Sunday Fast Break (3/19)

CHAMPAIGN -- Craig Choate and Derek Piper talk about the hire of Brad Underwood and what it means for Illinois basketball.

Craig:
"He's Derek Piper, IlliniInquirer.com. Only had to wait one week and Illinois, they got their guy."

DEREK PIPER:
"Josh is quick isn't he? And he's also pretty stealth. I know we had a lot of names out there, Archie Miller and Greg Marshall and I think he made a pretty good hire. He got a winner. In terms of him being under the radar and doing stuff that people didn't think, Whitman gets and A+."

Craig:
"One of the things fans have been wondering since Groce's firing is Jamall Walker. He is the interim head coach right now. He recruited a lot of the big time recruits Illinois has. What are the chances that he stays?"

Derek:
"I think there's some pretty good chances. There's some other programs like Missouri really, really want him. Cuonzo wasted no time in terms of going after him and obviously he was the x-factor with Jeremiah Tilmon. I think he has a really good relationship with Mark Smith. He's big time in terms of making this not a rebuilding project because you're going to have the talent if Jamall is here. So I think, I've heard that they want him. They just need to sit down and talk some numbers but at the end of the day I think Whitman and Underwood do what needs to be done to keep Jamall here."

Craig:
"The recruiting side, we just talked about Walker and how important he is, Trent Frazier has already said he's in, what about some of the other guys?"

Derek:
"Mark Smith, he's the one that isn't signed but they're still going after him. He said he talked to Coach Underwood yesterday and really liked what he heard and wants to meet him as soon as possible. Javon is in. Jeremiah is still waiting on Jamall Walker, he's really the guy. If Jamall is coming, so is Jeremiah. So I think Da'monte is the one that you don't get the big read on. Most people have assumed that he would stay but he's kind of been in ghost mode and we'll have to see if he comes to Champaign."

Craig:
"We'll close with this, this isn't like a Lovie Smith situations, this isn't a rebuild of a program. What kind of program does Underwood inherit?"

Derek:
"I think he inherits one with a high ceiling. I think if you get the talent, which right now with the #9 recruiting class in the country, a very good coach, I think it has a very, very high ceiling. Obviously playing in a big time conference in the Big Ten, I think this program can hit the ground running with him. I think with the style of play, the fact that he's a really good Xs and Os guy, if he puts a really good staff around him to get talent, I think Illinois can win pretty fast."


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