Jan. 22, 2009
DEKALB, Ill. -
Former Northern Illinois University hardwood icon T. J. Lux still has "it."
For the second straight year, the 6-foot-9, 230-pound All-Century Huskie pivot man was the No. 1 selection in Thursday's (January 22) player draft for the Ninth Annual NIU / Varsity Club Men's Basketball Cardinal and Black Alumni Game this Saturday (January 24) morning in the Convocation Center.
Lux---who returned to campus for the first time since October, 2000, and tallied 16 points in the Alumni Game last February---will perform for head coach Mike Korcek's Black squad. Renown as the "King of the Double Doubles" in his Northern Illinois playing days for head man Brian Hammel, Lux graduated with a school-record 1,996 points, 1,110 rebounds, and 59 point-rebound double doubles in his storied 116-game Huskie career (1995-2000).
As a freshman, No. 35 led the Huskies to a 20-10 record, the Midwestern Collegiate Conference Tournament championship, and the program's last NCAA Tournament bid.
A three-time CoSIDA Academic All-America selection and the national Academic All-America of the Year (1999-2000), Lux (Merrillville, IN) became the NIU program's first four-time, first-team Division I era all-league performer. Drafted by both the CBA and USBL in his final campaign, Lux played professionally in Germany and France the next six years.
This year's alum gathering initiates Saturday's Huskie Alumni Day festivities at the Convocation Center. The doors open at 9 a.m. (CST). The NIU Alumni Game tips off at 10 a.m. and features two running 20-minute halves.
Admission to the Alumni Game is free to the general public with tickets to the Northern Illinois-Central Michigan contest.
In the headline event, second-year head coach Ricardo Patton's Huskies play host to Mid-American Conference rival CMU in a 2 p.m. confrontation. Northern Illinois (6-10 / 2-2 in the MAC) comes off an impressive 72-52 victory over Eastern Michigan Tuesday (January 20).
Last year, the NIU Alumni Game resembled a vintage ABA clinic with a game-record 224 combined points, five players with 20 or more points, 10 double-digit scorers, 20 slam-dunks, and 25 three-point buckets. For the record, coach Bill Finucane's Cardinal unit prevailed over the Black team, 124-120, in overtime.
Former Northern Illinois frontcourt standout Marcus Smallwood (2000-04) topped all scorers with 30 points for the Cardinal. Forward-center Johnathan Byrd (2003-05) collected 27 points for the Black team.
Along with Lux, the 2009 Alumni Game RSVP rosters feature two other Huskie 1,000-point career scorers in center John Harris (1,245 points in 1975-79) and guard Donald Whiteside (1,155 in 1987-91). Several Northern Illinois Hall of Famers dot the guest list of alumni---who will be feted at halftime of the NIU-CMU game---including Roger Dutton (1963-66), Lew Flinn (1956-59), Whiteside, and Bobby Wood (1945-49).
NIU alums can still RSVP for the event by contacting Shelley Binegar in Athletics Development at (AC 815-753-1923).
The 2009 Northern Illinois Alumni Game rosters:
T. J. Lux (1995-2000)
Donald Whiteside (1987-91)
Jay Bates (2001-03)
Walter Thompson (2000-04)
Stacy Arrington (1987-91)
Jeremy Roach (1996-99)
Art Rohlman (1967-71)
Ike Johnson (1965-68)
Head Coach: Mike Korcek
Assistant Coach: Walt Owens
Andre Williams (1997-98)
Tori Hughes (1996-98)
Piffney Dukes (1997-99)
Shawn Thrower (1977-81)
Mike Hidden (1988-92)
John Harris (1975-79)
and Dave Pygon (1987-88)
Head Coach: Bill Finucane
Assistant Coach: Cliff Fulton
(For further information, please contact Mike Korcek, SID Emeritus (AC 815-753-9559)