Oct. 16, 2004
CHAMPAIGN, Ill. - To begin its celebration commemorating the 100th year of basketball as a varsity sport this season, the University of Illinois Division of Intercollegiate Athletics has unveiled its All-Century Team. This 20-man team was selected after voting by thousands of fans on www.fightingillini.com and the Illinois Basketball Centennial Committee. The team will be honored during the Illinois Basketball Centennial Reunion Weekend, Jan. 28-30, 2005, and banners displaying the names of the All-Century Team will hang permanently at the Assembly Hall. Below is biographical information on the All-Century Team members.
Ray Woods (1915-17)
First-Team All-America pick by Helms in 1915, 1916 and 1917 ... Helms Foundation National Player of the Year in 1917 ... Earned First-Team All-Big Ten honors in 1915 and 1916 ... Illini team captain in 1916 ... Brother, Ralf, also earned All-Big Ten honors from 1915-17 ... Helped the 1915 squad to National Championship honors by the Helms Foundation with a perfect 16-0 record.
Chuck Carney (1920-22)
Lettered in basketball from 1920-22 ... Earned First-Team All-America honors in 1920 and 1922 ... Helms Foundation National Player of the Year in 1922 ... First-Team All-Big Ten choice in 1920 and 1922 ... One of the greatest athletes in UI history, he also earned consensus All-America honors as an end for Bob Zuppke's football squad in 1920 ... Set the Western Conference basketball scoring record that stood for 22 years ... Inducted into the College Football Hall of Fame in 1966.
Andy Phillip (1942-43, 1947)
Illinois' most-acclaimed basketball player ... Lettered in 1942, 1943 and 1947 ... Leader of the famed Whiz Kids ... Only Fighting Illini player to earn a spot in the National Basketball Hall of Fame as a player ... Shot an amazing 54 field-goal attempts against Chicago in his final game, scoring a career-high 40 points on March 1, 1943 ... Earned First-Team All-America honors in 1942, 1943 and 1947 ... First-Team All-Big Ten selection in 1942 and Second-Team in 1943 ... Named Big Ten's Most Valuable Player in 1943 ... Team MVP in 1942 and 1943 ... Helped Illini win Big Ten titles in 1942 and 1943 ... Played for Chicago, Philadelphia, Fort Wayne and Boston in the NBA from 1948-58.
Gene Vance (1942-43, 1947)
Whiz Kid member lettered in 1942, 1943 and 1947 ... After Illinois won the 1943 Big Ten championship with a perfect 12-0 record, Vance, along with his Whiz Kid teammates, chose to enter the armed forces for WWII instead of participating in that season's NCAA Tournament ... Three-time Honorable-Mention All-American ... First-Team All-Big Ten selection in 1942 and 1943 and Second-Team in 1947 ... Played for Chicago, Tri-Cities and Milwaukee in the NBA from 1948-1952 ... Served as Illinois' Director of Athletics from 1967-72.
Dwight "Dike" Eddleman (1947-49)
The greatest athlete in University of Illinois history after earning 11 letters in basketball, football and track during his Illini career ... Helped lead the Illini to the 1949 Big Ten title and NCAA Final Four appearance ... Earned the Chicago Tribune Silver Basketball Trophy as the league's MVP in 1949 ... Team MVP and captain in 1949 ... First-Team All-Big Ten in 1948 and Second-Team in 1949 ... Second-Team All-American in 1948 and First-Team All-American in 1949 ... Played in the NCAA Final Four in basketball, Rose Bowl in football and finished tied for second in the high jump at the 1948 Olympics.
John "Red" Kerr (1952-54)
Earned the Chicago Tribune Silver Basketball Trophy in 1954 as the Big Ten's Most Valuable Player ... Team MVP and captain in 1954 ... Played for Syracuse in the NBA from 1955-63, for Philadelphia in 1964 and 1965 and at Baltimore in 1966 ... Was Second-Team All-Big Ten in 1952 and 1953, and First-Team in 1954 ... Earned Honorable-Mention All-America honors in 1952 and 1953, and Second-Team All-America honors in 1954 ... Named to the 1952 NCAA Final Four All-Tournament Team ... Finished his Illini career as the school's all-time leading scorer with 1,299 points and 18.6 scoring average ... Averaged 25.3 points per game in 1954, second-best scoring season in school history.
Dave Downey (1961-63)
Set the Illinois single-game scoring record with 53 points at Indiana on Feb. 16, 1963 ... Helped lead the Illini to the 1963 Big Ten title ... His 18.9 career scoring average ranks fourth in school history ... His 11.0 career rebounding average ranks third in UI history, and his 790 career boards is seventh on the career list ... Was Second-Team All-Big Ten pick in 1961 and 1962 and First-Team in 1963 ... Earned First-Team All-America honors in 1963 after being Honorable Mention in 1962 ... Was a three-time Illini team MVP .. Earned the 1963 Big Ten Medal of Honor for excellence in both academics and athletics.
Duane "Skip" Thoren (1963-65)
Named First-Team All-Big Ten in 1965 and Second-Team in 1964 ... Was First-Team All-American in 1965 and Honorable-Mention in 1964 ... Ranks 25th on the Illini career scoring chart with 1,164 points, averaging 15.7 points and 11.2 rebounds per game over his three-year career ... Averaged 20.3 points and 13.8 rebounds as a junior and 22.2 points and 14.5 rebounds as a senior ... Holds the top two spots on the Illini rebounding lists for season average (14.5 and 13.8) and total rebounds in a season (349 and 331) ... Set the Illini single-game rebound record with 24 against UCLA on Dec. 28, 1963 ... His scoring average of 22.2 points ranks as the fifth-best season in Illini history ... Has four of the top 10 rebounding efforts in Illini history, each over 20 rebounds.
Don Freeman (1964-66)
Finished his Illini career as Illinois' all-time leading scorer with 1,449 points (now ranks 11th) and 20.1 career scoring average, third-best in school history ... Earned First-Team All-America honors in 1966 after setting school records for points in a season (668) and scoring average at 27.8 points per game ... Earned First-Team All-Big Ten honors in 1966 after being named to the Third-Team in 1965.
Nick Weatherspoon (1971-73)
"Spoon" finished his career as Illinois' all-time leading scorer with 1,481 points, which still ranks ninth on the Illini career list ... His 20.9 career scoring average is best in Illini history ... Averaged 25.0 points per game in 1973 to earn First-Team All-America honors ... Honorable-Mention All-American and All-Big Ten in 1972 ... Also finished his career with the highest rebounding average in Illinois history at 11.4 boards per game ... Team MVP in 1972 and 1973 ... First-round draft pick by the Washington Bullets of the NBA.
Eddie Johnson (1978-81)
Finished his Illini career as Illinois' all-time leading scorer, and currently stands fifth with 1,692 points ... Earned First-Team All-Big Ten honors in 1981, Second-Team honors in 1980 and Honorable Mention in 1979 ... Team MVP in 1980 and 1981 ... Holds the Illini record for field goals in one season with 266 (1980) ... Enjoyed a long NBA career following his days at Illinois ... Hit the game-winning shot for the fourth-ranked Illini against No. 1 Michigan State as Illinois posted a 57-55 win on Jan. 11, 1979 at the Assembly Hall ... Led Illini to the 1980 NIT, Illinois' first post-season appearance since 1963, and to the 1981 NCAA Tournament.
Derek Harper (1981-83)
Lettered from 1981-83 ... First-Team All-Big Ten in 1983 after earning Honorable-Mention honors in both 1981 and '82 ... Second-Team All-American in 1983 ... First draft pick in Dallas Mavericks franchise history in 1983 ... Enjoyed a 16-year NBA career ... Ranks sixth on the Illini career assists list with 419 and fifth on the career steals list with 178 ... Ranks 36th on the Illini career scoring list with 977 points ... Averaged 4.7 assists per game for his career ... Knocked down game-winning three-pointer against Minnesota in final regular-season game of 1983 to send Illini to the NCAA Tournament ... Led the Illini with 15.4 points per game as a junior in 1983 ... Team co-captain and MVP in 1983.
Bruce Douglas (1983-86)
Finished his career as the Big Ten's all-time leader in assists (765) and steals (324), still ranking second in assists ... Was the UPI Big Ten Co-Player of the Year in 1984 after helping the Illini to a share of the Big Ten title ... Was the Big Ten's Defensive Player of the Year in 1985 and 1986 ... Finished his Illini career as the school's all-time leader in games played (currently 5th) with 130 ... Illinois' leader in all-time minutes played with 4,373, including all 60 minutes in a four-overtime win over Michigan in 1984 ... Has four of the six best assist average seasons in Illinois history, and four of the top five steals average seasons ... Still ranks 19th on the Illini career scoring list with 1,261 points ... Helped the Illini to four-consecutive NCAA Tournament appearances and an average of 12.3 Big Ten wins per season during his career ... Earned First-Team All-Big Ten honors in 1984, Second-Team recognition in 1985 and 1986, and Honorable-Mention in 1983 ... Third-Team All-American in 1984.
Ken Norman (1985-87)
"Snake" earned First-Team All-Big Ten honors in both 1986 and 1987 ... Consensus Second-Team All-American in 1987 ... Was an NBA first-round draft pick by the Los Angeles Clippers in 1987 and saw action in L.A., Milwaukee and Atlanta ... Ranks 15th on the Illini career scoring list with 1,393 points ... Best season was in 1987 when he averaged 19.7 points and 9.8 rebounds per game ... Shot 61 percent from the field during his three-year Illini career, best in school history ... Set Illini single-season record by making 64 percent of his shots in 1986.
Kenny Battle (1988-89)
The "King of the 360" was arguably the best dunker in Illini basketball history ... Transferred to Illinois from Northern Illinois after his sophomore season and still ranks 31st on the career scoring chart with 1,112 points and 16.1 average ... Stands third on the Illini career shooting list at 59.1 percent from the field ... His 596 total points in 1989 ranks ninth-best season in Illini history ... Honorable-Mention All-American in 1988 and 1989 ... Earned Third-Team All-Big Ten honors in 1988 and Second-Team in 1989 ... Put the "Flyin'" into the Flyin' Illini on the way to the 1989 Final Four ... Coach Lou Henson named the Kenny Battle Award after his relentless hustle and hard work in practices and games ... NBA first-round draft pick by the Detroit Pistons in 1989 and played four years in the league.
Nick Anderson (1988-89)
First-Team All-Big Ten in 1989 and Second-Team in 1988 ... Honorable-Mention All-American in 1988 and 1989 ... Illini Co-MVP in 1988 and team's MVP in 1989 ... Was the first player ever drafted by the Orlando Magic in 1989 ... Played 13 years in the NBA ... Fourth on the Illini career shooting list at 55.3 percent ... Ranks 24th on the Illini career scoring list with 1,172 points, averaging 17.0 points over his two seasons ... Averaged 18.0 points and 7.9 rebounds in 1989, helping the Flyin' Illini to the Final Four ... Was named the Midwest Regional Most Outstanding Player on the way to the Final Four ... Made one of the most famous shots in Illini history with 35-footer at the buzzer to defeat No. 3 Indiana at Bloomington in 1989.
Kendall Gill (1987-90)
Earned First-Team All-America honors in 1990 after leading the Big Ten in scoring at 20.0 points per game ... First-team All-Big Ten in 1990 and Honorable-mention in 1989 ... Helped the Flying Illini to the 1989 Final Four ... Still ranks 14th on the Illini career scoring list with 1,409 points... Second on the Illini career steals list with 218 ... 10th on the Illini career assists list with 352 ... First-round NBA draft pick by the Charlotte Hornets ... Also spent time with Seattle, New Jersey, Miami, Minnesota and Chicago ... Helped Illini to the NCAA Tournament each of his four seasons.
Deon Thomas (1991-94)
Illinois' all-time leading scorer with 2,129 points, and second all-time leading rebounder with 846 ... Averaged 18.0 points per game over his career and was a Second-Team All-Big Ten selection in 1992, 1993 and 1994, after earning Third-Team honors in 1991 ... Holds Illini records for most field goals in a career (803), most blocked shots in a career (177) and most free throws in a game with 19 ... Illini team MVP in 1992, 1993 and 1994 ... Set Illini freshman records by scoring 21 points in his debut, and with 34 points against Wisconsin-Milwaukee, while averaging 15.1 points and shooting 58 percent from the field.
Frank Williams (2000-02)
Earned First-Team All-America honors in 2001 and was Honorable-Mention in 2002 ... Big Ten Player of the Year and Big Ten Silver Basketball Award winner in 2001 ... First-Team All-Big Ten in 2001 and 2002 ... Wooden Award nominee in 2001 and 2002 ... Ranks 12th on the Illini career scoring list with 1,440 points, a career 14.3 scoring average ... Ranks fifth in school history in career assists with 432 and third in career steals with 212 ... Holds the Illini record with most free-throw attempts in a game with 24 ... Illini team MVP in 2001 and 2002 after helping Illinois to shares of the Big Ten title each season.
Brian Cook (2000-03)
2003 Big Ten Player of the Year and Chicago Tribune Silver Basketball Winner ... First-Team All-Big Ten pick in 2003 after earning Second-Team honors in 2001 and 2002 ... 2000 Big Ten Co-Freshman of the Year ... Third-Team All-American in 2003 ... Finished his Illini career third on the all-time scoring list with 1,748 points and fifth on the career rebounding list with 815 ... Led the Big Ten in scoring in 2003 with an average of 20.0 points per game ... Set the Illini single-season free throw record in 2002 by making 96-110 for 87.3 percent ... Played in 98 wins over his Illini career, third-most in school history.