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Walter McCarty to be the next men’s basketball coach at Evansville

The Evansville native is leaving the Celtics to lead the Aces.

2017 Las Vegas Summer League - Boston Celtics v Dallas Mavericks Photo by Ethan Miller/Getty Images

Walter McCarty will be the next head men’s basketball coach at the University of Evansville, a source told SB Nation. The former Boston Celtics assistant will be introduced at a press conference at 6:30 p.m. ET Friday, with an announcement coming Thursday morning.

Evansville AD Mark Spencer told SB Nation Thursday morning, “We really couldn’t ask for more [from McCarty], but we get more. His personality, this ethics, his moral compass just matches with us so well.”

McCarty was on a short list of finalists — all who hail from Evansville — that included former Saint Louis assistant Calbert Cheaney, and Valparaiso assistant David Ragland.

Ragland, who played college basketball on the west side of town at the University of Southern Indiana, could receive an offer to be McCarty’s top assistant. A source told SB Nation he blew the university away in his interview, and would have been the favorite to land the job had things with McCarty fallen through.

As far as other assistants go, Spencer told SB Nation, “We haven’t talked names, that’s going to be his choice. He’s got a list of 10 or 15 guys in his head that he trusts.” He added, “He’s going to take his time with it and make sure he gets the right guys.”

McCarty has been an assistant under Brad Stevens in Boston since 2013, and coached the Celtics’ Las Vegas summer league team this past summer. Prior to his stint in Boston, he was an assistant at Louisville under Rick Pitino from 2007-2010, and with the Pacers under Jim O’Brien from 2010-2011. He was let go by the Pacers when Frank Vogel became coach in 2011.

McCarty played his high school basketball at Harrison High School in Evansville, graduating in 1992. He played college basketball at the University of Kentucky under Rick Pitino from 1993-1996, winning a national championship as a senior.

He would go on to be the No. 19 overall pick in the 1996 NBA Draft by the Knicks, but spent the majority of his 10-year career with the Celtics.

McCarty will be tasked with taking a program to the next step that was led by Marty Simmons for the past 11 seasons. The Aces nearly made their first NCAA tournament since 1999 during the 2015-16 season, but had those dreams shut down by Northern Iowa and Wes Washpun’s shooter’s roll.

According to the Courier & Press’ Pat Hickey, many players could be transferring out of the program after Simmons’ exit, including Ryan Taylor (the team’s leading scorer last season), and promising sophomore guard Dru Smith.

McCarty will be a popular choice among locals. Evansville basketball hasn’t been nearly the same since they played at the college division level (now Division II) under Arad McCutchan, where they won five national championships between 1959 and 1971. But McCarty will be a hire that can put a spark in a program that needs one.