Illinois Basketball’s hiring of now-former Oklahoma State head coach Brad Underwood made Twitter waves among members of the national media Saturday afternoon.
Several college basketball writers lauded Josh Whitman’s selection, citing Underwood’s powerful offense (Ranking No. 1 in the country this season per KenPom).
Former Illinois coach Bill Self added some positive thoughts of his own, and Illinois bloggers and fans seemed excited by the prospect of upgrading the coaching staff’s X’s and O’s.
Also chiming in with almost universally positive reactions were several Big Ten school bloggers. Many were jealous, particularly of Underwood’s fast-paced style of play.
Questions remain about how high school recruits and Illinois’ current players will react to Underwood’s hiring — he’s a relatively unknown coach who spent only one year at a major conference program — but one thing’s for sure: those who cover college basketball closely think Illinois got away with an absolute steal.
Josh Whitman is my hero. Illinois AD crushed it with the search and didn't throw away $75K of school's money on... https://t.co/Pao5XY8lg8— Jeff Goodman (@GoodmanESPN) March 18, 2017
WHOA. That, my friends, is a killer, killer, killer hire. https://t.co/udgkR7eEjY— Sam Vecenie (@Sam_Vecenie) March 18, 2017
To be a fan is to rejoice.— John Gasaway (@JohnGasaway) March 18, 2017
I think Underwood is for sure a good coach. Will be interesting to see if he can recruit the area. That seems ... up in the air right now— Ricky O'Donnell (@SBN_Ricky) March 18, 2017
Whoa. Brad Underwood is a hell of a hire for Illinois. Michigan fans saw it first-hand yesterday, but that guy can flat-out coach.— Scott Bell (@sbell021) March 18, 2017
Brad Underwood was dangerous enough when he was coaching a small school in Nacogdoches, TX. Plug him into Chicago talent and, uh, watch out.— Scott Bell (@sbell021) March 18, 2017
Incredible. An AMAZING hire by Illinois. https://t.co/kOLeDSjWti— Matt Norlander (@MattNorlander) March 18, 2017
good news for all irritated by Northwestern being mildly good for 1.8 seconds: Illinois hired a coach who will ensure it never happens again— Rodger Sherman (@rodger_sherman) March 18, 2017
I stumped for Brad Underwood last year. His SFA teams dominated on both ends. Phenomenal basketball mind. Excellent tactician. Good hire.— Brad Evans (@YahooNoise) March 18, 2017
@YahooNoise those who complain about this hire aren't worth listening to because they don't know anything about basketball.— Scott Van Pelt (@notthefakeSVP) March 18, 2017
As Huggy Bear disciple, Underwood will feature pressure, trapping defense. Teams generate TOs, fly. Unlike anything ILL has ever seen.— Brad Evans (@YahooNoise) March 18, 2017
This is a hell of a hire. Underwood only made $1 million this past season, thought he could be open to a move. https://t.co/JWg1VvGExM— Jeff Borzello (@jeffborzello) March 18, 2017
Going from the Tony Bennett rumors and his offense to Brad Underwood and his offense is some whiplash stuff.— Tom Fornelli (@TomFornelli) March 18, 2017
Just landed in Chicago. Brad Underwood to Illinois? Great hire for Illini. Knew at @Big12Conference contract talks were not going well. WOW!— Fran Fraschilla (@franfraschilla) March 18, 2017
Not the name most expected.. But #Illini get a good coach in Brad Underwood. Winner. Had nation's most efficient offense this season.— Derek Piper (@DPiperScout) March 18, 2017
GREAT HIRE!! RT @GoodmanESPN: Illinois has hired Oklahoma State’s Brad Underwood, sources told ESPN.— Mac Irvin Fire (@TheMacIrvinFire) March 18, 2017
next time Illinois needs a coach let's try to play Lorenzo Romar in the first round https://t.co/uUlnDefBlD— mgoblog (@mgoblog) March 18, 2017
well, damn. that's gonna be fun. https://t.co/pde6O8UfwL— Ace Anbender (@AceAnbender) March 18, 2017
Here's another fun thing for Illini fans: Like this guy, Underwood started his coaching career at Hardin-Simmons. pic.twitter.com/ZpdbcJRAnN— Will Leitch (@williamfleitch) March 18, 2017
Before this broke, a friend asked a few hours ago what I thought of Underwood. My response: I think he's one of those Basketball Whisperers.— Robert (@ALionEye) March 18, 2017
If Illini planned to target coach who lost Fri, guess was Archie Miller. Surprise pick Brad Underwood has good rep, fast offense. Open mind.— David Haugh (@DavidHaugh) March 18, 2017
Bill Self: “From the outside looking it, it looked to me like Brad and OSU fit very well. … Illinois is a great basketball job.”— George Schroeder (@GeorgeSchroeder) March 18, 2017
Illinois did a thing and all the people like it and I am so scared— Tom Fornelli (@TomFornelli) March 18, 2017