Willoughby Humbled By Hall of Fame Induction
AMES, Iowa - Dedric Willoughby is forever grateful for the opportunity to play basketball at Iowa State. Cyclone fans are just as grateful, too.
Willoughby came out of nowhere to lead a group of "vagabonds" to one of the most successful two-year periods (1995-96 and 1996-97) in the history of the program. The New Orleans, La., native was the deadly sharpshooter on a pair of Cyclone teams that won the final Big Eight Tournament title (1996) and advanced to the NCAA Sweet Sixteen (1997).
The Iowa State Athletics Department will give Willoughby his proper place in history by bestowing him with its highest honor. On Sept. 14, the two-time All-American will be among eight former Cyclone stars (Samuel Beyer, Carl Brettschneider, Kevin Darkus, Dmitry Drozdov, Andrew Parker, Diane Vetter, Gene Williams) inducted into the Iowa State Letterwinners Hall of Fame.
Last year, Willoughby attended the ISU Hall of Fame ceremonies in honor of his head coach, Tim Floyd, who was one of five inductees in the class of 2011. Willoughby will join his coach in the Hall of Fame in his first year of eligibility this weekend.
"I truly love Iowa State," Willoughby said. "I am indebted to this place and I love this place because it gave me an opportunity when I was on my last leg. Coming to Iowa State prepared me for my adult life and I could never repay this place for everything it has done for me."
Willoughby racked up impressive statistics in his two-year career at Iowa State after transferring from New Orleans. He ended his career as Iowa State's all-time leader in 3-pointers made in a game (9), season (102) and career (190). He still owns the season mark.
The deadeye was the Big Eight's Newcomer of the Year in 1996 and is one of 13 players in school history to earn first-team all-league honors multiple times.
More important than Willoughby's dazzling statistics, however, was his ability to win. In his two years in Ames, the Cyclones were 46-18 overall and 19-11 in league play. His two clutch free-throws in the closing seconds vs. Kansas sealed the 1996 Big Eight Tournament title for the Cyclones.
Willoughby, who is the only member of Iowa State's 1,000-point club to play just two seasons, is currently residing in Ames while finishing up his degree. Willoughby and the other inductees will be honored Saturday night at the Iowa State-Western Illinois football game.
It isn't too late to purchase tickets to the Hall of Fame banquet (Friday, Sept. 14) at the Gateway Hotel in Ames. A social hour begins at 5:30 p.m., followed by the dinner and ceremony at 6:30 p.m. To purchase tickets, contact Diane Shearer in the Iowa State Athletics Development office at 515-294-5072 or firstname.lastname@example.org. Deadline for purchase is Noon on Thursday (Sept. 13).
To watch an interview with Willoughby, click on the play button on the photo above.