Deron Williams returns to campus Aug. 28-29 to host a charity dinner and auction and golf classic.
Aug. 11, 2009
Champaign, Ill. - Two Illini currently standing among the top of their respective professional sport are returning to Champaign-Urbana on consecutive weekends to assist their alma mater. Deron Williams and Steve Stricker will visit campus later this month to participate in charity events on the University of Illinois campus.
Deron Williams will host the Illini Hoop Legends For Charity Dinner and Auction on Friday, Aug. 28 at 6 pm at the I Hotel and Conference Center in Champaign, followed by a Golf Classic on Saturday, Aug. 29 at Noon at Stone Creek Golf Club in Urbana. The dinner will feature a who's who of Illini basketball greats in the room, as Williams honors the 1989 Flyin' Illini team that advanced to the NCAA Final Four, with many members of that '89 squad expected to be in attendance. In addition, a lifetime achievement award has been established in honor of Jerry Colangelo. The first recipients of the Colangelo award, Mannie Jackson and Dave Downey, will be recognized at the dinner.
An All-America point guard at Illinois who led the Fighting Illini to a national runner-up finish in 2005, Williams' career has continued to flourish since leaving campus. The highest draft pick in Illinois history at No. 3 overall, Williams was an NBA All-Rookie First Team selection in 2006 and won the Skills Competition at the 2008 NBA All-Star game. He was selected to the USA Basketball Senior National Team and became the first Illinois player in school history to win an Olympic Basketball Gold Medal when he helped the U.S. to a perfect record at the 2008 Beijing Summer games. Williams has maintained a close relationship with Coach Bruce Weber and staff throughout his tenure with the Utah Jazz, and he continues to contribute his time and efforts to help ensure future success for the Fighting Illini. The events on Aug. 28-29 will directly benefit the Illinois Men's Basketball program and a number of local charities through the Deron Williams Point of Hope Foundation.
"Deron has achieved so much on the basketball court during his young career, leading us to the National Championship game, the Jazz to multiple playoff appearances, and the United States to a gold medal at the 2008 Olympics," Weber said. "With all that success, I am even more impressed with his accomplishments off the court. Deron has made a commitment to helping people, and that is apparent with the outstanding work he is doing through the Point of Hope Foundation. He is a role model and a great example of the positive impact that a professional athlete can make in people's lives."
One week prior to Williams' events, Steve Stricker returns to the UI for the seventh straight year to host the Stricker Illini Golf Classic, a popular I FUND event that raises money for the reigning Big Ten Champion Fighting Illini Men's Golf team. A Gala Reception and Auction will be held on Sunday, Aug. 23 at 6 pm at the Colonnades Club at Memorial Stadium, followed by a Golf Classic on Monday, Aug. 24 at Urbana's Stone Creek Golf Club with two waves of tee times (morning shotgun start at 8 a.m., afternoon at 1:15 pm). Stricker will host his clinic between waves on the Stone Creek range at 12:30 pm. Tickets are currently available for the Gala, while space for the Golf Classic is extremely limited.
For more information or to participate, contact Sara Rhodes by email or call the I FUND at 217-333-6277.
A three-time All-American and Big Ten Championship medalist and 1989 University of Illinois graduate, Stricker is now in his 16th year on the PGA Tour. Following appearances for the United States at the 2007 Presidents Cup and 2008 Ryder Cup, Stricker is on a roll once again in 2009, arguably playing the best golf of his stellar career. He has won two events this year, the Crowne Plaza Invitational at Colonial and John Deere Classic, and is currently No. 2 on the FedEx Cup Points List and PGA Tour Money List while checking in at No. 5 in the Official World Golf Ranking. Stricker will take time out from his hectic tour schedule prior to the PGA Tour Playoffs to once again return to Champaign-Urbana and reunite with Illini Coach Mike Small and give his assistance to the UI Men's Golf Team.
"With his recent success, Steve Stricker has become one of the most recognizable players on tour and certainly one of the most likeable," Small said. "For Steve to take time out of his busy schedule and come back to campus says a lot about how he feels about the University of Illinois. He has become the face of Illinois golf, so having him back here and at the same time help raise money for our current student-athletes is simply tremendous."