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CHICAGO — One of the best and most well-known players in Illinois men’s basketball history has a new title.

Head coach.

Dee Brown, the jersey-popping, one-man fast break who led the Illini to the 2005 national championship game, was named the men’s basketball coach at Roosevelt University on Monday afternoon.

“Dee is synonymous with winning basketball,” Roosevelt athletic director John Jaramillo said. “Dee brings a bold vision for the men’s basketball program at Roosevelt. He will provide a fresh perspective, cultivated by his successful experience as a player and a coach, and a competitive fire that will elevate the team’s success on and off the court.

“Dee’s relentless energy, extensive knowledge of the sport, strong connections within basketball, insatiable work ethic and passion for fostering the holistic student-athlete experience will elevate the program and our championship expectations in every facet.”

The 37-year-old former Illinois All-American spent the previous five seasons as an assistant coach at Illinois-Chicago under both Steve McClain and Luke Yaklich. He also spent one year with the Illini as director of player development and alumni relations for then-coach John Groce.

“I’m excited and ready to get to work,” Brown said. “What I love most about Roosevelt University are the academics, the administration, the facilities and the location in downtown Chicago. After meeting with Roosevelt’s athletics leadership team, I feel very good about the vision of the program and where it’s going.

“I’m blessed to be in this position to be a head coach in my city. Chicago taught me toughness and grit. I’m focused on culture, people and excellence. Every day I will come to work at Roosevelt with great energy. I’m outgoing and ambitious, and I show up every day with the expectation of excellence and unbelievable drive towards competing for championships.”

Brown starred at Proviso East and was named The News-Gazette’s All-State Player of the Year and earned McDonald’s All-American honors in 2002. This was all a precursor to a standout and memorable four-year career at Illinois, with Brown helping the Illini win back-to-back Big Ten championships in 2004 and 2005.

Brown was a First Team All-American, Big Ten Player of the Year and Sporting News National Player of the Year during the 2004-05 season as he helped lead Illinois to a 37-2 season and national runner-up finish.

He won the Bob Cousy Award as the nation’s top point guard the next season and finished his collegiate career as the all-time winningest player in Illinois history with 114 victories, a number shared with his former Illini teammate James Augustine.

Brown has his name splashed across some prominent Illini program records, standing fourth in career points (1,812), third in career assists (674), second in career minutes (4,698), second in career steals (231) and third in career three-pointers (299).

Brown parlayed his standout Illinois career into nearly a decade playing professionally. He was selected in the second round of the 2006 NBA draft by the Utah Jazz and spent time in the league with both the Jazz and the Washington Wizards. Brown also played professionally in Turkey, Israel, Italy, China, Puerto Rico, Latvia, Romani and Bulgaria until his retirement in 2015.

Roosevelt competes at the NAIA level. The Lakers went 19-12 last season and finished 13-9 in the Chicagoland Collegiate Athletic Conference before losing in the CCAC tournament semifinals to Olivet Nazarene.

“It was clear that Dee not only saw the vast amount of academic, athletic and experiential opportunities that Roosevelt University can offer students now and the massive potential for those opportunities to grow significantly in the future, but he wanted to be a champion of those opportunities and of Roosevelt University,” Jaramillo said. “I am proud to welcome Dee and his family to the Roosevelt University community, and I look forward to working with Dee on establishing and maintaining new standards of excellence for Roosevelt.”

Scott Richey is a reporter covering college basketball at The News-Gazette. His email is srichey@news-gazette.com, and you can follow him on Twitter (@srrichey).

College/Prep Sports Reporter

Scott Richey is a reporter covering college basketball at The News-Gazette. His email is srichey@news-gazette.com, and you can follow him on Twitter (@srrichey).

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