Odiakosa Named First Collie Scholarship Recipient
June 9, 2008
NORMAL, Ill. - Dinma Odiakosa enjoyed a sophomore campaign that saw him record career highs in every statistical category, and Redbird fans witnessed first-hand the continual, game-by-game improvement of ISU's young power forward in his first full season as a starter. Odiakosa's impact on the Redbirds' record-setting 2007-08 season, coupled with his 3.09 cumulative grade-point-average, made him a natural selection as the first-ever recipient of the James Collie Endowed Scholarship.
The Collie scholarship will be presented annually to a junior or senior ISU men's basketball player, who carries a 2.5 grade-point average (GPA) or higher. Odiakosa, entering his fourth year in the telecommunications management program at Illinois State, has a 3.09 GPA in 93 completed credit hours, including a 16-credit hour schedule during the 2008 spring semester.
"Dinma (Odiakosa) has been an absolute pleasure to coach in my time at Illinois State," said head coach Tim Jankovich. "He is an extremely hard worker, and a quick learner, both in practices and while making in-game adjustments. Dinma continued to improve each time he took the court, and he was a large part of our success last season. He has worked very hard both on his individual game and in the classroom. Dinma has a bright future in both basketball and in life, and I think the sky is the limit for him."
Odiakosa started 34 of Illinois State's 35 games last season. He came off the bench in the Redbirds' 68-54 win over Creighton Feb. 27, insisting that senior Levi Dyer start his final regular season game at Redbird Arena. Odiakosa recorded eight double-digit scoring efforts, including one in each of the Redbirds' two home National Invitation Tournament (NIT) contests, where he averaged 12.5 points per game. Odiakosa also averaged 5.5 rebounds per game, and shot 57 percent (98-of-172) from the field.
"It is a great honor and privilege to be associated with coach (James) Collie's name," said Odiakosa. "It is definitely challenging to find a balance between being a student and an athlete, and you really have to be determined to work hard both on and off the court. My studies are something I take great pride in, and I am grateful to have been given the opportunity to focus on both academics and basketball at Illinois State the past three years."
Widely known as "Gentlemen Jim," Collie passed away May 1, 2006. He still ranks No. 2 in Illinois State men's basketball history with 209 coaching victories, while leading the Redbirds from 1958-70.
One of Collie's former assistant coaches, Dale Cruise, along with two former players, Gene Jontry and Bob Rush, were instrumental in the process of establishing the scholarship and raising the funds. The outpouring of support is a tribute to the late Redbird basketball coach, as the scholarship reached the $20,000 level to become endowed. Over 77 individuals donated to the scholarship fund, including 10 who contributed to both of the mail solicitations. The fund will remain open for future contributions until it reaches the fully-funded status of $100,000.
Collie arrived at Illinois State in 1957, after coaching stops at Friends University in Wichita, Kan., and McKendree College in Lebanon, Ill. He inherited a program that had seldom finished a season above .500 since World War II ended, but his high-speed offense generated a quick turnaround. In just his second season (1958-59), Collie led the Redbirds to a then-school-record 24 wins, an NAIA District Championship and recognition as the Illinois Coach of the Year.
As victories mounted, fan support increased, and the Redbirds moved from McCormick Gym to Horton Field House in the mid-1960s. Collie's coaching success reached new heights, as the 1966-67 team finished fourth in the NCAA College Division (now Division II) Tournament. With star players like Jerry McGreal, Steve Arends and George Terry returning, the 1967-68 team went 25-3, ranked No. 3 in the nation, but was upset early in the NCAA Tournament.
Collie was inducted into the ISU Athletics Hall of Fame in 1976.
Individuals interested in contributing to the Collie endowed scholarship should contact the Illinois State Athletics Development Office at 309/438-3803.