Hamer elevated to Assistant to the Head Coach at Illinois

Illinois head coach Brad Underwood announced Friday that Zach Hamer has been elevated to the position of assistant to the head coach. Hamer takes over this role after spending the last two seasons on the Fighting Illini staff as video coordinator.

Illinois Basketball has enjoyed widespread success over the last two seasons, with Hamer’s tenure aligning with the winningest two-year Big Ten run in program history. After winning 21 games during the regular season and finishing ranked No. 21 in the AP poll in 2020, Illinois went 24-7 this past season, including a 16-4 mark in conference play followed by the Big Ten Tournament championship. The Illini earned an NCAA Tournament No. 1 seed and set a school record by defeating six top-10 teams. Illinois ended the 2021 season at No. 2 in the final AP poll, the second-highest ranking in school history.

“Zach brought his NBA experience and vast knowledge of the game and impacted our team a great deal from the video coordinator position,” Underwood said. “I am excited to move him to the role of Assistant to the Head Coach, a position that comes with a great deal of responsibility and a partnership with me where tremendous trust exists. Zach is extremely bright and always at the forefront when it comes to ideas that push us forward. He will be heavily involved in all the everyday aspects of helping run a program including scouting, game planning, implementation of concepts and X’s and O’s, player development, and all technology related facets of our operation.”

Hamer arrived at Illinois in the summer of 2019 after spending the previous two seasons on staff with the Los Angeles Lakers. He was an advance scout in 2019 after debuting as a coaching associate in 2018. Hamer handled opponent scouting, with a focus on defensive game planning, and created video playbooks on all NBA teams.

Along with his NBA experience, he spent the 2018 season in the WNBA, serving as video coordinator for the Indiana Fever.

During his time in the professional ranks, he also gained extensive experience in player development.

Hamer was a four-year student manager at Vanderbilt from 2013-17, working for head coaches Kevin Stallings and Bryce Drew. He served as head manager during his final two seasons, culminating in consecutive NCAA Tournament appearances with the Commodores in 2016 and 2017.

A native of Northbrook, Illinois, Hamer earned a bachelor’s degree from Vanderbilt University in human and organizational development in 2017.


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