Northern Illinois All-Century pick, Hall of Famer Allen Rayhorn tabbed for IBCA HoF induction

GO HUSKIES
GO HUSKIES

GO HUSKIES

January 13, 2004

NORTHERN ILLINOIS ALL-CENTURY PICK, HALL OF FAMER ALLEN RAYHORN TABBED FOR IBCA HOF INDUCTION

DeKALB, IL --- Northern Illinois University men’s basketball all-time great Allen Rayhorn will be enshrined into the Illinois Basketball Coaches Association Hall of Fame in ceremonies April 24 at Normal, IL.

Rayhorn (Rock City / Dakota) will be one of 20 players---along with teams, coaches, media, and friends of the game ---inducted into the IBCA Hall of Fame on Saturday night (April 24) in the Union Ballroom at Illinois State University. The Hall of Fame announcement was made by Chuck Rolinski, the executive director and treasurer of the IBCA.

Regarded as one of the school’s top Players of the Century, the 6-foot-9, 202-pound Rayhorn led the Huskies to their first National Collegiate Athletic Association Division I Tournament appearance in 1982. The Class A All-Stater from Dakota High School would eventually become the No. 1 career scorer at Northern Illinois and in the tradition-rich Mid-American Conference and then be selected in the National Basketball Association draft by the Seattle Supersonics.

His scoring (1,848 career points) and rebounding (1,077 career boards) numbers put him in the company of the MAC’s hardwood elite---including greats such as Wally Szczerbiak, Howard Komives, Hal Greer, Nate Thurmond, Bonzi Wells, Dan Majarle, Grant Long, Wayne Embry, Steve Mix, Gary Trent, Ron Harper, Al Bianchi, etc. Upon his graduation, only two Mid-Am players had more rebounds---Thurmond (1,925) and Embry (1,117)---than “The Horn.”

“Allen didn’t come in here with any great fanfare,” said Hall of Fame Northern Illinois head coach John McDougal, who was inducted into the IBCA Hall of Fame in 1974, “but he established himself as one of the premier players in the history of NIU and the MAC.”

Indeed, Rayhorn is currently one of only 14 players in the 57-year history of the Mid-Am to collect 1,000-point and 1,000-rebound career statistics. He was the league’s initial Freshman of the Year (1978-79) and first three-time All-MAC Postseason Tournament performer (1980-82). “Horn” was named First-Team All-MAC three seasons (1980-82) and Mid-Am Tourney Most Valuable Player (1982). At NIU, Rayhorn became the program’s first three-time team MVP during its major-college tenure.

Over the years, the legacy grew. Rayhorn was inducted into the Northern Illinois Athletics Hall of Fame (1990), plus named All-Decade and Player of the Decade (1990), selected on the All-Time Chick Evans Field House Team (1997), and tabbed on the All-Century Team in conjunction with the program’s Centennial anniversary celebration (1999).

As a senior, Rayhorn made Honorable Mention Associated Press All-America and Honorable Mention Basketball Weekly All-Mideast on the 16-14 Huskie quintet that lost to Kansas State in the NCAA Tournament. In the three Mid-Am Postseason Tourney games that led to the NCAA berth, “Horn” averaged 20.3 points and 9.0 rebounds per game, plus shot .710 from the floor (22-of-31) and .810 from the free throw line (17-of-21) in that span.

Career-wise, Rayhorn started a school-record 103 times in 115 consecutive career appearances, produced 57 career point-rebound “double doubles”, rejected an NIU-record 199 opposition shots, and dunked 47 times. “Horn” graduated with at least 16 Northern Illinois records---including an impressive career .556 (640-of-1,151) field-goal percentage. Interesting enough, Rayhorn managed 16.1 ppg. and 9.4 rbpg. career averages---on only 10 shots per game. He scored a single-game career-high 37 points vs. Toledo as a junior.

A seventh-round draft pick by Seattle, Rayhorn lasted in the NBA camp until the final cut with a frontcourt that featured all-stars such as Jack Sikma and Lonnie Shelton. “Horn” also played for the Rockford Lightning in the Continental Basketball Association. As a prep, he was a three-time Dakota cage MVP, a two-time First-Team Northwestern Conference pick and league MVP. Rayhorn led the Indians to a 27-3 season, a Class A Elite Eight berth, and a legue championship by averaging 23.1 ppg. and 15.2 rbpg. in 1977-78 for head coach Clair Miller. He made the All-Durand Holiday Tournament, All-Area, Honorable Mention All-State squads, and performed in the 1978 IBCA All-Star Game.

“I saw two things that piqued my interest in him,” said ex-Huskie assistant coach Mark Coomes, who recruited Rayhorn and is now an assistant at Illinois-Chicago. “No. 1, Allen had an amazing shooting touch for a big man and, No. 2, he had great timing on reboundng and blocking shots. He brought intensity every night. In any era of MAC basketball, he’d be a great big man.”

Rayhorn is the fifth player from that 1981-82 Northern Illinois squad in the IBCA Hall of Fame “players wing”---along with Tim “The Marshal” Dillon, Jon Collins, current NIU assistant coach Carl Armato, and transfer Brad Waller who sat out that winter, but practiced with that group.
“The honor is long overdue,” Waller said about Rayhorn. “One of Allen’s attributes that stands out in my mind was how he could play behind a guy on defense in the post and still block his shot. A lot of times, you try to deny or front the post man, and he still had the uncanny ability to block those shots. Allen had a great (shooting) touch. And there wasn’t a tougher competitor around.”

Armato called Rayhorn “...the best I ever played with. Allen was unselfish to a fault. His shot was almost impossible to block. He had exceptionally long arms and with the full extension, it was like he was 7-foot-2 instead of the 6-9. Being a farm kid, he was stronger than he looked. Above all, Allen had great instincts, great heart, and knew the fundamentals of the game. Could he play in today’s game? Oh, yes, he’d be a 40-minute player.”

Recent Northern Illinois player inductees into the IBCA Hall of Fame include Kenny Battle (1996), Tim Bryant 1998), Jim Smith (2000), Billy Harris (2002), Brian Molis (2002), and Donald Whiteside (2003). Tickets for the IBCA HOF induction banquet cost $25 apiece and can be purchased by contacting Rolinski’s office at (AC 815) 452-2903. Reservations must be made by April 1.

(For further information, please contact Mike Korcek) -NIU-