Redbirds Say Farewell to Seniors at 2009 Celebration
April 7, 2009
NORMAL, Ill. - A celebration of Illinois State's 111th season of men's basketball was attended by 700 fans Tuesday night at Redbird Arena, as the voice of the Redbird Radio Network, Dick Luedke, emceed the event which featured farewell speeches by all four Redbird seniors, along with the presentation of six annual awards.
The Redbirds advanced to their second-straight National Invitation Tournament after advancing to their second-straight Valley Tournament title game. ISU posted a 24-10 mark on the season and finished 11-7 in the Valley, for third place.
After comments from ISU Director of Athletics Dr. Sheahon Zenger, Redbird head basketball coach Tim Jankovich recapped the postseason run by the Redbirds. As Jankovich was announced the patrons in attendance were reminded of the facts that ISU's 49 wins in a two-year period ties the school record and that no other team in the Missouri Valley Conference has won more overall games, more league games or more Valley Tournament games over the last two seasons than Illinois State.
For the second-straight season, Osiris Eldridge was named the team's Doug Collins Most Valuable Player. Eldridge was a first-team All-Valley selection for the second-straight season and was named to the league's all-defensive team. After averaging 14 points and 6.2 rebounds per game, Eldridge was also named the 2009 State Farm Missouri Valley Conference Tournament Most Outstanding Player after his electric three-day display in St. Louis.
The Redbird Award, given annually to a player that demonstrates leadership, heart, effort and attitude, was given to Holloway, while the Most Outstanding Rebounding Award was presented to Dinma Odiakosa. The junior forward totaled 256 rebounds on the season which was the best individual total in Redbird basketball history in over 20 years. He also led the conference in offensive rebounds with 101.
The Most Outstanding Free Throw Award was presented to Oguchi, who shot 81.9 percent from the free throw line, while leading the Redbirds in scoring this season with 15.2 points per game. The Most Outstanding Assist Award was awarded to Lloyd Phillips, who led the team with 112 assists, while averaging 10.6 points per game.
The Most Outstanding Three-Point Shooting Award was shared by Oguchi and Holtz. Oguchi fired in 90 three-point field goals this season for the Redbirds, while Holtz was known for his three-point fire power throughout his ISU career.
The final award was the Most Improved Player Award and it was earned by Sampay. The senior forward averaged 7.2 points and 5.5 rebounds for the Redbirds this season and was also named to the Valley's All-Bench Team.