Tri-County Youth Sports Grant
Tri-County Youth Sports Grant Winners
Howard Nathan

Very few athletes had a high school career to match Howard Nathan. With a rainbow jumper and his high-top fade hairdo back in the`90s, Nathan epitomized the in-your-face, slap-the-floor defense that is a trademark of Peoria hoops. He led Manual high school to three Illinois state tournament appearances (1988, 90, 91). In his senior season he led Manual to a 2nd place finish. By playing the late quarterfinal Friday, Manual had to play three games in 23 hours, culminating in a championship loss that Saturday night. Nathan scored 19 points, 11 in the last 5 minutes. He finished his prep play with seven rebounds, six assists and two steals. He was tournament scoring leader, and his 13 3-point attempts are still a record for a title game.

For his heroics, the Chicago Tribune crowned him Mr. Basketball for the state of Illinois, at 5-foot-10, then the shortest winner by 4 inches. Nathan was named to the 1991 Mc Donald’s all-American team.

Nathan continued his career at DePaul University and University of Louisiana at Monroe. He left school early to become the first Peorian to play in the NBA as Howard appeared in five games for the Atlanta Hawks during two 10-day contracts in 1995, 96 season. He had 13 points, three steals, and two assists in the league.

Back in Peoria Nathan’s basketball legend grew. His teams won five straight Gus Macker titles from 1998 to 2002. In July 2006, Howard was paralyzed in an automobile accident and confined to a wheelchair.

Howard still continues to be involved today in basketball within the community.