Inductees One of a dozen Bradley basketball standouts to earn AII-American honors. Gene Melchiorre owns one of the most famous names in BU round ball history.
An early star at Ft. Sheridan at the end of World War II, he teamed with another BU great, Billy Mann, with the two moving on to Bradley for the 1947-48 season.
Over the next four seasons the Braves, coached first by A J. Robertson and then Forddy Anderson, won 119 games and lost just 22. It was the famed 1949-50 team that lost to CCNY in the title game of both the NIT and NCAA tournaments.
Standing just 5-foot-8, Melchiorre was both a top scorer (he still ranked ninth on the all-time BU list with 1,531 points at the time of his induction) and a brilliant passer.
He shot .404 from the field, firing at a .436 clip his sophomore season. He scored 71 points in the 1949 NIT (when BU finished fourth) and 44 in three games in 1950.
He was named to the Missouri Valley Conference first team three times and in his junior year made the all-NIT team and was a second team Helms and UPI All-American.
After his final season he was an Associated Press, United Press International and Colliers Magazine first team All-American and selected by the magazine, Sports Album, as one of the two best offensive players in the country.
Also a fine baseball player, Melchiorre played on the 1948 BU baseball team that was inducted into the Greater Peoria Sports Hall of Fame in 1996.
One of a dozen Bradley basketball standouts to earn AII-American honors. Gene Melchiorre owns one of the most famous names in BU round ball history.
Jim Custer was basketball and wrestling coach at tiny Durand High School in 1943 when Pekin High beckoned to him. His impact on the state wrestling scene followed quickly.