Inductees Billy Mann, a Chicago prep standout, teamed up with Gene Melchiorre, from suburban Chicago, to form the most famous duo in Bradley basketball history.
It was always “Mann and Melchiorre” when the two were talked about from the time played together on the Fort Sheridan team that once played and defeated Caterpillar in the Peoria Armory the year before the two enrolled at Bradley.
During his four years of varsity play, Mann scored 1,128 points, shooting .431 for his career. He was picked on the 1940s Team of the Decade in BU’s search for its all-time Top 15 players.
During his career, Bradley won 119 games and lost just 22. The Braves were fourth in the NIT in his sophomore season, second in both the NIT and NCAA in his junior year and second in the post-season Hawaiian Tournament and Bradley’s own campus tournament at the end of his senior year. He was named to the 1950 all-NIT team.
“We played together as one,” recalls Melchiorre. “We always knew what the other would be doing and where he would be. He could do it all: score, rebound, pass. He was a lot better when the game was on the line. And he was a better person than a ball player.”
Mann passed away in August of 1993.
Billy Mann, a Chicago prep standout, teamed up with Gene Melchiorre, from suburban Chicago, to form the most famous duo in Bradley basketball history.
|2016 Tri-County Male Coach of the Year|
Tim Thornton (Peoria High School): Guided the Lions to their first ever state football championship. His team went 13-1 and set the state record for points in a season (805). Thornton was one of 32 finalists for the NFL's Don Shula national high school coach of the year award.