No. 9 Skip Thoren
Some of the players on this list are from a half-century ago, but it is good to never forget the impact these players had on the game. Skip Thoren was a legend in the state of Illinois and for the Illini.
Coming out of Rockford East High School in Illinois, Thoren was one of the best basketball players in the country. He was a Parade All-American in high school, and he would then take his talents to Champaign to play for the Orange and Blue.
With the Illini, Thoren would dominate the Big Ten. He would average 22.2 points and 14.5 rebounds per game in his final season. After his time with the Illini, Thoren would head to the professional ranks where he was drafted by the Baltimore Bullets in the fourth round of the 1965 NBA Draft.
Thoren decided to head to Italy to play professionally, though. He spent one season in Italy and won the European Cup and was the MVP of the European Cup tournament.
After his one season in Italy, Thoren would then come back to the mainland and play for the Minnesota Muskies for one season and the Miami Floridians for two seasons in the ABA. He would average 13.2 points, 11.0 rebounds, and 1.9 assists in his three seasons. He also made the ABA All-Star game in 1969.
If it wasn’t for a bad knee injury that required multiple surgeries, Thoren would have had a great career in the professional ranks. Even in the short time he spent playing professional basketball, he still made an impact and was one of the best players in the world.
While it was a short career, it was an impactful one for Thoren. He was a great player with an All-Star to his name. That is why I have to put him No. 9 on this list.