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REPORT: New Illinois coach Brad Underwood plans to keep Jamall Walker as assistant

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Walker was rumored to have been receiving interest from Cuonzo Martin and Missouri.

NCAA Basketball: NCAA Tournament-First Round-Michigan vs Oklahoma State Thomas J. Russo-USA TODAY Sports

The University of Illinois has officially hired Oklahoma State’s Brad Underwood as their next men’s basketball head coach. The news was greeted with a wave of applause from national and regional media members alike, and it’s clear that the move has also inspired a great deal of excitement from fans.

Underwood’s contract will reportedly span six years for an estimated $18 million. He’ll soon begin the process of establishing a new coaching staff with the Fighting Illini, but one piece of that puzzle may already be in place.

According to The News-Gazette, Underwood plans to retain interim coach Jamall Walker upon completion of Illinois’ ongoing postseason appearance in the NIT.

We reported on Thursday that Missouri’s Cuonzo Martin was targeting Walker for a position on his staff, and that was understandably met with some frustration. Walker was the lead recruiter during Illinois’ pursuit of five-star big man Jeremiah Tilmon (IL), and the news seemed to indicate there was a chance of an eventual flip to the Tigers. Those worries can presumably be put completely to rest now.

Lamont Evans, Mike Boynton Jr., and Danny Henderson are the three remaining assistants in place at Oklahoma State. It’s unknown at this point if Underwood plans to bring anyone along to Champaign to fill the remaining two slots.