Illini Wonk
Friday, January 28, 2005
  Sound off on 100 Years of Illinois basketball
One hundred years of Illinois basketball has provided a lot of memories. Use the comment section below to sound off on your favorite memory.

Illini Wonk hasn't even been around for half of the 100 years (okay not even one third), but the good memories are plentiful. The best might be the come-from-behind win at Minnesota in 2002 where Corey Bradford hit a couple of late threes and Frank Williams made the last second shot for a one-point victory and a share of the conference title.

More than 300 former Illinois basketball players, coaches and support staff will be in attendance, including Lou Henson who will have a street in Champaign named after him. Go here to see a list of former Illini who will be in attendance.

UDPATE: Steve Batterson of the Quad-City Times wrote an article entitled Century of memories on this same topic.
I'd have to say one of my most memorable moments was the opening game of the Big Ten in the 1999-00 season. A buddy of mine called at got nose-bleed seats that day, and my first live Illinois game turned out to be a doozy.
I had followed Manual high school and Frank Williams throughout their four straight years as Illinois High School state champions. I had seen every championship game in person, but never had witnessed such a thriller as this.

Illinois had control of the game until the last couple minutes when an Ohio State team, led by guards Scoonie Penn and Michael Redd, made a comeback to tie it at 77. The 8th ranked Illini got the ball to Frank, and with seconds to go he dribbled to the left side of the 3-point line and let fly at the buzzer. As the shot swished, the place went crazy and we couldn't believe what we had just saw.

Truly a great game, and one of many historical memories from a great Illinois program.
I was a student entrusted with broadcasting Illini basketball games on WPGU-FM. It was Christmas break. I had to get back to campus to describe the Illinois/Michigan State game where we were 15-0 and a victory probably gets us the #1 ranking. I borrowed my Dad's van and convinced my buddy Heller to go down with me. Of course, everybody knows how that game turned out. My buddy Heller and I celebrated at Kam's and, eventually, needing a place to pass out, we had to break into his fraternaty. I still carry a tape recording of that broadcast in my car and I listen to it every now and again. My voice seems like it was an octive higher, hopefully it was the way it was recorded, but I still get goose bumps when I hear myself say "Eddie (Johnson) puts it up...and it goes through!" What a night! By the way, I like either "Lightning Illini" or "Orange and Blur" as nicknames for this year's team. Go Illini!
My favorite memory was when Nick Anderson hit a three-pointer from WAY BEYOND the arc to beat Indiana during the '89 season.

In fact, that whole year was fun. The Flyin' Illini of '89 were my favorite college basketball team ever.

I still haven't got over the loss to Michigan in the Final Four. That hurt.
"Unknowncolumn" stole mine. But I'll share. March 1989, Illinois at Indiana. Kendall Gill is sitting out with an injured foot. Keith Jackson and Dick Vitale call the game. The Illini trail for much of the second half before P.J. Bowman brings them back with some good three-point shooting. Jay Edwards of Indiana hits a baseline jumper and ties it with two seconds left in regulation.

Bardo inbounds from 94 feet away. Anderson catches, turns, and fires....

It will forever be "The Shot" in my book.
I remember our small town finally getting cable and then watching that 83-84 team of Douglas, Winters, Altenberger, Meents, and Big George Montgomery. Every game was a hard fought and solidly played game. But for my first season as an Illini fan, that sure was a good one.

One of my favorite moments was in the mid to late 80s at Assembly Hall when Michigan State was visiting and as the Illini began to take control of the game, Jud Heathcote was going nuts on the sidelines. A Spartan player threw the ball away out of bounds on a turnover right to Jud. Taking the ball with both hands over his head, Jud slams the ball down to the floor with authority. Also with authority the ball came back up and smashed Jud's nose into his face. It calmed poor Jud down a bit, but the rest of the game his nose was greatly swollen and bright red. Classic.
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