Teams, players and coaches have made lasting contributions to the first 100 years of Illinois College basketball, and that milestone will come into sharp focus during the coming seasons as the Blueboys prepare for the 2011-12 season.
The latest chapter in the College's long and colorful basketball history began with the appointment of Mike Worrell as head coach in 1996. Over the past 10 seasons, the IC men have climbed up the ladder in Midwest Conference play to the point where the team believes it can challenge for a place among the league's top tier. With a roster laden with underclassmen, the Blueboys qualified for the MWC post-season tournament in 1999 and, in the process, broke a streak of 20 straight non-winning seasons. Worrell's squad has continued to build upon that breakthrough campaign with total dedication and a commitment to playing an entertaining, up-tempo brand of basketball that commands the respect of opponents.
During the 2010-11 season, the Blueboys had a record of 16-8 and finished 2nd in the MWC. Jacob Tucker was named first team all-MWC, while Nathan Kohler was a second team selection, and Craig Bals earned Honorable Mention. The Blueboys finished third in the country in field goal percentage and was in the top 20 in scoring and three point percentage. In 2003, IC finished 15-11 and captured the MWC Tournament for the first time in school history. By winning the conference tournament IC participated in its first NCAA Division III National Tournament. In 2001, IC finished 14-10 and advanced to the MWC title game, narrowly missing the NCAA Tournament. They continued that success in 2002 by qualifying for the conference tournament for the third time in four years.
The Blueboys' 23-game schedule includes 18 games against MWC foes along with five non-conference contests. The Blueboys hit the road every year to play in a holiday tournament. Recently, the Blueboys have played in Hawaii, California (three times), Memphis (twice), and Phoenix. In 2011-12, IC travels to California again during Christmas break.
The IC skipper is a strong advocate of fundamental basketball, and he favors a game that emphasizes ball movement, good shot selection and air-tight defense. Those have become the trademarks of IC basketball in recent seasons, and Worrell hopes to celebrate the program's first 100 years by securing a place for his squad among the league's elite teams.