UI MBB proposal

UI sophomore track athlete Phillip Michael Hall proposes to his girlfriend Marissa Edwards at center court at halftime of the UI Nicholls State basketball game at State Farm Center in Champaign on Tuesday, Nov. 5, 2019.

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It could be argued the best player on the court at Tuesday’s Illini basketball opener was sophomore Phillip Michael Hall. And he runs track.

Hall’s exquisitely planned and deftly executed marriage proposal had State Farm Center rocking, social media buzzing and family, friends and — most important — girlfriend Marissa Edwards wiping away tears of joy.

“It call came together,” said Hall, 19, a former Danville High star.

On the court presumably to take part in a gift card promotion — where contestants are blindfolded — Marissa, 20, opened her eyes to a kneeling Hall, ring in hand. What followed was a “yes” and “our best hug ever,” Hall said.

Hall had organized the surprise weeks before with a helpful UI promotions department, which “randomly” selected Marissa from Section 216. After hesitating, she agreed to participate. “She was just nervous about the contest,” Hall said, “I’m really nervous.”

Whlle Marissa roamed the court, Hall exchanged his letterman’s jacket for a suit coat.

“The rest,” he said, “is history.”

Wedding day is June 19, and they could use financial help (call Hall at 217-597-5831 or email Mlainedwards@gmail.com).

“We’re both college kids, after all,” Hall said.

Popular college kids.

“I felt so loved,” Marissa said of the day-after reaction on campus.

“My prof put the picture (above) on the lecture board and the whole class clapped,” Hall said. “It was amazing.”