Under HOF coach Bob Knight at Indiana University, Risley was a member of the 1979 NIT, 1980 Big Ten, and 1981 NCAA champion teams. When I say a member, I say he played a key role. He scored 5 points in the 1981 National Championship game and helped guard James Worthy and Sam Perkins. Yes, Risley was just a role player, but with Knight as the head coach, the Hoosiers won largely because of role players. The Hoosiers had many talented players that did what was best for the team so Indiana could win. Many Hoosiers like Risley could have been stars at other big-time programs, but they chose to stay at home and become a part of something bigger than themselves. Steve Risley is on this list representing all of those players.
Hillman had a limited role as a freshman, averaging 7 minutes and 1.5 points per game. Knight chose to redshirt him for the 1985-86 season, but Hillman returned for the 1986-87 season as Indiana’s third guard, earning 13 minutes per game backing up starters Steve Alford and Keith Smart. That year, Indiana won the NCAA title against Syracuse, with Hillman contributing six assists – tied for a team-high!
Robinson was a three-year starter and two-time assist leader for Indiana (1982-86) under Bob Knight, helping the Hoosiers reach three NCAA Tournaments, including two Sweet 16 berths. Additionally, he was part of Indiana’s 1982-83 Big Ten Conference championship team. Throughout Robinson’s career, he scored 630 points while dishing out 391 assists.
Isiah was not the only Thomas to help the Hoosiers win it all in 1981.
Thomas played college basketball at Indiana University from 1979-1983. While playing for head coach Bobby Knight at Indiana, he earned a place on the 1981 national championship team. He made the 1981 Final Four All-Tournament Team after grabbing nine rebounds off the bench in place of foul-plagued starter Ted Kitchel during their 63-50 title game win against North Carolina.
Thomas also played a big part in the semi-final win over LSU.
Throughout his three-year career, Ritter’s point production increased each year, averaging 6.8 points per game his first year, 14 in year two and 14.7 in his final season. After losing in the NIT in 1972, Indiana rebounded and won the Big Ten before reaching the Final Four of the NCAA tournament in 1973 – only to lose to UCLA, who went on to win their seventh consecutive national title.
Greg Graham, was a fine shooting guard who averaged 16.5 points per game as a Hoosier, was at his best when defending. Graham’s 151 career steals show that he was one of the greatest defensive guards in Hoosier history.
Graham was a first-round draft pick in the NBA draft and played five sub-par seasons in the NBA as a backup. He never averaged more than five points per season while playing for the Sixers, Sonics, Nets and Cavs.
Marv Huffman, one of two All-Americans and the only senior on Indiana’s first national champions in 1940, provided backcourt scoring to compliment Bill Menke’s inside game.
Huffman’s 12 points in the title-game victory over Kansas earned him the second-ever Final Four MVP award.
The NBA was still years away when Huffman graduated. One professional season was played with Akron in the National Basketball League. This was one of the precursors of the NBA.
Dean Garrett was a 6’10” tall center, averaging 16.1 points per game and 8.5 rebounds per season as a senior. But his true calling was blocking shots.
He had the best single-season averages (including a record of 3.4 rejections per night) and hit 192 shots in his two years as a Hoosier.
Garrett, a Suns second-round draft pick, chose to travel to Europe. At the age of 30, he returned to the States as a Timberwolves player, playing five seasons in the NBA.
Jon McGlocklin, a valued swingman at IU, was overshadowed by the Van Arsdale twins’ brilliance. As a senior, he made 90 per cent of his free throws and finished with 827 career points.
McGlocklin, at his best, was a skilled NBA scorer and averaged 19.6 points per game for the Bucks. As the culmination of an 11-year professional career, McGlocklin won a title in Milwaukee in 1971.
Quinn Buckner received most of the praises in the mid-70s, but Bobby Wilkerson was a big part of Indiana’s imposing defense for the 1976 undefeated national champions. Wilkerson, 6’6″, also had 171 assists for the team that year.
Wilkerson’s strong defense was a great asset in the NBA, where he averaged 1.3 steals per game over his entire career. He averaged 10.1 points per game over seven seasons, including time with the Bulls, Nuggets Cavs, Cavs, and Bulls.
If you enjoy hearing from the legends of pro sports, then be sure to tune into “The Grueling Truth” sports shows, “Where the legends speak”
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