Illinois hires Tim Anderson as third full-time men’s basketball assistant | Ncaa


CHAMPAIGN — Illinois has hired its third and final full-time assistant men’s basketball coach. Head coach Brad Underwood announced the hiring of Tim Anderson via a press release Friday.

Anderson, a Chicago native, rounds out a staff overhaul for the Illini, who saw all three of their full-time assistants from last season leave for other programs this offseason. Orlando Antigua and Chin Coleman are now on John Calipari’s staff at Kentucky, while Stephen Gentry headed back to his alma mater and last season’s NCAA Tournament runner-up, Gonzaga.

Orlando Antigua and Ron Coleman

Former Illinois basketball assistant coaches Orlando Antigua (right) and Ron Coleman (left) left the Illini to join the University of Kentucky coaching staff. 

Anderson, who spent the last four seasons as an assistant at DePaul, will join fellow Illinois assistants Chester Frazier and Geoff Alexander. Frazier, a former Illini guard, was hired May 6. Alexander was promoted from being the assistant to the head coach to a full-time assistant May 21.

“It’s exciting to become part of Illinois Basketball, to join a program that is truly special with its history and its fan base, and to join Coach Underwood’s winning culture, a coach who has won everywhere he’s been throughout his career,” Anderson said in a statement. “I grew up watching the Fighting Illini on channel 26, and understand the tradition that started with Coach (Lou) Henson and has carried through to this day. For the all-time great players that wore the jersey and left a legacy with the success built here over the years, that’s what we’re charged with continuing. It’s a special opportunity and we’re ready to get to work to make it happen.”

Anderson was a standout at Crane High School in Chicago — which has several notable alumni including former Chicago Bears coach and Pro Football Hall of Fame member George Halas and NBA champion and defensive specialist Tony Allen — before starring at Division II Oklahoma Panhandle State.

After graduating college, Anderson eventually became an assistant at Oklahoma Panhandle State before returning to Chicago and becoming the head coach at his high school alma mater, Crane. Additionally, he was an assistant at Malcolm X College in Chicago and the University of Texas-Pan American (now UT Rio Grande Valley) in Texas before earning a spot on the DePaul staff.

Aside from his traditional coaching roles, perhaps one of Anderson’s biggest assets is his ties to his hometown. He is the founder and president of Ground Zero Training in Chicago, which has worked with several NBA players over the years, including most notably former No. 1 draft pick and league MVP Derrick Rose.

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Anderson has also coached and served as the program director for MeanStreets, which is one of the top AAU programs in the country. The team competes on the Nike Elite Youth Basketball League circuit and currently has two top-60 prospects, according to 247Sports composite rankings, in Class of 2022 forwards AJ Casey and Jalen Washington. Both players, who are 6-foot-8 and 6-9, respectively, have scholarship offers from Illinois.

Anderson’s start date is July 26. He will try to help the Illini carry over their success from a memorable 2020-21 season in which they won their first Big Ten Tournament championship since 2005 and clinched a No. 1 seed in the NCAA Tournament.

NCAA Drexel Illinois Basketball

Illinois head coach Brad Underwood directs his team during the second half of a first round NCAA Tournament game against Drexel.

“Tim is the complete package. He has expertise in every area to benefit our players and our program,” Underwood said in a statement. “You’re talking about someone who is an industry leader in player development, as evidenced by many of the world’s top players selecting Ground Zero Training as the place to perfect their game. He is an excellent teacher, and he brings great recruiting ties not just in Chicago, but throughout the state of Illinois and nationally. Tim has done it at literally every level, from high school and AAU, to junior college and division II, and low major to high major in division I. He is a grinder who has paid his dues because he loves the game of basketball and helping people achieve their dreams. He is without question an ‘Every Day Guy’ who is the perfect addition to our staff.”

B10 Ohio St Illinois Basketball

Illinois center Kofi Cockburn (21) goes up for a dunk against Ohio State in an NCAA college basketball championship game at the Big Ten Conference tournament in Indianapolis.

Illinois will look much different on the court, as well, with the departure of former consensus First Team All-American point guard Ayo Dosunmu, who is preparing for the 2021 NBA Draft on July 29. Former consensus Second Team All-American center Kofi Cockburn initially declared for the draft, too, but withdrew Tuesday and remains in the NCAA transfer portal.

Cockburn told ESPN on Tuesday, “I’m pretty much open. There’s a possibility I return to Illinois and a possibility I don’t.”

Follow James Boyd on Twitter: @RomeovilleKid


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