Frazier leaving Illinois for West Virginia

Apr. 16—GIFFORD — New West Virginia coach Darian DeVries has yet to announce the addition of Chester Frazier to his first staff in Morgantown, W.Va., but that's where the now former Illinois guard and assistant coach is headed.

A move rumored for nearly a week was confirmed by Illini coach Brad Underwood on Tuesday ahead of his Coaches vs. Cancer event at Gordyville USA.

"Chester is no longer with us," Underwood said. "He's going to West Virginia. We thank Chester for his undying loyalty, his dedication. Nobody bled orange and blue more than him. He's a guy that's lived it. He came here wanting to win championships because he didn't as a player, and he came away with two."

DeVries hasn't made all that many public moves since taking the West Virginia job on March 24. The biggest addition came to his first Mountaineers roster, with his son, Tucker, following him from Drake. The younger DeVries was a top-10 scorer for the Bulldogs last season and earned Missouri Valley Conference Player of the Year honors for a second straight year.

West Virginia has just one assistant coach listed on staff in Nick Norton. The Bloomington native also followed DeVries from Drake.

Underwood seemed to indicate that Frazier would get an associate head coach title with the Mountaineers.

"It puts him back in the vicinity where his name recognition will really pay off for him and his desire to become a head coach," Underwood said. Frazier is a Baltimore native and also spent two seasons as an assistant at Virginia Tech following after seven at Kansas State.

"That's fantastic and wish him nothing but the best," the Illinois coach added.

Underwood hasn't had an opening on his coaching staff since following the 2020-21 season when Stephen Gentry returned to Gonzaga and Orlando Antigua returned to Kentucky with Chin Coleman joining him. Frazier was hired that offseason along with Tim Anderson, while Geoff Alexander was elevated to an assistant coach role.

"I shouldn't say I haven't thought about it," Underwood said about the new opening on his coaching staff. "It's crossed my mind. This is a great spot. Success has been pretty high the last five years. We've got to find the right fit. We've got to find the guy that understands what we're doing and who we are. We'll find that."

Frazier's departure comes at the same time as a pair of Illinois players enter the transfer portal. Sophomore guard Sencire Harris announced his intent to transfer Monday, and freshman forward Amani Hansberry did the same Tuesday. Both were recruited by Frazier, and Harris spent the 2023-24 season working almost exclusively with Frazier while redshirting.

"I think it's part of the equation today," Underwood said. Harris and Hansberry make for three transfers out after Dain Dainja. "Obviously, Sencire didn't play this year and chose to redshirt. Amani is a guy that fought some injuries. Love both of those guys. They were a big part of our program and a big part of our success.

"The job that Sencire did helping our scout team. Amani was in a situation where he was getting ready to help us a ton, and, unfortunately, had a pretty significant injury that kept him out a while. No hard feelings either way on my end and wish them nothing but the best. They're great young men and wish them nothing but continued success."