Three with DeKalb County ties enter IBCA Hall of Fame

Hinckley-Big Rock’s Jenna Thorp, Malta’s Justin Allen, DeKalb coach Mike Reynolds inducted

At his Illinois Basketball Coaches Association Hall of Fame induction ceremony earlier this month, Josh Allen was flipping through the program of fellow inductees and was pleasantly surprised.

The Malta grad wasn’t the only person with DeKalb County ties being inducted, as he was joined by former Hinckley-Big Rock player Jenna Thorp and current DeKalb head coach Mike Reynolds.

“I was looking through the program and saw the other names, and I was like, ‘Holy cow, how cool is it that I get to be inducted with two other DeKalb people?’ ” Allen said. “And not only three from DeKalb County, but two from the Little Ten.”

Allen graduated in 1999 as Malta’s all-time leading scorer and rebounder. No one got the chance to break those records, as the school consolidated with DeKalb the next year. He played college basketball at Arizona State, but after his freshman year was diagnosed with Hodgkin lymphoma. After eight months of treatment, it went into remission, and he played three more years with the Sun Devils.

Thorp was a three-time Daily Chronicle Girls Basketball Player of the Year and four-time unanimous selection to the all-Little Ten team. She graduated Hinckley-Big Rock as its all-time leading scorer and helped them win back-to-back state titles in 2009 and 2010.

She went on to play for NIU and now is the junior varsity coach for the Kaneland girls basketball team. She also teaches health and physical education at the high school.

“It was definitely a cool honor,” Thorp said. “It’s definitely cool to be recognized for the work I’ve put in during my basketball career, to have that honor and recognition behind my name. I’m definitely blessed with my family and friends that were able to come down and support me.”

With her family all born and raised in Hinckley, Thorp said it has been an honor to help shine a positive light on the small town.

“I tried to not only be a good leader on the floor, but also off the floor,” Thorp said. “I think showing from small town the accomplishments that happen, maybe not just in basketball but in anything if someone puts their mind to it.”

Allen lives in Scottsdale, Arizona, now but came back to Illinois for the ceremony. He said he had fun returning to Malta and visiting with friends before heading down to Normal with his family for the induction.

“I have a lot of pride growing up in Malta,” Allen said. “I loved growing up in a small town. Representing Malta, representing my friends and family, that’s definitely pretty special.”

Reynolds is approaching the 500-win mark, having crossed the 400 mark two years ago. He’s been at DeKalb for five years, keeping the Barbs at or near the top of the DuPage Valley Conference standings. When he took over in 2019, DeKalb had won one regional since 2003. The Barbs have won two since he took over, including their first Class 4A regional crown.

Before he coached at DeKalb, Reynolds was the head coach at Bismarck-Henning and Galesburg.

Reynolds said the award is more of a testament to all the assistant coaches, athletic directors, principals and players he’s worked with throughout his career.

“It’s pretty surreal, really,” Reynolds said. “A lot of the guys I looked up to when I started coaching, they’re already inducted and lots of them were there. It’s something I’ll look back on someday and be very, very proud of because I’m included in that group.”

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