ST. LOUIS, Mo. — One of only two players to score more than 2,000 points in school history, Southern Illinois men’s basketball player Kent Williams will be enshrined in the Missouri Valley Conference Hall of Fame during an induction ceremony in St. Louis on Friday, March, 8 2019.
The 22nd MVC Hall of Fame class features three basketball student-athletes in Williams, Kristi Cirone (Illinois State); Dolph Pulliam (Drake); a wrestling Olympian in Bill Smith (UNI); a legendary track & field coach in John McNichols (Indiana State); and a long-time contributor to Bradley University athletics in Joe Stowell.
The league will conduct its annual Hall of Fame ceremony as part the State Farm Missouri Valley Conference Men’s Basketball Championship next March 7-10. The March 8 festivities will begin with an 8:00 a.m. breakfast, followed by the induction ceremony at 8:30 a.m.
Tickets to the 2019 Hall of Fame event – scheduled to be held at Stifel Theatre (formerly known as the Peabody Opera House), which is adjacent to Enterprise Center (formerly known as Scottrade Center) – can be obtained by calling the league office at (314) 444-4300. Tickets are available on a first-come, first-served basis.
“The Missouri Valley Conference has always been recognized for the great success of its athletics programs, with a rich history that dates back more than a century,” said Commissioner Doug Elgin. “Our MVC Hall of Fame has provided us with an opportunity to honor the student-athletes, coaches, administrators and contributors who have played important roles in the Conference and in intercollegiate athletics.
“The individuals we will be honoring in the Class of 2019 have brought significant honor to themselves, their institutions and to the Conference. We are truly humbled to have this opportunity to salute them for their achievements.”
A 2003 SIU grad, Williams scored 2,012 points at Southern from 1999 to 2003, making him the Salukis’ second-leading scorer all-time behind Charlie Vaughn. Williams is the only player in SIU history to lead the team in scoring four straight years, helping his team to the NCAA Tournament 2002 and 2003, including a run to the NCAA Sweet Sixteen in 2002.
The Mt. Vernon, Ill., native, who is also the career scoring leader at his high school, was inducted into the SIU Athletic Hall of Fame in 2009. Williams was a first-team All-MVC (2002, 2003), and second-team Team All-MVC (2001) selection while earning MVC Newcomer of the Year and Freshman of the Year (2000). A four year starter, the Salukis went 88-42 during his career which included an NIT appearance (2000) in addition to the two NCAA berths.
As a senior in 2003, he was runner-up to Creighton’s Kyle Korver for the Larry Bird Trophy, awarded to the top men’s basketball player. Other honors for Williams include back-to-back selection to the MVC Scholar-Athlete Team (2002, 2003), an MVC All-Tournament selection (2002) and a four-time MVC Player-of-the-Week recipient. He was the first-ever repeat winner of the league’s Scholar-Athlete of the Year honor (2002, 2003).
In addition to ranking second on the all-time SIU scoring chart, he is second in career 3-pointers made with 249, sixth in career 3-point percentage at .392, second in career free throws made with 479, eighth in career assists with 352, tops in career games started with 130 and the school’s record holder for most career minutes played.
Williams is currently the varsity men’s basketball coach at De Smet Jesuit High in St. Louis. Prior to that, he had served as an assistant at SIUE, Tennessee, Missouri State and as a supervisor of basketball operations at Purdue.
This story originally appeared on SIUSalukis.com