Illini Conclude 2008-09 Season at 87th Annual Basketball Banquet
April 14, 2009
Champaign, Ill. - The Fighting Illini closed out the 2008-09 college basketball season tonight as over 700 people gathered at the Holiday Inn for the 87th Annual Illinois Men's Basketball Banquet, sponsored by the Champaign-Urbana Kiwanis Club. The Illini posted a record of 24-10 on the year, with the 24 victories ranking as the 10th-winningest season in school history. Illinois was runner-up in the Big Ten and appeared in the NCAA Tournament for the ninth time in the last 10 seasons. Receiving special recognition at the banquet was the Senior Class of 2009: Calvin Brock, Chester Frazier, C.J. Jackson and Trent Meacham.
Eight team awards were presented on the evening. Chester Frazier led the way with three accolades. He was named team MVP, as voted on by his teammates and coaches. He also earned the Kenny Battle Most Inspirational Player, as voted on by his teammates, and the Matt Heldman "Matto" Award for having the highest total of the season in a number of "play-hard" statistics (deflections, steals, dives, loose balls, charges taken, 5-second violations drawn, blocked shots). Frazier started all 31 regular season games before suffering a hand injury on March 11, which forced him to the sidelines during the postseason. He averaged 5.7 points and was named to the Big Ten All-Defensive Team. Frazier led the Big Ten in assists with an average of 5.3 apg and was second on the team in rebounding with 4.8 rpg. He concluded his career ranked sixth on the UI all-time assists list with 484.
Sophomore Mike Davis took home a pair of awards. He received the Illini Rebounders Award for leading the team and ranking second in the Big Ten with an average of 8.1 rebounds per game. Davis was also named Most Improved Player, as voted on by the coaches. In addition to excelling on the boards, he was second on the Illini in scoring, averaging 11.3 points, and third in the Big Ten in field goal shooting at 53.3 percent. Davis was a second-team All-Big Ten selection, USBWA All-District 5 selection, and also eared Big Ten All-Tournament Team honors.
Trent Meacham earned the Lou Henson Courage Award, given to the player who takes the most charges. Sophomore Mike Tisdale won the Ralf Woods Free Throw Trophy for having the Illini's highest free throw percentage in Big Ten play at 81.3 percent. Calvin Brock, meanwhile, was the recipient of the inaugural 6th Man Award, as chosen by the coaches.
2008-09 Fighting Illini Men's Basketball Awards