Gene Keady is finally where he belongs — entering the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame.

It took a full 18 years after his head coaching career ended for Keady to earn the honor. Such is the peculiar nature of the Basketball Hall of Fame.

Plenty of active coaches are already enshrined — Tom Izzo, Bill Self, John Calipari, Bob Huggins. Villanova’s Jay Wright was inducted while still active, among many others.

For other deserving candidates, the wait can last decades. And Keady is far from the only Big Ten coach of recent vintage deserving of Hall of Fame consideration.

We humbly submit the following 5 candidates as the most likely to join Keady in a future Hall of Fame class. Perhaps nobody in the group is a slam dunk, but they’ve all built first-class resumes.

1. Bo Ryan (Wisconsin, 2001-15)

Career Record: 747-233 (.762 winning percentage)

Ryan won 352 games and 4 Division III national championships at Wisconsin-Platteville before earning his shot in Division I. He proved his success was no anomaly upon taking over for Dick Bennett in Madison.

The Badgers reached back-to-back Final Fours in 2014 and ’15, including their gargantuan upset over unbeaten Kentucky in the 2015 national semifinal.

Ryan finished 364-130 (.737) at Wisconsin, including 4 Big Ten regular-season titles and 3 Big Ten Tournament titles. He was a 4-time Big Ten Coach of the Year and was named National Coach of the Year in 2008.

There are multiple lower-level coaches enshrined in the Hall of Fame, so Ryan’s Division III success only enhances his case. He’s already in the College Basketball Hall of Fame, and should get the call to Springfield as well.

2. John Beilein (Michigan, 2007-19)

Career Record: 754-425 (.640)

Like Ryan, Beilein won at every level before becoming a household name in Division I. He has 20-win seasons at the junior college, Division III, Division II and Division I levels.

Beilein is also 1 of just 10 coaches to bring 4 different programs to the NCAA Tournament.

At West Virginia, Beilein reached 2 Sweet 16s, the first Elite 8 since Jerry West graduated, and won the NIT.

At Michigan, he made 6 Sweet 16 runs, 4 Elite 8 runs and 2 trips to the national championship game. With a win in either title game, Beilein might already be in the Hall.

He won 2 Big Ten regular-season titles (2012 and 2014), 2 B1G Tournament titles (2017 and 2018) and finished 278-150 (.650) at Michigan.

If style points matter — and they should — his embrace of offensive innovation and spacing was also crucial to his success.

3. Steve Fisher (Michigan, 1989-97)

Career Record: 495-297 (.627)

There are those who would disqualify Fisher from Hall of Fame consideration due to the booster scandal that caused Michigan to erase its 1992 and ’93 national championship game appearances from the record books.

And that’s an understandable viewpoint.

But if Calipari, Self and Jerry Tarkanian are already in the Hall — which they are — there isn’t really much of a morality leg to stand on.

Fisher won a national title in the strangest of circumstances, taking over as Michigan’s interim head coach right before the 1989 NCAA Tournament before going 6-0. After recruiting the Fab Five to Ann Arbor — as transformational a group of freshmen as college basketball has ever seen — Fisher and the Wolverines reached back-to-back title games.

Fisher left Michigan in disgrace when it was revealed that players were getting paid by a booster, but added to his resume by turning an irrelevant San Diego State program into a national contender. He was named the National Coach of the Year in 2011 for his work with the Aztecs.

It’s understandable if Fisher never gets in, but he’s built a strong on-court case.

4. Thad Matta (Ohio State, 2004-17)

Career Record: 453-172 (.725)

Matta has a pair of Final Fours to go along with 4 trips to the Elite 8 and 6 to the Sweet 16. In 13 trips to the NCAA Tournament with Butler, Xavier and Ohio State, Matta has only lost in the first round twice. Like Beilein, he also has an NIT title.

The Buckeyes won 5 Big Ten regular-season titles and 4 Big Ten Tournament titles under Matta, who is also a 3-time Big Ten Coach of the Year.

Matta’s second go-round at Butler could make or break his Hall of Fame argument. Tom Davis built a borderline Hall of Fame case at Boston College and Iowa, but came out of retirement and went 54-66 in 4 seasons at Drake. Davis will likely remain occupying the Hall of Very Good.

It could be a similar story for Matta, who went 14-18 in his first year back at Butler.

But if Matta gets the Bulldogs back to contending in the Big East and adds another couple of deep Tournament runs, he’ll get north of 500 career wins. This is still a work in progress.

5. Matt Painter (Purdue, 2005-Present)

Career Record: 413-198 (.676)

Painter is clearly missing a few necessary items from a Hall of Fame resume. But he’s also only 50 years old, and those are all obtainable in the next decade-plus. The fact Painter has the 3rd-highest winning percentage among candidates on this list is a good start.

Purdue has 4 Big Ten regular-season titles and 2 Big Ten Tournament titles under Painter. He’s a 4-time Big Ten Coach of the Year and was a 2019 National Coach of the Year as voted by his peers.

Painter’s 17-14 record in NCAA Tournament games needs to improve. That’s no secret. But don’t forget it also took Mark Few 18 years to reach the Final Four with Gonzaga. Next season is Painter’s 19th at Purdue.

There’s a plausible path to the Hall of Fame for Painter. But that doesn’t mean he’ll get there.