Southern Illinois basketball fans will have a rare opportunity to hear anecdotes and perspectives on the sport from former NBA star and Doug Collins when he serves as guest speaker at the July 10 fundraiser for the Illinois High School Basketball Hall of Fame and Museum.
The dinner is set for 7 p.m. July 1, at the Rend Lake Resort and Conference Center within Wayne Fitzgerrell State Park, near Interstate 57 about 20 miles south of Mount Vernon. Social hour begins at 6 p.m.; tickets are $40 each or $280 for a table of eight.
The Benton native and former Illinois State University star was a first-team All-American in college and served as captain of the 1972 USA Basketball Olympic team.
He was the first overall pick in the 1973 draft by the Philadelphia 76ers and was a four-time NBA All-Star as a player in a career that spanned from 1973-81. His coaching career included stints with Chicago, Detroit, Washington and Philadelphia before he moved on to another successful career as an NBA television analyst for ESPN, TNT and NBC.
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The Illinois State basketball court at Redbird Arena in Normal is named the Doug Collins Court and Collins and his ISU coach, Will Robinson, are immortalized in statues outside the arena.
Collins’ son, Chris Collins, a former “Mr. Basketball” in Illinois and a Duke University player/associate head coach, is now the head coach at Northwestern University.
The dinner includes a live auction featuring sports-related items and memorabilia, including basketball-ticket packages to the Missouri Valley Conference Tournament, a Duke University game in seats directly behind the Blue Devils’ bench, ISU and Chicago Bulls’ game and the Missouri-Illinois Braggin’ Rights game in St. Louis.
Dinner tickets can be ordered from the Hall of Fame’s executive director, Dick Corn, by calling 618-357-5205, or via e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org. Corn was one of the winningest basketball coaches in Illinois high school history during a long tenure at Pinckneyville that included two state titles.
He and Collins were teammates at Benton High School under coach Rich Herrin.
Corn, Collins, Illinois Sen. Dave Luechefeld, former Collinsville star Bogie Redmon, former Belleville Township High and St. Louis University star Joe Wiley and former major league pitcher Kirk Rueter are among the group that has been instrumental in making the Illinois High Basketball Hall of Fame and Museum a reality. It will be located on the historic courthouse square in Pinckneyville.
Since 2011, the Hall of Fame has annually inducted former male and female Illinois high school basketball greats at a fall dinner/ceremony. For more information about the Hall of Fame, visit http://illinoishoops.org/.