The hometown of Terry Hawthorne (the Illini senior was profiled in Sunday's N-G) has produced more than its share of great athletes. Here is a list of the best, courtesy longtime Belleville News-Democrat reporter Norm Sanders. Maybe, someday, Hawthorne makes the cut:
1. Jackie Joyner-Kersee (Track) Joyner-Kersee is considered one of the top female athletes in history with six Olympic medals, including three golds (two in heptathlon, one in long jump). She still holds world heptathlon record; starred in track and field and women's basketball at Lincoln High and UCLA.
2. Jimmy Connors (Tennis) The fiery tennis star grew up in East St. Louis, winning a record 109 singles championships and eight Grand Slam titles along with two Grand Slam doubles titles. Connors won five U.S. Open titles and two Wimbledon singles crowns.
3. Kellen Winslow (Football) After not playing football until his senior year at East St. Louis, Winslow went on to star at Missouri and then was a first-round draft pick for the San Diego Chargers. The five-time Pro Bowl selection was elected to the Pro Football Hall of Fame with 541 catches, 6,741 yards and 45 touchdowns from 1979 to '87.
4. Eric Wright (Football) A four-time Super Bowl winner and two-time All-Pro selection for the San Francisco 49ers during a 10-year NFL career, Wright starred at Assumption High in East St. Louis and later Missouri. Wright made Mizzou's All-Century Team in 1990 and was a three-time All-Big Eight Conference pick before being drafted in the second round by the 49ers.
5. Al Joyner (Track) The brother of Jackie Joyner-Kersee starred in track at Lincoln High and Arkansas State before winning a gold medal in the triple jump at the 1984 Olympics.
6. Dawn Harper (Track) Harper was the 2008 Olympic gold medalist in the 100-meter hurdles at Beijing, then added a silver medal in the same event this week in London. Harper won six state track championships while at East St. Louis High before starring at UCLA.
7. LaPhonso Ellis (Basketball) A first-round NBA draft pick who also starred at Notre Dame, Ellis helped lead East St. Louis Lincoln to back-to-back state championships. He was a Parade Magazine and McDonald's High School All-American and the captain at Notre Dame. Ellis set a Notre Dame school record with 200 blocks and ranks third all time in rebounding and eighth in rebounding average. He was the fifth overall pick in the 1992 NBA draft by Denver and played in the NBA from 1992 to 2003, averaging 7.4 points and 4 rebounds.
8. Bryan Cox (Football) The former East St. Louis High standout played 12 seasons in the NFL and was a three-time Pro Bowl pick at linebacker with the Dolphins. He also won a Super Bowl title with the New England Patriots. An All-American linebacker at Western Illinois, Cox was a fifth-round pick by the Dolphins in 1991.
9. Hank Bauer (Baseball) A standout player for the New York Yankees, Bauer was a three-time All-Star and seven-time World Series champ from 1949 to '58. He played 14 seasons in the majors, hitting .277 with 164 home runs and 703 RBI. Bauer also managed the Baltimore Orioles to the 1966 World Series championship and spent eight years as a major-league manager.
10. Dana Howard (Football) Howard was part of some unbelievably talented teams at East St. Louis High, then went on to more success at Illinois, where he was a two-time All-American and won Dick Butkus and Jack Lambert awards as a senior linebacker. Howard still holds the school's career tackles record. He played two years in the NFL after being a fifth-round pick of the Dallas Cowboys.
11. Darius Miles (Basketball) Miles was the third overall pick in the NBA draft right out of high school after starring for East St. Louis, selected by the Los Angeles Clippers. Miles was a first-team All-Rookie pick in 2001 and played for four NBA teams from 2000 to '09. Slowed by a knee injury during the 2005-06 season, Miles averaged 10.1 points and 4.9 rebounds during his career.
12. Homer Bush (Baseball, Football) A high-school All-American at East St. Louis High, Bush turned down a football scholarship at Missouri to sign with the San Diego Padres as a seventh-round pick. He played in seven major-league seasons with the New York Yankees, Toronto Blue Jays and Florida Marlins. He helped the Yankees win the 1998 World Series championship.
13. Sam Jethroe (Baseball) The former Negro Leagues star also was the 1950 National League Rookie of the year with the Boston Braves.
14. Cuonzo Martin (Basketball) Martin helped Lincoln High win two state championships and another team placed third before starring at Purdue. Helped Purdue to back-to-back Big Ten titles and left there with a school-record 179 three-pointers. After an assistant coaching career at Purdue, Martin became the head coact at Missouri State and now is the head coach at Tennessee.
15. Shelby Jordan (Football) The 6-foot-7 Jordan starred at East St. Louis High and Division III Washington University in St. Louis, then played in the NFL from 1975 to '86 with New England and Oakland. He started 91 of 151 games and won a Super Bowl championship with the Raiders.
16. Kerry Glenn (Football) Glenn played seven seasons in the NFL with the New York Jets and Miami Dolphins as a cornerback. He had seven career interceptions, including four as a rookie with the Jets in 1985. Was a standout cornerback at Minnesota after starring at East St. Louis High.
17. Mike Magac (Football) The offensive guard from East St. Louis High starred at Missouri, then was a second-round pick of the San Francisco 49ers in 1960. He started 22 of 78 games in the NFL and played for the 49ers and Steelers.
18. Jerome Heavens (Football) Starred at Assumption High in East St. Louis and then played at Notre Dame, where he is the fourth-leading rusher (2,682 yards and 15 TDs) in school history. Heavens had the first 200-yard rushing game in Notre Dame history and was a captain of the 1978 Notre Dame team along with Joe Montana and Bob Golic.
19. Arthur Johnson (Boxing) Johnson competed on the 1988 U.S. Olympic team as a flyweight and became the first boxer in American history to win 12 national titles. Johnson also won a gold medal for the U.S. squad at the 1986 Goodwill Games in Russia and won four world titles as a professional boxer.
20. Tina Hutchinson (Women's Basketball) An incredible basketball talent at East St. Louis Lincoln High and San Diego State, Hutchinson once had a 41-point game against Cheryl Miller's eventual national championship USC squad. Hutchinson averaged 29.9 points per game as a freshman in 1983-84. She was Parade Magazine Girls High School Basketball National Player of the Year and USA Today All-American in 1983.