Champaign, Illinois – The enemies of the Big Ten found it nearly impossible to maintain lasting productivity Ken Norman Quiet during his playing days, but calling from Josh Whitman He informed him of his induction into the Illinois Athletics Hall of Fame with the assignment.
“I really paused and didn’t know what to say when I first got the call. So impressed, super honored,” Norman said Friday. “It kind of brought me back to the time I actually signed up to come to Illinois. Just a wonderful experience and a moment in my life.”
The brilliant Eleni basketball player is one of 15 inductees into the 2022 Class of Hall of Fame, who were honored at the State Farm Center Friday night during the induction ceremony. The Snake had family, friends, and former colleagues on hand to join the celebration.
This is the latest addition to Norman’s impressive list of accomplishments. The 6-foot-8 forward averaged 20 points and 10 rebounds per game for Team Illini in 1986-87, while the team was named the second unanimous All-American. Norman was a first-round pick by the Los Angeles Clippers in ’87. He went on to play 11 seasons in the NBA – for a total of more than 8,700 career points and nearly 4,000 rebounds.
Norman was named to the Illini All-Century Basketball Team in 2005 and his jersey went to the rafters at State Farm Center in 2008. It was the last time Norman was on campus before Hall of Fame Weekend.
‘I was very happy, beaming and honored,’ said he, ‘when they lifted my shirt over the rafters.’ “You play sports and dream about getting a college scholarship, being an all-American college, playing professionally, hoisting your jersey and making the Hall of Fame. Obviously it’s not the NBA Hall of Fame, but it’s the University of Illinois Hall of Fame. And it’s really an honor to show that my work Hard work has paid off. Not only as an athlete, but also in the class.”
The ’80s was a brilliant decade for Illini basketball with eight NCAA appearances (seven times out of 4 ratings or better), a trip to the Final Four and a number of NBA draft picks. Norman joined the likes Eddie JohnsonAnd the Derek HarperAnd the Nick Anderson And the Kendall Gil Long-serving NBA players who would fit in with the Illini team during that era.
“It was always fun to see the players (in the NBA). We can share some stories. Some of the stories we always shared were about Coach Henson movie sessions. It was something we always talked about,” Norman said. “It was always good to see These guys and compete against them and share some stories even while the game goes on. We might say, “Oh, you know Coach Henson is going to take you outside for that spin, etc., and so on.” I remember my first NBA game against Eddie Johnsonignited me for 53. I will never forget that night and he still tells me about it.”
Norman ignited a lot of opponents in his own right. But after hanging up his sneakers in 1997, he enjoyed his time away from basketball. Norman, who is based in Las Vegas, loves his daily routine of hopping in the pool, doing some yard work and taking an “old man’s nap.”
It gave Norman some mental solace for being disconnected from the world of sports. However, he has been flipping a few Illini games in recent years and plans to be present at any time. Brad UnderwoodHis team plays in Vegas in November at the Continental Tire Main Event.
After two years down the road, Norman hopes to have one more reason to watch Eleni’s games. He noted that he has three grandchildren who participate in sports in Chicago, including Fenwick student Nate Marshall.
“You remember that name, it’s going to be a monster,” Norman said. “Football and basketball. He will be in the building (on Friday).”
Marshall made a recruiting visit to Notre Dame earlier this month. Norman said his grandson was in Illinois recently on a recruiting visit as well.
“For my grandchildren to be active in sports, it means the world to me,” Norman said. “He loves this school. He always has it. Of course, I’m going to push him to come here. Not just because I went here, but because it has so much to offer. It’s one of the finest institutions in the country. Hopefully it’s orange and blue.”
Norman knows what that time in Illinois meant for his life.
“It was a stepping stone for me to learn how to become a man and what it takes to be successful and stay successful,” he said. “She taught me how to become a father and raise my children the right way. How to become an entrepreneur and just be a positive person in life. It has helped me enable me to help my mom financially, help my brother, my sister, give my children a great life, and show them what it is like to go to school high school, going to college, doing the right things in life.”