A new shrine to Illinois’ basketball history is in the works. The Basketball Museum of Illinois is set to open next year in Pontiac, showcasing the history of the game in Illinois from the junior high, high school, college, and professional levels. Bruce Firchau, the museum committee chairman for the Illinois Basketball Coaches Association, says one particular focus will be the great teams from smaller towns around the state.
“There are a lot of small communities, their town was put on the map by the boys’ basketball teams in the early 1900s, and later, when the girls started playing, the girls’ teams,” Firchau said.
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While the museum won’t be open until June 2016, Firchau says they’ve already amassed a collection of memorabilia, from pictures of high school teams dating to 1906 to films of boys’ basketball state championship games from as far back as 1947.
College basketball in the state will also be featured, with Firchau mentioning the 1963 national championship won by Loyola and the Lou Henson era at the University of Illinois as areas they’ll want to spotlight.