Men's Basketball
Eddleman and Kirk Join Honored Jerseys Group

Dike Eddleman was a first-team All-American during his senior season in 1949.
Dike Eddleman was a first-team All-American during his senior season in 1949.

Aug. 18, 2008

Champaign, Ill. - The greatest all-around athlete in school history, Dike Eddleman, and first-team All-American Walt Kirk are the next two Fighting Illini to be recognized by having their jerseys displayed at Assembly Hall.

The University of Illinois is honoring its most decorated basketball players in school history by hanging a banner with their name and number from the roof of the Assembly Hall. A total of 20 men's players have earned a spot on this list and will be honored Sept. 13 at the Night of Legends alumni basketball game, scheduled for 7 p.m.

Illinois men's basketball season ticket holders currently have the first opportunity to purchase tickets for the alumni game. Tickets are $15 each. Following the sale to season ticket holders, the general public will have an opportunity to purchase tickets beginning Thursday, Aug. 21 from the UI Athletics Ticket Office, located at the Assembly Hall, or online at

Players selected to have their jerseys hung at the Assembly Hall must have achieved one of the following criteria: 1) National Player of the Year; 2) Enshrined in the National Basketball Hall of Fame; 3) U.S. Olympian; 4) Big Ten Player of the Year; 5) Consensus First or Second Team All-American.

Eddleman earned consensus first-team All-America honors as a senior in 1949, helping lead the Illini to a Big Ten Championship and the program's first NCAA Final Four appearance. A two-time University of Illinois Athlete of the Year, Eddleman was the Big Ten Medal of Honor recipient in 1949 and was named to the NCAA All-Decade Team for the 1940s. Following college, he played four seasons in the NBA and was a two-time All-Star. The most decorated athlete in Fighting Illini history, Eddleman won a total of 11 Varsity "I" letters in basketball, football and track. In addition to his Final Four appearance on the hardwood, he also competed in the 1948 Rose Bowl and the 1948 Olympic Games, tying for second place in the high jump.

Kirk was a consensus first-team All-American and first-team All-Big Ten selection in 1945. The Illini's leading scorer and team MVP, he was named University of Illinois Athlete of the Year in 1945 as well. At the conclusion of the school year, Kirk entered the service before returning to Illinois for his senior season of 1947. He then went on to play in the NBA for three years.

Eddleman and Kirk join the previously announced names of Deron Williams, Dee Brown, Luther Head, Ray Woods, Chuck Carney and Bill Hapac to have their jerseys hung at Assembly Hall. The remaining 12 players to be honored will be released over the coming weeks leading up to the reunion game.

Walt Kirk