Area players, a sportswriter and a ‘friend’ named to IBCA Hall of Fame

Shaw Media’s Charlie Ellerbrock has been covering Illinois Valley sports for six decades

Local basketball greats Reuben Slock of Bureau Valley (2001) and Bill Howard of Princeton (1960) were selected for induction into the IBCA Hall of Fame class of 2024. Also selected were Charlie Ellerbrock of Shaw Media and LuAnn (Robinson) Edmundson of Annawan.

A collection of local area players, a sports writer and a “Friend of basketball” have been named to the 2024 Illinois Basketball Coaches Association Hall of Fame Class.

Longtime sports writer Charlie Ellerbrock of the Ottawa Times and Shaw Media, who has covered Illinois Valley sports for parts of six decades, including the BCR and NewsTribune, was inducted as a media member. His first assignment was covering a Little League baseball game in the summer of 1976.

Charlie Ellerbrock

Former St. Bede girls basketball coach and current Kewanee Wethersfield boys basketball coach Tom McGunnigal said he always loved it when Ellerbrock was covering his games because he knew the reporting would be fair and reflective of what went on.

“He never made anything bigger or smaller than it had to be. He just allowed his words to tell the story,” he said. “He had a great mind of remembering detail. All of the great ones do. He has always been easy to talk to and answer his questions even after the toughest losses because he was fair and honest with how he treated you and, most importantly, your kids.

“Charlie always wrote his articles with a temperament toward the player and team as a way of glorifying their efforts of playing the game or match or contest. He always put the human into his stories that allowed for someone reading the article to fully understand what happened in very basic yet artful detail.”

Players named were Bill Howard of Princeton, Reuben Slock of Bureau Valley and LuAnn (Robinson) Edmundson of Annawan.

Howard was a standout for Princeton High School and went on to star for Princeton University as co-captain with All-American Bill Bradley on the Tigers’ 1963 and 1964 NCAA teams, including a Sweet 16 run in 1964.

Bill Howard turned his Princeton High School jersey in for a Princeton University.

At Princeton High School, Howard became the Tigers’ third 1,000-point scorer in a five-year period. He is ranked No. 9 all-time with 1,026 career points. He passed away on Nov. 3, 2018, after a long battle with cancer.

Slock was a First-team All-State member of Bureau Valley’s third-place state teams in 1999-00 and 2000-01. The two-time BCR Player of the Year averaged 16.8 points and 7.1 rebounds as senior and left the program as the all-time leader in scoring, assists and rebounds. He now stands as the No. 2 all-time scorer with 1,771 career points.

Former BV coach Brad Bickett said Slock, who also played at Elmhurst College, was a day one varsity basketball starter when he walked through the doors his freshman year at BVHS.

“Reuben clearly defined that your best player need be your hardest worker,” Bickett said. “Reuben was a strong leader, remarkable teammate and a fantastic role model to all kids involved at any level of the BV basketball program. It was a thrill to coach such a loyal and dedicated student-athlete, who became a household name when you thought of Bureau Valley basketball.

“I will also remember Reuben and his family for their unwavering support of Coach Bickett and the Bureau Valley basketball program.”

Reuben Slock

Edmundson was an All-State player for Annawan, ranked sixth in all-time scoring for the Bravettes with 1,267 career points. She was the second leading scorer in the state her senior year (1986-87), averaging 30.2 ppg.

She was a four-year starter for Illinois State University where she was the first female player to record more than 1,300 points, more than 400 assists and more than 400 rebounds.

Edmundson joins twin sisters Lisa and Lynette (class of ‘78) in the Hall of Fame.

LuAnn Robinson was an All-State player for Annawan from the class of 1988.

Steve DeRubeis of Wenona was selected as a “Friend of Basketball.” He has been a staple of area sports for many years with a footprint in many aspects from player to referee/umpire and providing food or serving up cheeseburgers for the sports teams at the Boardwalk Tap in Wenona. He also shares stories with his vast knowledge as a local sports historian.

“Steve has been a huge supporter of all of our local teams and never hesitates at an opportunity to take care of us,” Fieldcrest A.D. Jason Chaplin said. “From a fan standpoint, Steve is a wealth of historical knowledge. His recollection of the ‘glory days’ of Tri-County sports is impeccable. I can say with confidence, there has not been a team, player, or coach that Steve has not had his eye on over the last 50-60 years. 

“He can tell you about so many great players, coaches, and teams. He welcomes the conversation and the Boardwalk always has an open seat for someone to sit down and talk sports.”

DeRubeis largely does his many good deeds with little or no notoriety.

Steve DeRubeis

“Through all his years of support and dedication, Steve has never once done it seeking credit or attention.  So much of what he does to support our programs goes unnoticed to the public,” Chaplain said. “He has never once asked for anything in return, and would most likely be upset if you brought attention to it. I cannot think of a more deserving person to be recognized by the IBCA Hall of Fame as a friend of basketball.”

One story that DeRubeis could share, is that he once outscored future NBA great Jack Sikma of St. Anne in their matchup in the Supersectional between DeRubeis’ hometown Toluca Wildcats. St. Anne won the game (81-62) and went on to finish fourth in the second year of the Class 1A State Tournament.