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Dick Butkus to become the inaugural inductee to the Illini HOF

Regular visitors to know that we are methodically working on our Top 50 players of all time for each major North American Franchise.  Eventually, this will lead to how each team recognizes their past players/executives in respective Halls of Fame, Retired Numbers, Rings of Honor, etc…

What will we eventually get to is the major Universities and their respective Halls of Fame.

As such, it is news to us that the University of Illinois has finally decided to have an Athletic Hall of Fame and that former defensive football standout, Dick Butkus, will be the inaugural inductee.

Born in Chicago, Butkus played for the Fighting Illini from 1962 to 1964 playing both Center and Linebacker.  He would become a two time All-American (1963 & 1964) and would win the Knute Rockne Award in both of those years.  His other accolades include winning the Big Ten Player f the Year and a sixth place finish in Heisman Trophy balloting.

For his contributions to the College Game, he was inducted into the College Football Hall of Fame in 1983 and the Butkus Award is given annually to the top Linebacker in College.  His number was also retired by the University of Illinois.

While Butkus was named the inaugural inductee it was mentioned by the University that there will be more chosen for the first class, however no concrete number was given.

The official ceremony will be on September 29-30, the weekend where the Illini will host the Nebraska Cornhuskers in the Big 10 Home Opener. 

We here at would like to congratulate both the University of Illinois and Dick Butkus at this time.

97. Derek Harper

Derek Harper was the partner in crime and backcourt mate of Rolando Blackman for almost a decade in Dallas.  Ironically the closest they ever came to a title is when they were both traded to the Knicks and they came within one game of winning the championship in 1994.  Harper was one of the best all around point guards of his era as he was a great defender who had size and quickness and could both score and distribute.  Harper is widely regarded as one of the best players to never make an All-Star game and when he retired he was 11th in steals and 17th in assists in NBA history.  1,200 regular season games and over 16,000 points don’t hurt his argument either.  Is a solid and consistent career with good overall stats enough to get him in?

99. Eddie Johnson

A great shooter throughout his long career, Johnson scored more points (over 19,000) of any player never to make an All-Star game.  Please do not confuse him with Fast Eddie Johnson, the point guard and a criminal who is incarcerated for life in Florida for many crimes. This Eddie is the real deal and a great player who was clutch throughout his career and had the smoothest jump shot this side of Silk Wilkes.
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