Hall of Fame Inductee - Jack Gower

Jack Gower owns the distinction of being the only person to play in both the first televised basketball state championship game in Illinois and the first televised NCAA men’s basketball championship game. As a senior at Quincy High in 1952, Gower helped the Blue Devils reach the state tournament, averaging 9.3 points as Quincy won 14 straight games before facing Hebron in the championship game. Played at the University of Illinois’ Huff Gym and televised throughout the state, the Green Giants beat the Blue Devils 64-59 in overtime. Gower, who was also a member of Quincy’s 29-4 third-place team in 1951, was named to the all-tournament team by the Champaign News-Gazette. He scored 11 points in the championship and 48 points in the four games at the state tournament. He finished his career with 321 career points. Gower continued his career at Bradley University, earning three varsity letters and participating in the 1954 NCAA Tournament championship game against LaSalle. It was the first nationally televised NCAA championship game, with LaSalle winning 92-76 in Kansas City, Mo. Gower started the next season when the Braves reached the NCAA Tournament’s regional championship, and as a senior, he was co-captain and the team’s second leading scorer and rebounder. Gower was inducted into the Bradley Athletics Hall of Fame along with the rest of the 1954 team and is a member of the Illinois Basketball Coaches Hall of Fame.

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