Illinois Fighting Illini men's basketball

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Illinois Fighting Illini
2023-24 Illinois Fighting Illini men's basketball team
UniversityUniversity of Illinois Urbana-Champaign
All-time record1,857–1,037 (.642)
Athletic directorJosh Whitman
Head coachBrad Underwood (6th season)
ConferenceBig Ten
ArenaState Farm Center
(Capacity: 15,544)
NicknameFighting Illini
Student sectionOrange Krush
ColorsOrange and blue[1]
Home jersey
Team colours
Away jersey
Team colours
Alternate jersey
Team colours
Team colours
Pre-tournament Premo-Porretta champions
Pre-tournament Helms champions
NCAA tournament runner-up
NCAA tournament Final Four
1949, 1951, 1952, 1989, 2005
NCAA tournament Elite Eight
1942, 1949, 1951, 1952, 1963, 1984, 1989, 2001, 2005
NCAA tournament Sweet Sixteen
1951, 1952, 1963, 1981, 1984, 1985, 1989, 2001, 2002, 2004, 2005
NCAA tournament appearances
1942, 1949, 1951, 1952, 1963, 1981, 1983, 1984, 1985, 1986, 1987, 1988, 1989, 1990, 1993, 1994, 1995, 1997, 1998, 2000, 2001, 2002, 2003, 2004, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2011, 2013, 2021, 2022, 2023
Conference tournament champions
2003, 2005, 2021
Conference regular season champions
1915, 1917, 1924, 1935, 1937, 1942, 1943, 1949, 1951, 1952, 1963, 1984, 1998, 2001, 2002, 2004, 2005, 2022

The Illinois Fighting Illini men's basketball team is an NCAA Division I college basketball team competing in the Big Ten Conference, that represent the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign. Home games are played at the State Farm Center, located on the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign's campus in Champaign. Illinois has one pre-tournament national championship and one non-NCAA tournament national championship in 1915 and 1943, awarded by the Premo-Porretta Power Poll. Illinois has appeared in the NCAA Division I men's basketball tournament 32 times, and has competed in 5 Final Fours, 9 Elite Eights, and has won 18 Big Ten regular season championships.

The team is currently coached by Brad Underwood, who was hired on March 18, 2017. Through the end of the 2017–18 season, Illinois ranks 12th all-time in winning percentage and 15th all-time in wins among all NCAA Division I men's college basketball programs.

Eras of Illini Basketball[edit]

Early years[edit]

The Fighting Illini began play in 1906 with Elwood Brown as their first coach. In 1915, Illinois won their first ever Big Ten title, going 16–0 (and 12–0 in Big Ten play) under coach Ralph Jones. They were retroactively declared champion of that season by the Helms Athletic Foundation and the Premo-Porretta Power Poll. They won two more Big Ten titles in the next nine years, both shared titles. In 1935, they won the Big Ten once again, sharing it with Purdue. They won the Big Ten title five years later in 1942, their first unanimous Big Ten title since 1915.

When duty calls[edit]

The Whiz Kids

Prior to World War II breaking out, the Fighting Illini men's basketball program had achieved a status which it had never seen prior. Under the direction of head coach and athletic director Douglas R. Mills, the Illini grouped a team of players, all around 6' 3", into a nearly undefeatable lineup later to be known as "The Whiz Kids". As freshman and sophomores, the 1941–42 Illinois Fighting Illini men's basketball team dominated the Big Ten conference basketball season by posting a 13–2 record, overall finishing with 18 wins and only 5 losses. A starting lineup of freshman and sophomores, Arthur "Jack" Smiley, Ken Menke, Andy Phillip, Ellis "Gene" Vance, Victor Wukovits and Art Mathisen, developed a winning attitude that would maintain for the next 15 years, a time period where the Illini would finish no less than third in the conference for 13 of them. Despite being ranked No. 1 in the nation, the 1943 Illinois men's basketball squad opted not to play in the NCAA Tournament when three of its five 'Whiz Kids' were called to duty in World War II.

Harry Combes era (1947–1967)[edit]

Champaign High School basketball coach Harry Combes was hired to succeed Doug Mills as Mills left the position to focus on his duties as the athletic director. Through his first five seasons as head coach, Combes led the Fighting Illini to three NCAA Final Four appearances in 1949, 1951, and 1952.[2] During his tenure as coach, Combes increased the Fighting Illini's offensive output by changing their style of play. Combes implemented Full-court press defense, causing turnovers at a high rate which translated into Fast break points.[2]

In 1951, Combes signed the first black player to don an Illinois uniform, 3x All-State point guard Walt Moore of Mount Vernon. Along with teammate and future Illinois standout Max Hooper, Moore led the Rams to back-to-back state championship titles, culminating with a perfect 33–0 record in 1950.

During the 1957–58 season, Mannie Jackson and Govoner Vaughn were inserted into the starting lineup as the first two African-Americans to start and letter in basketball at Illinois.[3] Combes also oversaw the Illini's move from Huff Hall to Assembly Hall in 1963 and during that same season the Illini won a fourth Big Ten Conference championship under Combes. However, the Illini lost to eventual national champion Loyola (Chicago) in the Elite Eight of the 1963 NCAA Division I men's basketball tournament. The following 1964–65 season, saw several upset victories over defending national champion UCLA Bruins and national powerhouse Kentucky Wildcats at Memorial Coliseum in Lexington, Kentucky.[2]

Lou Henson era (1975–1996)[edit]

In 1975, after having taken New Mexico State (and future Illinois assistant coach Jimmy Collins) to the 1970 Final Four, Lou Henson moved to the University of Illinois to replace Gene Bartow, after Bartow left Illinois to replace the legendary John Wooden at UCLA. Henson would lead the Fighting Illini back to their glory after having a number of difficult years following the Illinois slush fund scandal (where Illinois was hit with severe penalties for infractions that other Big 10 schools had in years prior been punished much more leniently (according to Sports Illustrated) at the time). In 21 years at Illinois, Henson garnered 423 wins and 224 losses (.654 winning percentage), and with a record of 214 wins and 164 losses (.567) in Big Ten Conference games. The 214 wins in Big Ten games were the third highest total ever at the time of his retirement. At Illinois, Henson coached many future NBA players, including Eddie Johnson, Derek Harper, Ken Norman, Nick Anderson, Kendall Gill, Kenny Battle, Marcus Liberty, Steve Bardo, and Kiwane Garris.

Early 1980s[edit]

In 1981, Illinois made strides in its return to the national spotlight with a 21–8 record, a third-place Big Ten finish and an invitation to the NCAA Tournament. The team received a first-round bye in the NCAA Tournament and beat Wyoming, 67–65, in Los Angeles to advance to the regionals in Salt Lake City, where Illinois lost to Kansas State, 57–52. During this season, the Fighting Illini led the Big Ten in scoring for the second consecutive season and were again led by Eddie Johnson and Mark Smith. Guards Craig Tucker and Derek Harper arrived to add backcourt punch, and Harper began his Illini career being named First-Team Freshman All-America by ESPN and ABC.

Flyin' Illini[edit]

The top-seeded and top-ranked 1989 Illini were upset 83–81 in the Final Four on a last second basket by Michigan's Sean Higgins, ending the school's deepest run in the tournament at that time. Illinois had beaten the Wolverines by 12 and 16 points in two previous meetings that season. The 1988–89 Illinois Fighting Illini team gained the moniker "Flyin' Illini" by Dick Vitale during an ESPN broadcast that season. The team also gained national prominence for its athletic players, such as NCAA slam dunk champions Kenny Battle and Kendall Gill, as well as Lowell Hamilton, Nick Anderson, Marcus Liberty, and Stephen Bardo.


The early 1990s Illini were dominated by players such as guards Andy Kauffman, Richard Keene, and Kiwane Garris, as well as centers Shelly Clark and Deon Thomas. Thomas was at the center of a report of misconduct by Iowa Hawkeyes men's basketball assistant coach Bruce Pearl, who alleged that Thomas had been offered cash to attend Illinois. The Illini were suspended from postseason play for one season for unrelated violations uncovered during the investigation.

Lon Kruger era (1996–2000)[edit]

After longtime coach Lou Henson's departure, Illinois hired Lon Kruger to fill the vacancy for the 1996 season. Kruger was the 14th head basketball coach in program history. During his four-year tenure he compiled a 59–38 record. He immediately made an impact at Illinois leading them to a 22–10 record and a second round NCAA tournament appearance in his first year. This created excitement because of the ninth-place finish the Illini had taken just before his arrival. Kruger inherited players such as Victor Chukwudebe, Jerry Hester, Kevin Turner, Jerry Gee, Matt Heldman, Brian Johnson, Kiwane Garris and Cleotis Brown. During his four seasons at Illinois, three of which resulted in NCAA Tournament berths, (all three of which saw the Illini eliminated in the 2nd round) Kruger became the only Big Ten coach to successfully sign three consecutive Illinois Mr. Basketball winners, inking Sergio McClain, Frank Williams, and Brian Cook between 1997 and 1999.Several times during his coaching tenure the Illini were predicted to be at the bottom of the Big Ten, however he overcame adversity each time performing far better than expected.

Bill Self era (2000–2003)[edit]

Illinois picked Tulsa coach Bill Self from a list of numerous candidates, including popular assistant Jimmy Collins, to succeed Kruger, who moved on to the NBA to coach the Atlanta Hawks. Bill Self was hired to the Illini coaching staff as the 15th head coach in the history of the program. He spent his previous seven years as the head coach of Oral Roberts University and Tulsa University where he compiled an overall record of 129–71. In 2001, his first season at Illinois, Self coached his new Fighting Illini squad to a 27–8 record, a share of the Big Ten title, and a number 1 seed in the NCAA Tournament. That 27-game winning season in Self's first year was the second most winning season in school history at that time. McClain, Cook and preseason Big Ten player of the year Cory Bradford led the Illini to the Elite Eight, where they fell to eventual finalist Arizona in a much disputed contest. The Illini were accused of being overly physical most of the season, especially McClain and pesky guards Sean Harrington and Lucas Johnson (younger brother of former Illini forward Brian Johnson). The '01 Illini team also included Robert Archibald, Damir Krupalija and Marcus Griffin. With mostly the same core, Illinois followed up the season with impressive 2002 and 2003 campaigns, but fell in the Sweet 16 in 2002. He was the first head coach in the Big Ten, since 1912, to lead his team to conference championships in each of his first two seasons. It was also the first time Illinois won back-to-back titles in 50 years. Self, also, had an overall record of 78–24 in his three years as Illinois head coach. Self left for Kansas after the 2003 season.[4]

Bruce Weber era (2003–2012)[edit]

Bruce Weber served as the head coach of Illinois basketball for nine seasons from 2003 to 2012.

After Bill Self left, Illinois AD Ron Guenther hired Weber to coach the Fighting Illini on April 30, 2003. Weber came from Southern Illinois University (SIU) in Carbondale and was touted as a loyal coach, which was valued by the Illinois AD after both Kruger and Self left Champaign with relatively short tenures. In his five seasons as head coach at SIU, Weber took the Saluki program to the top of the Missouri Valley Conference, winning league titles in 2002 and 2003. He posted records of 28–8 and 24–7 in his last two seasons, leading the Salukis to back-to-back NCAA Tournament appearances, including a run to the Sweet 16 in 2002 with wins over Texas Tech and Georgia at the United Center in Chicago. His .689 (62–28) winning percentage in MVC play ranked 12th in the long history of the league. Weber earned Missouri Valley Conference Coach of the Year honors following the 2003 season.

Illinois totaled 210 victories under Weber from 2004 to 2012. He ranks third on the Illinois career coaching wins list. He won 67.5 percent of his games while in charge of the Fighting Illini (210–101). Under Weber, the Illini had two Big Ten Championships (2004, 2005), two runner-up finishes (2006, 2009) and seven upper-division finishes.

Illinois had five players selected in the NBA draft under Weber, as Deron Williams (No. 3, Utah Jazz) and Luther Head (No. 24, Houston Rockets) were taken in the first round of the 2005 NBA draft, and James Augustine (No. 41, Orlando Magic) and Dee Brown (No. 46, Utah Jazz) were chosen in the second round of the 2006 NBA draft. Meyers Leonard was chosen 11th by the Portland Trail Blazers in the 2012 NBA draft following Weber's final season. Utah's selection of Williams at No. 3 overall in the 2005 lottery made him the highest-drafted player in Illinois history.


It took just one season for Weber to etch his name in the Big Ten and Illinois record books after leading the Fighting Illini to its first outright Big Ten title in 52 years during the 2003–04 season. In leading his young team that featured just one senior on the roster, Weber became just the third coach in the history of the Big Ten to win an outright title in his first season. Illinois had to win 10 straight to end the regular season to claim the championship, including six-straight wins on the road. Illinois' 26 wins in 2003–04 tied the fourth-winningest season in school history. Weber also led the Illini to the Sweet 16 with NCAA Tournament victories over Murray State and Cincinnati.


Weber's second year at Illinois, the 2004–05 season, will be remembered as one of the greatest in Fighting Illini history, finishing 37–2 as the National Runner-Up in the NCAA tournament. In a remarkable year where Illinois celebrated its centennial season of basketball, the Illini reeled off 29 straight wins to start the year, tying the 12th-best start in NCAA Div. I history and the third-best start in Big Ten history. Illinois also secured its second-straight outright Big Ten championship with a 15–1 league record, as Weber became the first coach in Big Ten history to win consecutive outright titles in his first two seasons. Illinois then added a Big Ten tournament championship in addition to its regular season title. The Illini were ranked No. 1 in the nation for 15 straight weeks, including a first-ever No. 1 ranking in the final Associated Press poll.

They gained the #1 overall seed in the NCAA Tournament and prevailed in one of the most memorable games in NCAA history against Arizona. Down 15 points with around 4 minutes left, the Illini rallied with a run led by Luther Head and Deron Williams. The game was sent into overtime and the Illini pulled off a one-point win to advance to the 2005 Final Four in St. Louis. It was the Fighting Illini's first Final Four Appearance since the 1988–89 season. Against the Louisville Cardinals in the national semifinal game, the Illini posted their final victory of the season. All of the five Illini starters–Deron Williams, Luther Head, Dee Brown, James Augustine, and Roger Powell, Jr.–would eventually play in the NBA. Williams and Brown both joined the Utah Jazz roster, while Luther Head went on to play for the Sacramento Kings.

With all that Illinois accomplished during the season, Weber swept the 2005 National Coach of the Year awards, claiming the following: the Naismith Award, the most prestigious coaching award in college basketball; the Henry Iba Award, presented by the U.S. Basketball Writers Association; and, the Adolph F. Rupp Cup. Weber was also named National Coach of the Year by the NABC, Associated Press, The Sporting News, Basketball Times, CBS/Chevrolet, Victor Awards and Nike Championship Basketball Clinic.


Despite losing three starters and 63 percent of its scoring from the 2004–05 NCAA runner-up squad, Weber directed the 2005–06 Illini to a third-consecutive 4829-win season, a runner-up finish in the Big Ten, the second round of the NCAA Tournament, and a ranking among the nation's top 17 teams throughout the entire season. The Illini spent the majority of 2005–06 ranked in the Top 10 and recorded 26 wins on the year to tie the fourth-winningest season in school history. The Illini were given a number 4 seed in the NCAA tournament, where they beat Air Force in the opening round, before falling to the University of Washington in the second round.


The 2006–07 team finished with a record of 23–12 (9–7) and finished tied for fourth in the Big Ten. With a depleted roster that had six different players combine to miss a total of 58 games due to injury, the Illini still advanced to the NCAA Tournament. They were awarded a 12 seed and lost in the opening round to Virginia Tech.

The 2007–08 season was one of the worst seasons in Illinois history, highlighted be a string of close losses. The lone bright spot came as Illinois came on strong to win four of its last five and five of its final seven games, which culminated with a runner-up finish at the Big Ten tournament. Weber's Illini became the first No. 10 seed in the tournament's history to advance to the title game, winning three games in three days with victories over Penn State, No. 17 Purdue and Minnesota to reach the championship game vs. No. 8 Wisconsin. However, with an overall record of 16–19 (5–13), the Illini were not selected to participate in postseason play.

Weber's 2008–09 UI squad was one of the most improved teams in the country finishing with a record of 24–10 (11–7). With 10 more regular season victories than it achieved the year before, Illinois posted the third-biggest turnaround in NCAA Division I and the second-biggest turnaround among BCS programs on the year. The Illini recorded 24 wins, ranking as the 10th-winningest season in school history. Illinois was the Big Ten runner-up, earned a No. 5 seed in the 2009 NCAA Tournament, and finished the year ranked 24th in the Pomeroy rankings. The Illini lost in the first round of the NCAA tournament to the 12th seeded Western Kentucky Hilltoppers.

The 2009–10 season, the Illini finished 21–15 (10–8), and finished 5th in the Big Ten. The team was widely considered to be "on the bubble" for the NCAA tournament, and missed the tournament field by a narrow margin. The Illini competed in the NIT, falling at home to the Dayton Flyers in the NIT Quarterfinals.

Illinois rebounded in 2010–11 to finish 20–14 (9–9), and tied for fourth in the Big Ten. The Illini were selected to join the NCAA tournament as a #9 seed, where they defeated the #8 seeded UNLV Rebels setting up a matchup with the #1 seeded Kansas Jayhawks and former coach Bill Self. Kansas proved to be to much for the Illini, and the season came to an end in the round of 32.

In 2011–12, Weber's last as coach of the Illini, the team finished 17–15 (6–12), good for 9th in the conference. The team did not compete in the postseason. Weber was fired by Illinois' new AD Mike Thomas after the 2011–12 season.

John Groce era (2012–2017)[edit]

Coach Groce

John Groce was hired by new athletic director Mike Thomas on March 28, 2012.[5] In the 2012–13 season the Illini were the 2012 Maui Invitational Tournament champions and later made the 2013 NCAA Division I men's basketball tournament, losing their second game. The Illini lost 63–59 to the 2013 ACC men's basketball tournament champions Miami Hurricanes. The Illini spent 8 weeks nationally ranked in the 2012–13 NCAA Division I men's basketball rankings, and for two weeks were ranked as high as 10th in the country.

In 2014, Groce continued Illinois' success in the month of November, improving to 21–0 under Groce and 32–0 overall during the past four seasons. Illinois is the only program in the nation with an undefeated November record dating back to 2011.[6] The 2014–2015 season was once again disappointing for the Illini. Illinois finished with a record of 19–14, finishing tied for 7th place in the Big Ten with a record of 9–9. The Illini were then beaten in the first round of the NIT.

The 2015–2016 season ended with the fewest total wins in almost 20 years, since the 98–99 Lon Kruger crew won only 14 games. Groce's squad finished with a record of 15–19, taking 12th place in the Big Ten and receiving no post season tournament invitations.

The 2016–2017 basketball season was another disappointing season for the Fighting Illini, as they finished the season at 18–14 and 8–10 in conference, failing to make the NCAA Tournament for the fourth consecutive year. On March 11, 2017, the university announced via press release that Groce had been relieved of his duties as head men's basketball coach. The next day, the team was put into the NIT as a 2-seed. The team was coached during the NIT by interim coach Jamall Walker, making it to the quarterfinals before being eliminated by the University of Central Florida.

Brad Underwood era (2017–present)[edit]

On March 18, 2017, Brad Underwood was hired by athletic director Josh Whitman.[7] Underwood previously coached at Stephen F. Austin from 2013 to 2016, before spending one year at Oklahoma State. In Underwood's first season at Illinois, the team won each of their first five contests. After beginning conference play 0–8, they ended the season with a record of 14–18.

2018-19 season[edit]

While the 2018–19 season featured the debut of key pieces including Ayo Dosunmu, Giorgi Bezhanishvili, Andres Feliz, and Alan Griffin, the Illini posted one of the worst records in program history at 12–21 (7–13 in Big Ten). Despite the poor record, the Fighting Illini had many memorable moments such as upsetting #9 Michigan State at home and Freshman Giorgi Bezhanishvili scoring 35 points versus Rutgers, breaking the Illinois record for most points by a freshman in a game.

2019-20 season[edit]

This season was the freshman year of highly ranked center Kofi Cockburn. The Illini started off the season slow in the first game, barely beating Nicholls State 78–70 in OT. In the Big Ten-ACC Challenge, Illinois played Miami (FL) where they lost 81–79 after mounting a huge comeback and a charge being called against Dosunmu on the final play of the game. The next game they traveled to Maryland to play against the #3 ranked Terrapins and the Illini led by 14 at half. Maryland then outscored Illinois 34–19 in the second half and won the game by an Anthony Cowan free throw. The Illini next played the 5th ranked Michigan Wolverines at the State Farm Center and beat them 71–62 to improve to a 7–3 record. Over the next 12 games, the Illini went 10–2, including an Ayo Dosunmu game-winning shot at Michigan to give Illinois a 64–62 lead with 0.5 seconds on the clock. The Fighting Illini finished the season 21–10 with a 13–7 conference record and 4th in the Big Ten.

2020-21 season[edit]

This was the season that Underwood finally had mostly his recruits running the team and it certainly showed on the court. After much deliberation, Ayo Dosunmu returned to Illinois for his junior season instead of going to the NBA. He, along with Kofi Cockburn, helped make Illinois into a top 10 team. They went 16-4 (0.800) in the B1G conference but had a worse record than Michigan (14-3, 0.824), and therefore did not earn even a share of the title. The team went on to win the Big Ten tournament title after a hard-fought, overtime 91–88 win over OSU. Illinois became a #1 seed in the NCAA Tournament for the 4th time in school history. They were upset by Loyola-Chicago in the 2nd round and finished the season 24–7. Dosunmu became the first player in Illini history to earn 1st-team All-America honors by the AP. Cockburn was named to the AP All-American 2nd-team.

Thomas E. Thompson 1910–1912 14–14 10–13
Ralph R. Jones 1912–1920 85–34 64–31 2
Frank J. Winters 1920–1922 25–12 14–10
J. Craig Ruby 1922–1936 148–95 94–74 2
Douglas R. Mills 1936–1947 151–66 88–47 3 1
Harry Combes 1947–1967 316–150 174–104 4 4
Harv Schmidt 1967–1974 89–77 43–55
Gene Bartow 1974–1975 8–18 4–14
Lou Henson 1975–1996 423–224 214–164 1 12
Lon Kruger 1996–2000 81–48 38–28 1 3
Bill Self 2000–2003 78–24 35–13 2 3
Bruce Weber 2003–2012 210–101 89–65 2 6
John Groce 2012–2017 95–74 37–53 1
Jamall Walker (interim) 2017 2–1
Brad Underwood 2017– 93–64 55–43 1 2
Totals 1857–1037 978–743 18 32


State Farm Center

State Farm Center (1963–present)[edit]

The State Farm Center(née The Assembly Hall) opened on March 2, 1963, and hosts the home games for the men and women's basketball teams. The architect of the Building was Max Abramovitz, an alumnus. It is internationally known for its unique engineering design. The stadium is the third largest dome in the state of Illinois following only the United Center and All-State Arena. The Illinois High School Association has also taken advantage of its size hosting numerous events including the men and women's state championships, along with the wrestling state championships. The stadium has also recently been named a landmark and joins Wrigley Field as the only two athletic sites on the list.

The stadium has been described as one of the toughest places to play because of the student section dubbed the "Orange Krush". The Orange Krush sits on three sides of the court, including around each basket. It has become customary for the fans of the stadium to wear orange to the games.

Ubben Basketball Practice Complex (1998–present)[edit]

The 2-story, 40,000 square foot building is home to the University of Illinois Men's and Women's basketball programs. The facility includes offices, locker areas, weight training facilities and team meeting rooms in addition to the practice basketball courts. The Illinois Champions Campaign was a major catalyst of the $40 million renovation.[8]

Huff Hall (1925–1963)[edit]

Huff Hall is a 4,050-seat multi-purpose arena in Champaign, Illinois, United States. The arena opened in 1925 and was known as Huff Gymnasium until the 1990s. It is named after George Huff, who was the school's athletic director from 1895 to 1935. Huff Hall is home to the University of Illinois Fighting Illini volleyball and wrestling teams. Prior to the opening of Assembly Hall in 1963, it was home to the basketball team as well.

Kenney Gym

Kenney Gym (1905–1925)[edit]

Kenney Gym Annex is a 5,000-seat multi-purpose arena which is the practice facility for the Fighting Illini gymnastics team. Prior to the opening of Huff Hall in 1925, Kenney Gym housed the Illinois Fighting Illini men's basketball team. It also was home to the Women's Volleyball program from 1974 until 1989, after which the program moved to Huff Hall in 1990.


National championships[edit]

Year Coach Awarding body Record
1915 Ralph Jones Helms Athletic Foundation, Premo-Porretta Power Poll 16–0
1943 Douglas R. Mills Premo-Porretta Power Poll 17–1
Non-NCAA tournament championships 2

Big Ten regular-season championships[edit]

Year Coach Overall record Big Ten record
1915 Ralph Jones 16–0 12–0
1917§ Ralph Jones 13–3 10–2
1924§ J. Craig Ruby 11–6 8–4
1935§ J. Craig Ruby 15–5 9–3
1937§ Douglas R. Mills 14–4 10–2
1942 Douglas R. Mills 18–5 13–2
1943 Douglas R. Mills 17–1 12–0
1949 Harry Combes 21–4 10–2
1951 Harry Combes 22–5 13–1
1952 Harry Combes 22–4 12–2
1963§ Harry Combes 20–6 11–3
1984§ Lou Henson 26–5 15–3
1998§ Lon Kruger 23–10 13–3
2001§ Bill Self 27–8 13–3
2002§ Bill Self 26–9 11–5
2004 Bruce Weber 26–7 13–3
2005 Bruce Weber 37–2 15–1
2022§ Brad Underwood 22–8 15–5
Big Ten regular-season championships 18

§–Conference co-champions

Big Ten tournament championships[edit]

Year Coach Opponent Score Site Record
2003 Bill Self Ohio State 72–59 Chicago 27–5
2005 Bruce Weber Wisconsin 54–43 Chicago 37–2
2021 Brad Underwood Ohio State 91–88 OT Indianapolis 23–6
Big Ten tournament championships 3

Statistical leaders[edit]

Former Fighting Illini Demetri McCamey

All-time leaders[edit]

Season leaders[edit]

Game leaders[edit]

Career milestones[edit]

1,500 points
Years Player Points
1991–94 Deon Thomas 2,129
1994–97 Kiwane Garris 1,948
2014–17 Malcolm Hill 1,817
2003–06 Dee Brown 1,812
2017–22 Trent Frazier 1,794
2000–03 Brian Cook 1,748
1999–02 Cory Bradford 1,735
2008–11 Demetri McCamey 1,718
1978–81 Eddie Johnson 1,692
2010–13 Brandon Paul 1,654
1978–81 Mark Smith 1,653
2019-22 Kofi Cockburn 1,546
1989–93 Andy Kaufmann 1,533
2018-21 Ayo Dosunmu 1,504
200 three-point field goals
Years Player Three-pointers
1999–02 Cory Bradford 327
2017–22 Trent Frazier 310
2003–06 Dee Brown 299
2010–13 D.J. Richardson 278
1993–96 Richard Keene 237
2008–11 Demetri McCamey 236
2004–07 Rich McBride 216
2010–13 Brandon Paul 211
2002–05 Luther Head 209
500 assists
Years Player Assists
1983–86 Bruce Douglas 765
2008–11 Demetri McCamey 733
2003–06 Dee Brown 674
2003–05 Deron Williams 594
1994–97 Kiwane Garris 502
750 rebounds
Years Player Rebounds
2003–06 James Augustine 1,023
2008–11 Mike Davis 909
2019-22 Kofi Cockburn 861
1983–86 Efrem Winters 853
1991–94 Deon Thomas 846
1978–81 Eddie Johnson 831
1963–65 Skip Thoren 830
2000–03 Brian Cook 815
1971–73 Nick Weatherspoon 803
1961–63 Dave Downey 790
150 blocks
Years Player Blocks
2012–15 Nnanna Egwu 201
1991–94 Deon Thomas 177
2008–11 Mike Tisdale 176
1979–81 Derek Holcomb 174
1979–82 James Griffin 156

Source for all statistical leaders[9]

Individual honors[edit]

Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame[edit]

The following 6 Fighting Illini have been inducted into the Basketball Hall of Fame:

Year Player Inducted as a
1960 Henry Porter Contributor
1961 Andy Phillip Player
1971 Abe Saperstein Contributor
2004 Jerry Colangelo Contributor
2017 Mannie Jackson Contributor
2017 Bill Self Coach


National Collegiate Basketball Hall of Fame[edit]

The following 4 Fighting Illini have been inducted into the National Collegiate Basketball Hall of Fame:

Year Player Inducted as a
2006 Andy Phillip Player
2007 Vic Bubas Contributor
2009 Gene Bartow Coach
2015 Lou Henson Coach


Year Player Event Country Medal
1948 London Dwight Eddleman High Jump United States United States 4th
1992 Barcelona Jens Kujawa Basketball Germany Germany 7th
2008 Beijing Deron Williams Basketball United States United States
2012 London Robert Archibald Basketball Great Britain United Kingdom 9th
2012 London Deron Williams Basketball United States United States

International championships[edit]

Year Player Event Country Medal Ref
1959 Chicago George Bon Salle Pan American Games United States United States [11]
1970 Yugoslavia Tal Brody FIBA World Championship United States United States 5th [12]
1974 Iran Tal Brody Basketball at the 1974 Asian Games Israel Israel
1974 Puerto Rico Rick Schmidt FIBA World Championship United States United States [13]
1979 Mexico Craig Tucker Universiade United States United States [14]
1984 Sweden Jens Kujawa FIBA Europe Under-18 Championship West Germany Germany 5th [15]
1987 Greece Jens Kujawa FIBA EuroBasket West Germany Germany 4th [16]
1993 Germany Jens Kujawa FIBA EuroBasket Germany Germany [17]
1997 Sicily Jerry Hester Universiade United States United States [18]
1998 Greece Kiwane Garris FIBA World Championship United States United States [19]
1999 Spain Cory Bradford Universiade United States United States [20]
2000 Brazil Brian Cook FIBA Americas Under-20 Championship United States United States [21]
2001 Japan Brian Cook FIBA Under-21 World Championship United States United States [22]
2002 Venezuela Dee Brown FIBA Americas U18 Championship United States United States [23]
2002 Venezuela Deron Williams FIBA Americas U18 Championship United States United States [23]
2003 Greece Dee Brown FIBA Under-19 Basketball World Cup United States United States 5th [24]
2003 Greece Deron Williams FIBA Under-19 Basketball World Cup United States United States 5th [25]
2007 Las Vegas Deron Williams FIBA AmeriCup United States United States [26]
2009 Poland Robert Archibald FIBA EuroBasket Great Britain United Kingdom 14th [27]
2010 San Antonio Jereme Richmond FIBA Americas U18 Championship United States United States [28]
2011 Lithuania Robert Archibald FIBA EuroBasket Great Britain United Kingdom 13th [27]
2011 Latvia Meyers Leonard FIBA Under-19 Basketball World Cup United States United States 5th [29]
2011 Mexico Kendrick Nunn FIBA Americas Under-16 Championship United States United States [30]
2012 Lithuania Kendrick Nunn FIBA Under-17 Basketball World Cup United States United States [31]
2013 Puerto Rico Andres Feliz Centrobasket U17 Championship Dominican Republic Dominican Republic [32]
2014 Colorado Springs Andres Feliz FIBA Americas Under-18 Championship Dominican Republic Dominican Republic [33]
2015 Greece Andres Feliz FIBA Under-19 Basketball World Cup Dominican Republic Dominican Republic 13th [33]
2015 Toronto Andres Feliz Pan American Games Dominican Republic Dominican Republic 4th [33]
2016 China Myke Henry FIBA 3x3 World Cup United States United States [34]
2018 Canada Ayo Dosunmu FIBA Americas Under-18 Championship United States United States [35]

Consensus All-American[edit]

8 Illini were recognized as consensus first team All-Americans.[36]

Player Year(s)
Bill Hapac 1940
Andy Phillip 1942 & 1943
Walt Kirk 1945
Rod Fletcher 1952
Dee Brown 2005
Ayo Dosunmu 2021
Kofi Cockburn 2022

NCAA Men's Basketball All-American[edit]

Key to abbreviations:
AP Associated Press, Arg Argosy, Ath Athletic Publications, BN Basketball News, BT Basketball Times, BKW Basketball Weekly, BW Basketball Writers of America, Col Colliers, Con Converse, CSAF Citizens Savings Athletic Foundation, Helms Helms Foundation, INS International News Service, K Kodak, Look Look magazine, MSG Madison Square Garden, NABC National Association of Basketball Coaches, NEA Newspaper Enterprise Association, Omaha Omaha World Newspaper, PM Pic Magazine, SN Sporting News, True True Magazine, UP United Press, W Wooden
1st First Team, 2nd Second Team, 3rd Third Team, HM Honorable Mention
Tal Brody
Brian Cook
Dee Brown
1915 Ray Woods–1st (Helms)
1916 Ray Woods–1st (Helms)
1917 Ray Woods–1st (Helms), Clyde Alwood–1st (Helms)
1918 Earl Anderson–1st (Helms)
1920 Chuck Carney–1st (Helms)
1922 Chuck Carney–1st (Helms)
1937 Harry Combes–2nd (Omaha)
1938 Lou Boudreau–1st (MSG), Louis Dehner–3rd (Con)
1939 Louis Dehner–1st (MSG), 3rd (Con)
1940 Bill Hapac–1st (Helms, Con)
1942 Andy Phillip–1st (Helms), 2nd (PM), 3rd (Con), Jack Smiley–HM (SN), Art Mathisen–HM (SN), Ken Menke–HM (SN, Con), Gene Vance–HM (SN)
1943 Andy Phillip–1st (Con, PM, Helms, SN, AP, UP, NEA, Look,), Jack Smiley–3rd (Con), Art Mathisen–HM (Con), Gene Vance–HM (Con)
1944 Walt Kirk–HM (Con)
1945 Walt Kirk–1st (Helms, Con), 2nd (AM), HM (Con)
1946 Jack Burmaster–HM (SN), Bob Doster–HM (SN)
1947 Andy Phillip–1st (True, NABC), HM (Con), Jack Smiley–3rd (Helms), HM (Con), Gene Vance–HM (Con)
1948 Dwight Eddleman–2nd (AP), 3rd (Con, True), Jack Burmaster–HM (Con)
1949 Bill Erickson–1st (Helms, Col, NABC), 3rd (SN, UP), 4th (Con), Dwight Eddleman–1st (Con), 2nd (AP, UP)
1950 Bill Erickson–HM (Con)
1951 Don Sunderlage–2nd (Helms, SN), 3rd (UP, Con), HM (AP), Ted Beach–HM (Con), Rod Fletcher–HM (Con)
1952 Rod Fletcher–1st (Look, Con, Helms), 2nd (AP, UP, INS, NABC, Col, Ath), John Kerr–HM (AP, UP, Con), Irv Bemoras–HM (UP, Con), Jim Bredar–HM (UP, Con), Bob Peterson–HM (UP)
1953 Irv Bemoras–2nd (Con, Helms, Look), HM (AP), Jim Bredar–2nd (Con, Helms, Look, INS), 3rd (AP), John Kerr–HM (AP, INS, Con)
1954 John Kerr–2nd (Helms), 3rd (Look, AP, UP), 4th (Con)
1955 Bill Ridley–HM (AP, Con), Paul Judson–HM (INS, Con), George Bon Salle–HM (Con)
1956 Paul Judson–2nd (Con), 3rd (NABC, UP, NEA), HM (INS), Bill Ridley–2nd (Con), 3rd (NABC, UP, AP), Bruce Brothers–HM (Con), Harv Schmidt–HM (Con)
1957 Harv Schmidt–2nd (Con), George Bon Salle–2nd (NABC) HM (Con), Don Ohl–HM (AP, Con)
1958 Don Ohl–2nd (Con), 3rd (Helms), Govoner Vaughn–HM (Con)
1959 Roger Taylor–HM (Con)
1960 Mannie Jackson–HM (Con), Govoner Vaughn–HM (Con)
1961 Dave Downey–HM (Con), John Wessels–HM (Con)
1962 Dave Downey–HM (Con), Bill Burwell–HM (Con)
1963 Dave Downey–1st (Helms), 2nd (Con), HM (AP), Bill Small–HM (Con)
1964 Tal Brody–HM (SN, Con), Duane Thoren–HM (Con)
1965 Duane Thoren–1st (Helms), 2nd (AP, Con), 3rd (UPI, BN, NABC), Bogie Redmon–HM (Con), Tal Brody–1st (Helms), 2nd (SN, Con)
1966 Donnie Freeman–1st (Helms), 2nd (Con, BN), HM (UPI), Rich Jones–HM (Con)
1967 Jim Dawson–HM (Con), Dave Scholz–HM (Con)
1968 Dave Scholz–1st (Helms), HM (Con)
1969 Dave Scholz–1st (Helms), 3rd (AP), HM (Con)
1970 Mike Price–HM (Con)
1972 Nick Weatherspoon–HM (Con)
1973 Nick Weatherspoon–1st (CASF, Helms), HM (Con)
1974 Jeff Dawson–HM (Con)
1975 Rick Schmidt–HM (Con)
1977 Audie Matthews–HM (Con), Levi Cobb–HM (Con)
1983 Derek Harper–2nd (AP, Con), 3rd (BN)
1984 Bruce Douglas–3rd (UPI)
1987 Ken Norman–2nd (AP, BW, SN, K), 3rd (BT, NABC), HM (UPI)
1988 Nick Anderson–HM (SN), Kenny Battle–HM (SN)
1989 Nick Anderson–HM (AP, UPI, SN), Kenny Battle–HM (AP, UPI, SN), Kendall Gill–HM (SN)
1990 Kendall Gill–1st (UPI), 2nd (BKW), 3rd (AP, SN, NABC)
1994 Deon Thomas–HM (AP)
2001 Frank Williams–1st (W), 3rd (AP, NABC), Cory Bradford–HM (AP)
2002 Frank Williams–2nd (NABC) HM (AP)
2003 Brian Cook–2nd (SN), 3rd (AP, NABC, BT)
2004 Dee Brown–HM (AP)
2005 Dee Brown–1st (W, BW, SN) 2nd (AP, NABC, BT), Luther Head–2nd (AP, NABC, BW), Deron Williams–1st (W), 2nd (NABC, SN), 3rd (AP)
2006 Dee Brown–2nd (AP, BW, NABC)
2021 Ayo Dosunmu–1st
2021 Kofi Cockburn–2nd
2022 Kofi Cockburn–1st


Ray Woods–1917
Chuck Carney–1922
Andy Phillip–1943
Dee Brown–2005

Bruce Weber–2005
  • National Freshman of the Year
Kofi Cockburn–2020


Dee Brown–2006
Ayo Dosunmu–2021
Dee Brown–2006


  • NCAA All-Decade Team
Dwight "Dike" Eddleman–1940s
  • NCAA Final Four All-Tournament Team
Jim Bredar1952
Johnny "Red" Kerr1952
Luther Head & Deron Williams2005
  • NCAA Tournament Regional Most Outstanding Player
Nick Anderson–1989
Deron Williams–2005
Andy Phillip–1943
Dwight "Dike" Eddleman–1949
Don Sunderlage–1951
Johnny "Red" Kerr–1954
Jim Dawson–1967
Bruce Douglas–1984
Frank Williams–2001
Brian Cook–2003
Dee Brown–2005
Bruce Douglas–1985 & 1986
Stephen Bardo–1989
Dee Brown–2005
  • Big Ten Freshman of the Year
Cory Bradford–1999
Brian Cook–2000
D.J. Richardson–2010
Kofi Cockburn–2020
  • Big Ten Sixth Man of the Year
Andre Curbelo–2021
  • Big Ten tournament Most Outstanding Player
Brian Cook–2003
James Augustine–2005
Ayo Dosunmu–2021
Lou Henson–1993
Bruce Weber–2005

Jordan Brand Classic[edit]

Why is a player having played in a HS tournament relevant? This article is excessively long. Remove this section? Comment made March 26 '22.

The following 4 Jordan Brand Classic participants have played for Illinois:[37]

Year Player High School Hometown
2002 Dee Brown Proviso East Maywood, Illinois
2015 Jalen Coleman-Lands La Lumiere School Indianapolis, Indiana
2018 Ayo Dosunmu Morgan Park High School Chicago, Illinois
2020 Adam Miller Morgan Park High School Peoria, Illinois

Nike Hoop Summit[edit]

Why is a player having played in a HS tournament relevant? This article is excessively long. Remove this section? Comment made March 26 '22.

The following 4 Fighting Illini have played in the Nike Hoop Summit:

Year Player High School Hometown
2010 Meyers Leonard Robinson High School Robinson, Illinois
2016 Andres Feliz West Oaks Academy Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic
2018 Kofi Cockburn Christ the King Regional High School Kingston, Jamaica
2019 Kofi Cockburn Oak Hill Academy Kingston, Jamaica
2019 Andre Curbelo Long Island Lutheran Vega Baja, Puerto Rico

McDonald's All-Americans[edit]

Why is a player having played in a HS tournament relevant? This article is excessively long. Remove this section? Comment made March 26 '22.

The following 13 McDonald's All-Americans have played for Illinois:[38]

Year Player High School Hometown
1980 Derek Harper North Shore (FL) Royston, Georgia
1982 Bruce Douglas Quincy Senior High School Quincy, Illinois
1982 Efrem Winters King College Prep Chicago
1985 Lowell Hamilton Providence St. Mel School Chicago
1986 Nick Anderson Simeon Career Academy Chicago
1987 Marcus Liberty King College Prep Chicago
1989 Deon Thomas Simeon Career Academy Chicago
1992 Richard Keene Collinsville High School Collinsville, Illinois
1997 Marcus Griffin Manual High School Peoria, Illinois
1998 Frank Williams Manual High School Peoria, Illinois
1999 Brian Cook Lincoln Community High School Lincoln, Illinois
2002 Dee Brown Proviso East Maywood, Illinois
2010 Jereme Richmond Waukegan High School Waukegan, Illinois

Mr. Basketball[edit]

The following 15 Mr. Basketball award winners have played for Illinois:

Year Player High school Hometown
1982 Bruce Douglas Quincy Senior High School Quincy, Illinois
1986 Nick Anderson Simeon Career Academy Chicago
1987 Marcus Liberty King College Prep Chicago
1989 Deon Thomas Simeon Career Academy Chicago
1994 Jarrod Gee St. Martin de Porres Chicago
1997 Sergio McClain Manual High School Peoria, Illinois
1998 Frank Williams Manual High School Peoria, Illinois
1999 Brian Cook Lincoln Community High School Lincoln, Illinois
2002 Dee Brown Proviso East Maywood, Illinois
2009 Brandon Paul Warren Township High School Gurnee, Illinois
2010 Jereme Richmond Waukegan High School Waukegan, Illinois
2014 Leron Black White Station High School Memphis, Tennessee
2017 Mark Smith Edwardsville High School Edwardsville, Illinois
2020 Adam Miller Morgan Park High School Chicago
2021 Brandin Podziemski St. John's Northwestern Military Academy Muskego, Wisconsin

Fighting Illini of note[edit]

Fighting Illini in the NBA[39]
NBA Draft Selections
Total selected: 73
1st round: 15
Lottery Picks in Draft: 3
Notable achievements
Olympic Gold Medal Winners: 1 player twice
NBA Champions: 4
Naismith Basketball-Hall-of-Famers: 5

First round NBA draft picks[edit]

Draft Year Pick Player Selected by Professional career
1951 9 Don Sunderlage Philadelphia Warriors 1953–1955
1954 9 Johnny Kerr Syracuse Nationals 1954–1966
1957 7 George Bon Salle Syracuse Nationals 1957–1962
1970 17 Mike Price New York Knicks 1970–1973
1973 13 Nick Weatherspoon Capital Bullets 1973–1980
1983 11 Derek Harper Dallas Mavericks 1983–1999
1987 19 Ken Norman Los Angeles Clippers 1987–1997
1989 11 Nick Anderson Orlando Magic 1989–2002
1989 27 Kenny Battle Detroit Pistons 1989–2000
1990 5 Kendall Gill Charlotte Hornets 1990–2005
2002 25 Frank Williams Denver Nuggets 2002–2010
2002 24 Brian Cook Los Angeles Lakers 2003–2015
2005 3 Deron Williams Utah Jazz 2005–2017
2005 24 Luther Head Houston Rockets 2005–2018
2012 11 Meyers Leonard Portland Trail Blazers 2012–present

Fighting Illini in the NBA[edit]

Position Name Height Weight (lbs.) Hometown Draft year Pick Current NBA team
SG/SF Malcolm Hill 6'6" 220 Belleville, Illinois 2017 Undrafted Chicago Bulls
SG Kendrick Nunn 6'2" 190 Chicago, Illinois 2018 Undrafted Los Angeles Lakers
PG Ayo Dosunmu 6'5" 200 Chicago, Illinois 2021 38th Chicago Bulls

Fighting Illini in the NBA G League[edit]

Position Name Height Weight (lbs.) Hometown Draft Year Pick Current G League Team
PF Giorgi Bezhanishvili 6'9" 245 Rustavi, Georgia 2021 Undrafted Grand Rapids Gold
SG Alan Griffin 6'5" 190 Waltham, Massachusetts 2021 Undrafted Rio Grande Valley Vipers
PG Jaylon Tate 6'3" 180 Chicago, Illinois 2017 Undrafted Santa Cruz Warriors

Fighting Illini playing internationally[edit]

Position Name Height Weight (lbs.) Hometown Years with
Professional Team Country
PF Leron Black 6'7" 220 Memphis, Tennessee 2014–2018 Abejas de León  Mexico[40]
C Brian Carlwell 6'11" 265 Maywood, Illinois 2006–2008 Mandurah Magic  Australia[41]
PF/C Nnanna Egwu 6'11" 250 Chicago, Illinois 2011–2015 Earth Friends Tokyo Z  Japan[42]
G/F Myke Henry 6'6" 230 Chicago, Illinois 2011–2013 Pallacanestro Trieste  Italy[43]
G Rayvonte Rice 6'5" 234 Champaign, Illinois 2013–2015 Soles de Mexicali  Mexico[44]
SG Jamar Smith 6'3" 185 Peoria, Illinois 2006–2007 BC UNICS  Russia[45]
SF Matic Vessel 6'9" 215 Ljubljana, Slovenia 2018 KK Škofja Loka  Slovenia[46]

Fighting Illini currently coaching[edit]

Name Years with
Current Team Position League
Dee Brown 2002–2006 Roosevelt Head coach CCAC (NAIA)
Chester Frazier 2005-2009 Illinois Assistant coach Big Ten Conference
Jerrance Howard 2000–2004 Kansas Assistant coach Big 12 Conference
Roger Powell 2001–2005 Gonzaga Assistant coach West Coast Conference
Brian Randle 2003–2008 Phoenix Suns Assistant coach NBA

Fighting Illini basketball media members[edit]

Name Years with
Media Outlet Role Current Team
Nick Anderson 1987–1989 Fox Sports Florida Commentator Orlando Magic
Stephen Bardo 1986–1990 Big Ten Network College Basketball Analyst Big Ten Conference
Kendall Gill 1986–1990 NBC Sports Chicago Commentator Chicago Bulls
Derek Harper 1980–1983 Fox Sports Southwest Color Commentator Dallas Mavericks
Eddie Johnson 1977–1981 Fox Sports Arizona Play-by-play Commentator Phoenix Suns
Deon Thomas 1991-1994 Fighting Illini Sports Network Color Commentator Fighting Illini Men's basketball

Illinois honored players[edit]

All-Century Team[edit]

In 2004, during the celebration of the program's 100th year of basketball as a varsity sport, the University of Illinois Division of Intercollegiate Athletics announced its All-Century Team. The 20-man team was selected after online voting by fans and the Illinois Basketball Centennial Committee. The honorees were feted during the Illinois Basketball Centennial Reunion Weekend, Jan. 28–30, 2005.[47]

Honored jerseys[edit]

The University of Illinois has honored its most decorated basketball players in school history by hanging a banner with their name and number from the rafters of State Farm Center. A total of 34 men's players have their jersey honored. To have his jersey honored, a player must have met one of the following criteria:

No. Player Pos. Career National POY National HOF US Olympian Big Ten POY Consensus All-American Illinois All-Century (voted 2004) Basketball Pioneer
1 Ray Woods G 1915–17 Green tickY         Green tickY  
2 Chuck Carney F 1920–22 Green tickY         Green tickY  
19 Bill Hapac F 1938–40         Green tickY    
47 Andy Phillip F 1942–43, 1947 Green tickY Green tickY   Green tickY   Green tickY  
25 Gene Vance G 1942–43, 1947           Green tickY  
14 Walt Kirk G 1942–43, 1947         Green tickY    
40 Dwight "Dike" Eddleman F 1947–49     Green tickY Green tickY   Green tickY  
33 Bill Erickson G 1947–50         Green tickY    
11 Don Sunderlage G 1949–51       Green tickY      
37 Rod Fletcher G 1950–52       Green tickY      
22 Johnny "Red" Kerr C 1952–54       Green tickY   Green tickY  
35 Govoner Vaughn F 1958–60             Green tickY
30 Mannie Jackson G 1958–60   Green tickY         Green tickY
23 Jerry Colangelo G 1960–62   Green tickY          
40 Dave Downey F 1961–63           Green tickY  
35 Duane "Skip" Thoren C 1963–65           Green tickY  
12 Tal Brody G 1963–65             Green tickY
15 Donnie Freeman F 1963–66         Green tickY  
24 Jim Dawson G 1965–67       Green tickY      
12 Nick Weatherspoon F 1971–73           Green tickY  
33 Eddie Johnson F 1978–81           Green tickY  
12 Derek Harper G 1981–83           Green tickY  
25 Bruce Douglas G 1983–86           Green tickY  
33 Ken Norman F 1985–87         Green tickY Green tickY  
33 Kenny Battle F 1988–89           Green tickY  
25 Nick Anderson F 1988–89           Green tickY  
13 Kendall Gill G 1987–90         Green tickY Green tickY  
25 Deon Thomas F/C 1991–94           Green tickY  
20 Frank Williams G 2000–02       Green tickY   Green tickY  
34 Brian Cook F 2000–03       Green tickY   Green tickY  
4 Luther Head G 2002–05         Green tickY    
5 Deron Williams G 2003–05     Green tickY   Green tickY    
11 Dee Brown G 2003–06 Green tickY     Green tickY Green tickY    
11 Ayo Dosunmu G 2019-21         Green tickY    

Dike Eddleman Award[edit]

The University of Illinois Athlete of the Year was first awarded in 1940. The award was annually given to a male student-athlete until it was discontinued in 1973. Revived in 1983, the University of Illinois now recognizes both male and female athletes who have distinguished themselves in athletic achievement. In 1993, the awards were named in honor of former Olympian Dwight "Dike" Eddleman, who participated in basketball, football and track and field in 1943 and 1946–49, earning a combined 11 varsity letters during that timeframe.[48] The following list includes Illini basketball players who earned the award.

Player Years played Year awarded
Bill Hapac 1937–1940 1940
John Drish 1937–1941 1941
Andy Phillip 1942–43, 1947 1942, 1943
Walton Kirk 1943–1947 1945
Dike Eddleman 1945–1949 1948, 1949
Don Sunderlage 1948–1951 1951
Clive Follmer 1950–1953 1953
Paul Judson 1953–1956 1955
Doug Mills 1959–1962 1962
Jim Dawson 1963–1967 1967
Dave Scholz 1966–1969 1968, 1969
Mike Price 1967–1970 1970
Kendall Gill 1986–1990 1990
Deron Williams 2002–2005 2005

Big Ten Medal of Honor[edit]

Since 1915, the Big Ten Medal of Honor has been awarded annually at each conference school to a male and female senior student-athlete who demonstrates proficiency in scholarship and athletics. The award has become the top annual award the University of Illinois Division of Intercollegiate Athletics bestows.[49] The following list includes Illini basketball players who earned the award.[50]

Player Years played Year awarded
Edward A. Williford 1913–1915 1915
Clyde Alwood 1914–1917 1917
John B. Felmley 1915-1920 1920
Otto Vogel 1920-1922 1923
Walter Roettger 1921–1925 1924
John Mauer 1922–1926 1926
Harry Combes 1935–1937 1937
William Hocking 1939–1942 1942
Donald Delaney 1943–1945 1942
Dike Eddleman 1945–1949 1949
Clive Follmer 1950–1953 1953
Dave Downey 1960–1963 1963
Bogie Redmon 1962–1965 1965
Jack Ingram 2003–2005 2005
Dee Brown 2003-2006 2006
Warren Carter 2003–2007 2007
Trent Meacham 2005-2009 2009
Brandon Paul 2009–2013 2013


NCAA Tournament seeding history[edit]

The NCAA began seeding the tournament with the 1979 edition.

Years → '1979-80 '81 '82 '83 '84 '85 '86 '87 '88 '89 '90 '91-2 '93 '94 '95 '96 '97 '98 '99 '00
Seeds → - 4 - 7 2 3 4 3 3 1 5 - 6 8 11 - 6 5 - 4
Coach → Henson Kruger
Years → '2001 '02 '03 '04 '05 '06 '07 '08 '09 '10 '11 '12 '13 '14-17 '18-19 '20 '21 '22 '23
Seeds → 1 4 4 5 1 4 12 - 5 - 9 - 7 - - x 1 4 9
Coach → Self Weber Groce Underwood

NCAA tournament results[edit]

The Fighting Illini have appeared in the NCAA tournament 33 times. Their combined record is 41–32.

Year Seed Round Opponent Results
1942 Elite Eight
Regional 3rd Place Game
Penn State
L 44–46
L 34–41
1949 Elite Eight
Final Four
National 3rd Place Game
Oregon State
W 71–67
L 47–76
W 57–53
1951 Sweet Sixteen
Elite Eight
Final Four
National 3rd Place Game
NC State
Oklahoma A&M
W 79–71
W 84–70
L 74–76
W 61–46
1952 Sweet Sixteen
Elite Eight
Final Four
National 3rd Place Game
St. John's
Santa Clara
W 80–61
W 74–68
L 59–61
W 67–64
1963 Sweet Sixteen
Elite Eight
Bowling Green
W 70–67
L 64–79
1981 #4 Second Round
Sweet Sixteen
#5 Wyoming
#8 Kansas State
W 67–65
L 52–57
1983 #7 First Round #10 Utah L 49–52
1984 #2 Second Round
Sweet Sixteen
Elite Eight
#7 Villanova
#3 Maryland
#1 Kentucky
W 64–56
W 72–70
L 51–54
1985 #3 First Round
Second Round
Sweet Sixteen
#14 Northeastern
#6 Georgia
#2 Georgia Tech
W 76–57
W 74–58
L 53–61
1986 #4 First Round
Second Round
#13 Fairfield
#5 Alabama
W 75–51
L 56–58
1987 #3 First Round #14 Austin Peay L 67–68
1988 #3 First Round
Second Round
#14 UTSA
#6 Villanova
W 81–72
L 63–66
1989 #1 First Round
Second Round
Sweet Sixteen
Elite Eight
Final Four
#16 McNeese State
#9 Ball State
#4 Louisville
#2 Syracuse
#3 Michigan
W 77–71
W 72–60
W 83–69
W 89–86
L 81–83
1990 #5 First Round #12 Dayton L 86–88
1993 #6 First Round
Second Round
#11 Long Beach State
#3 Vanderbilt
W 75–72
L 68–85
1994 #8 First Round #9 Georgetown L 77–84
1995 #11 First Round #6 Tulsa L 62–68
1997 #6 First Round
Second Round
#11 USC
#14 Chattanooga
W 90–77
L 63–75
1998 #5 First Round
Second Round
#12 South Alabama
#4 Maryland
W 64–51
L 61–67
2000 #4 First Round
Second Round
#13 Penn
#5 Florida
W 68–58
L 76–93
2001 #1 First Round
Second Round
Sweet Sixteen
Elite Eight
#16 Northwestern State
#9 Charlotte
#4 Kansas
#2 Arizona
W 96–54
W 79–61
W 80–64
L 81–87
2002 #4 First Round
Second Round
Sweet Sixteen
#13 San Diego State
#12 Creighton
#1 Kansas
W 93–64
W 72–60
L 69–73
2003 #4 First Round
Second Round
#13 WKU
#5 Notre Dame
W 65–60
L 60–68
2004 #5 First Round
Second Round
Sweet Sixteen
#12 Murray State
#4 Cincinnati
#1 Duke
W 72–53
W 92–68
L 62–72
2005 #1 First Round
Second Round
Sweet Sixteen
Elite Eight
Final Four
National Championship
#16 Fairleigh Dickinson
#9 Nevada
#12 Milwaukee
#3 Arizona
#4 Louisville
#1 North Carolina
W 67–55
W 71–59
W 77–63
W 90–89 OT
W 72–57
L 70–75
2006 #4 First Round
Second Round
#13 Air Force
#5 Washington
W 78–69
L 64–67
2007 #12 First Round #5 Virginia Tech L 52–54
2009 #5 First Round #12 WKU L 72–76
2011 #9 Second Round
Third Round
#1 Kansas
W 73–62
L 59–73
2013 #7 Second Round
Third Round
#10 Colorado
#2 Miami (FL)
W 57–49
L 59–63
2021 #1 First Round
Second Round
#16 Drexel
#8 Loyola–Chicago
W 78–49
L 58–71
2022 #4 First Round
Second Round
#13 Chattanooga
#5 Houston
W 54–53
L 53–68
2023 #9 First Round #8 Arkansas L 63–73

NIT results[edit]

The Fighting Illini have appeared in the National Invitation Tournament (NIT) seven times. Their combined record is 10–7.

Year Round Opponent Result
1980 First Round
Second Round
3rd Place Game
Illinois State
Murray State
W 105–87
W 75–65
W 65–63
L 63–65
W 84–74
1982 First Round
Second Round
LIU Brooklyn
W 126–78
L 58–61
1996 First Round Alabama L 69–72
2010 First Round
Second Round
Stony Brook
Kent State
W 76–66
W 75–58
L 71–77
2014 First Round
Second Round
Boston University
W 66–62
L 49–50
2015 First Round Alabama L 58–79
2017 First Round
Second Round
Boise State
W 82–57
W 71–56
L 58–68

Head-to-head Big Ten records[edit]

Team Total meetings Wins Losses Pct. Home record Road record Neutral record
Indiana 183 90 93 .492 54–34 30–57 6–2
Iowa 165 89 76 .539 64–17 23–56 2–3
Maryland 19 7 11 .333 2–4 1–6 4–2
Michigan 175 90 85 .514 57–28 31–52 2–5
Michigan State 123 60 63 .488 39–21 20–39 1–3
Minnesota 195 127 68 .651 74–19 47–48 6–1
Nebraska 27 19 8 .704 14–2 5–5 0–1
Northwestern 182 140 42 .769 71–14 64–28 5–0
Ohio State 187 108 80 .574 62–27 43–49 3–3
Penn State 49 30 19 .612 14–8 13–10 3–1
Purdue 193 90 103 .466 59–37 29–63 2–3
Rutgers 14 10 4 .714 6–0 3–3 2–0
Wisconsin 202 113 89 .559 69–28 41–58 3–3

Men's basketball records at Kenney Gym and Huff Hall[edit]

Season Wins Losses Win pct. Total attendance Season Wins Losses Win pct. Total attendance
1905–06 6 0 1.000 N/R 1925–26 6 3 0.667 N/R
1906–07 0 4 0.000 N/R 1926–27 8 3 0.727 61,590
1907–08 3 2 0.600 N/R 1927–28 3 5 0.375 48,202
1908–09 5 1 0.833 N/R 1928–29 8 3 0.727 30,139*
1909–10 3 2 0.600 N/R 1929–30 5 4 0.556 49,418*
1910–11 3 2 0.600 N/R 1930–31 7 3 0.700 52,440
1911–12 4 3 0.571 N/R 1931–32 8 2 0.800 57,000
1912–13 6 2 0.750 N/R 1932–33 8 3 0.727 34,500*
1913–14 5 2 0.714 N/R 1933–34 9 1 0.900 55,500
1914–15 9 0 1.000 N/R 1934–35 8 2 0.800 62,000
1915–16 6 1 0.857 16,644* 1935–36 7 3 0.700 78,028
1916–17 9 1 0.900 6,417* 1936–37 7 2 0.778 63,238
1917–18 7 1 0.875 5,066* 1937–38 7 2 0.778 63,600
1918–19 3 5 0.375 10,739 1938–39 9 1 0.900 57,933
1919–20 6 1 0.857 24,250* 1939–40 10 1 0.909 55,513
1920–21 6 4 0.600 34,875 1940–41 8 2 0.800 52,751
1921–22 10 2 0.833 40,112 1941–42 12 1 0.923 65,357
1922–23 6 3 0.667 8,424* 1942–43 10 0 1.000 62,648
1923–24 8 3 0.727 41,848 1943–44 6 4 0.600 29,812
1924–25 9 0 1.000 36,222 1944–45 7 3 0.700 44,951
Kenney Gym Totals 94 39 .707 224,597* 1945–46 11 2 0.846 66,553
Kenney Gym Facts 1946–47 10 1 0.909 77,808*
Fighting Illini played 20 years in Kenney Gym 1947–48 11 1 0.917 78,388
Attendance averaged 2,739 fans per game 1948–49 14 0 1.000 49,036*
Single game attendance record: January 24, 1925 vs. Iowa–4,725 1949–50 11 2 0.846 83,736
Hosted 3 Big Ten Champions (1915, 1917, 1924) 1950–51 12 1 0.923 75,116
Hosted 1 National Champion (1915) 1951–52 12 0 1.000 57,788*
Produced 6 All-Americans 1952–53 12 1 0.923 79,957*
Developed 2 National Players of the Year 1953–54 10 3 0.769 77,378
1954–55 9 2 0.818 64,721
Huff Hall Facts 1955–56 12 0 1.000 63,912
Fighting Illini played 38 years in Huff Hall 1956–57 9 2 0.818 68,448
Attendance averaged 7,025 fans per game 1957–58 10 3 0.769 76,032
Single game attendance record: February 22, 1937 vs. Wisconsin–9,000 1958–59 9 3 0.750 68,292
Hosted 8 Big Ten Champions (1935, 1937, 1942, 1943, 1949, 1951, 1952, 1963) 1959–60 10 2 0.833 74,719
Hosted 1 National Champion (1943) & 3 Final Four teams (1949, 1951, 1952) 1960–61 7 3 0.700 60,457
Produced 33 All-Americans 1961–62 8 4 0.667 75,376
Developed 1 National Player of the Year 1962–63** 9 0 1.000 61,025
Combined Totals 433 116 .789 2,507,959* Huff Hall Totals 339 77 .815 2,283,362*


  • *Denotes incomplete or partial records.
  • **Played 9 games at Huff Hall but played final 2 games at Assembly Hall.
  • (N/R) denotes no records[51]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign Visual Identity: Color". Retrieved November 13, 2022.
  2. ^ a b c Tate, Loren (January 22, 2012). "Harry Combes knew about offense". News-Gazette. Retrieved December 18, 2014.
  3. ^ "Three Illini Basketball Legends Join Honored Jerseys". University of Illinois Alumni Association. Retrieved December 18, 2014.
  4. ^ "If not Illinois, then who? - Illinois Fighting Illini Sports Men's Basketball News -". Archived from the original on July 13, 2011.
  5. ^ "FIGHTINGILLINI.COM - John Groce Bio". Archived from the original on June 25, 2013. Retrieved August 9, 2013.
  6. ^ "Archived copy" (PDF). Archived from the original (PDF) on March 4, 2016. Retrieved November 29, 2014.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  7. ^ "Illinois snags OSU's Underwood as new coach". March 18, 2017.
  8. ^ "Ubben Basketball Complex". University of Illinois Athletics. Retrieved March 2, 2022.
  9. ^ "Illini Basketball History" (PDF). Archived from the original (PDF) on December 22, 2014. Retrieved January 15, 2015.
  10. ^ "Illini Basketball Honors and Tradition" (PDF). Retrieved December 27, 2018.
  11. ^ "USA Basketball: THIRD PAN AMERICAN GAMES 1959". Archived from the original on July 29, 2014. Retrieved June 17, 2018.
  12. ^ "Usab: Sixth World Championship -- 1970". Archived from the original on October 11, 2014. Retrieved June 17, 2018.
  13. ^ "2011-12 Fighting Illini Men's Basketball Record Book". July 24, 2015.
  14. ^ "USA Basketball: TENTH WORLD UNIVERSITY GAMES -- 1979". Archived from the original on July 29, 2014. Retrieved June 17, 2018.
  15. ^ "Jens Kujawa | European Championship for Men (1993) | FIBA Europe".
  16. ^ "Jens Kujawa | European Championship for Men (1993) | FIBA Europe".
  17. ^ "Jens Kujawa | European Championship for Men (1993) | FIBA Europe".
  18. ^ "USA Basketball: NINETEENTH WORLD UNIVERSITY GAMES -- 1997". Archived from the original on January 30, 2017. Retrieved June 17, 2018.
  19. ^ "2011-12 Fighting Illini Men's Basketball Record Book". July 24, 2015.
  20. ^ "USA Basketball: TWENTIETH WORLD UNIVERSITY GAMES -- 1999". Archived from the original on March 4, 2016. Retrieved June 17, 2018.
  21. ^ "2011-12 Fighting Illini Men's Basketball Record Book". July 24, 2015.
  22. ^ "2011-12 Fighting Illini Men's Basketball Record Book". July 24, 2015.
  23. ^ a b "FOURTH JUNIOR WORLD CHAMPIONSHIP QUALIFYING TOURNAMENT -- 2002". Archived from the original on April 2, 2015.
  24. ^ "Seventh Fiba Men's Junior World Championship -- 2003". Archived from the original on September 7, 2015.
  25. ^ "Seventh Fiba Men's Junior World Championship -- 2003". Archived from the original on September 7, 2015.
  26. ^ "2017-18 ILL Record Book-6 Tradition" (PDF).
  27. ^ a b "Robert Archibald Player Profile, Toronto Raptors, NBA Stats, NCAA Stats, International Stats, Events Stats, Game Logs, Bests, Awards - RealGM".
  28. ^ "SEVENTH FIBA AMERICAS U18 CHAMPIONSHIP FOR MEN -- 2010". Archived from the original on April 6, 2015.
  29. ^ "Tenth Fiba Men's U19 World Championship – 2011". Archived from the original on April 6, 2015.
  30. ^ "Second Fiba Americas U16 Championship for Men -- 2011". Archived from the original on September 6, 2015.
  31. ^ "SECOND 2012 FIBA U17 WORLD CHAMPIONSHIP FOR MEN -- 2012". Archived from the original on September 7, 2015.
  32. ^[bare URL]
  33. ^ a b c "TUPPER: Feliz would be a good Illini fit". April 7, 2018.
  34. ^ "THIRD FIBA 3x3 WORLD CHAMPIONSHIP FOR MEN -- 2016". Archived from the original on November 7, 2017.
  35. ^ "USA Men's U18 Team Brings Home Gold, Downs Canada 113-74". Archived from the original on June 17, 2018.
  36. ^ Illinois basketball, Media guide (Summer 2018). "2018_19_ILLINI_MBB_Record_Book" (PDF). ILLINI MBB Media Guide: 148.
  37. ^ "All-Time JBC Alumni". Jordan Brand. 2018. Retrieved June 4, 2018.
  38. ^ "Boy's Alumni" (PDF). McDonald's. December 1, 2013. Archived from the original (PDF) on May 7, 2013. Retrieved January 9, 2015.
  39. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on April 22, 2010. Retrieved May 3, 2010.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  40. ^ "Leron Black Player Profile". EuroLeague Basketball. Retrieved December 27, 2018.
  41. ^ "Brian Carlwell Player Profile". LatinBasket. Retrieved July 21, 2016.
  42. ^ "Nnanna Egwu Player Profile". EuroBasket. Retrieved December 27, 2018.
  43. ^ "Myke Henry Player Profile". EuroBasket. Retrieved December 27, 2018.
  44. ^ "Rayvonte Rice Player Profile". EuroBasket. Retrieved December 27, 2018.
  45. ^ "Jamar Smith Player Profile". EuroBasket. Retrieved November 12, 2018.
  46. ^ "Matic Vessel Player Profile". EuroBasket. Retrieved December 27, 2018.
  47. ^ "University of Illinois Unveils Basketball All-Century Team - FIGHTINGILLINI.COM // THE OFFICIAL HOME OF UNIVERSITY OF ILLINOIS ATHLETICS". Archived from the original on June 9, 2011. Retrieved January 2, 2011.
  48. ^ Dike Eddleman AOTY Award
  49. ^ Big Ten Medal of Honor Award
  50. ^
  51. ^ Men's basketball all-time records Archived February 10, 2015, at the Wayback Machine

External links[edit]