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Flyin' Illini Set to Reunite Saturday

Illinois '89 Final Four team to be honored at halftime Saturday


WMBD/WYZZ-TV - CHAMPAIGN, Ill. - John Gross remembers the Flyin' Illini.

He knows how important they were to Illinois hoops and college basketball as well. The hardest part for him is choosing a favorite player from the squad

"The thing that probably stood out right when you say that is some of (Kenny) Battle's dunks," said Groce. "You know those were unbeleivable. I'm jealous of good dunks because I've never dunked in my life."

 That team did alot of things few could match. Their above the rim style guided the Illini to 31 wins and a Final Four.

 Even though that season took place before the current Illini players were born, they are well aware of what they did.

"We heard great things about them," said Illini junior guard Rayvonte Rice. "They used to fly and throw alley-oops and stuff."

Senior guard Joe Bertrand added: "They were an awesome team. Probably fun to watch back then. My mom use to tell me about them and how fun they were to watch. I've seen a couple highlights and it woudl be great to get something like that this year."

It's the 25th anniversty of that team. They are back on comapus this weekend and will be honored at halftime of  Saturday's game against Penn State.

The Flyin' Illini will also spend time with the current Illini team at a reunion dinner.

"That is definitely an honor just to be around those guys that paved they way for us, and get a chance to eat, get a chance to talk, and learn from those guys," said guard Tracy Abrams.

Past meets present as the '89 team lives on helping to mark the way for the future orange and blue.


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