of plans to step away from his broadcasting career. Hester has been providing color commentary on the team alongside play-by-play man Brian Barnhart since 2005.

I can't say I had the opportunity to take in too many of Hester's calls, but it was still abundantly clear that he was a great choice for the role. Hester was able to consistently provide unique insight into the program, and he was never afraid to convey his opinions to the audience.

Hester cited the huge time commitment as the primary factor in his decision. However, he did state that he'd be open to calling occasional games if his replacement isn't available for the full season.

"It was a tough decision. From the business side, traveling and conducting an insurance business was difficult when you have such a time commitment through the basketball season. From a family decision, it was really weighing on me. I was spending so much time away from the kids and the wife."

~ Jerry Hester

Kent Brown, Illinois' sports information director, has indicated that the athletic department will attempt to find another former player to replace Hester. That's probably the right move for multiple reasons, but again, that past playing experience can prove invaluable when commentating on the team.

So who would you like to see replace Jerry Hester? Let us know down in the comments.

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