A Peoria native sent Illinois basketball fans, ESPN announcer into a frenzy with legendary sequence in 2002

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Illini star and Peoria product Frank Williams celebrates during ceremonies presenting him with his jersey back in March 14, 2002.
Illini star and Peoria product Frank Williams celebrates during ceremonies presenting him with his jersey back in March 14, 2002.

PEORIA — Twenty years ago, Peoria native Frank Williams led Illinois to a win in a Big Ten showdown that included a two-score sequence immortalized by broadcast analyst Dick Vitale.

A video clip of that moment surfaced on social media Saturday, taking Illini fans back to an era in the first five years or so of the 2000s where Illinois basketball was a force on the national stage.

Peoria native puts on a show

The video clip is a nice window back through time to that great era for Illinois.

It opens with Frank Williams making a steal against Iowa then barreling down the right wing, where he flips a behind-the-back pass to set up a layup.

"Hello! Hello! Showtime!" Vitale screamed. "Frank Williams putting on a show in passing the rock. He's driving, drawing and dishing the rock."

Before Vitale could finishing praising him, Williams made another steal, intercepting an Iowa pass. Williams raced to a layup off the turnover. He raised his arms as he ran down court, and Iowa called a timeout.

"It's the Frank Williams show," Vitale proclaimed.

Cut to the crowd, bouncing up and down in the Assembly Hall grandstand in what looked like a tsunami.

Peoria a big part of early 2000s Illini

Williams played three seasons for the Fighting Illini, leading the team to a string of NCAA Tournament appearances.

After the 2000-2001 season, he was named the Big Ten Player of the Year. He played with fellow Manual High School stars Marcus Griffin and Sergio McClain.

Peoria pipeline: How the city keeps its basketball talent flowing to Illinois basketball

It was part of a great run of teams.

Bill Self's 2000-01 team was built around three future NBA players, including then-sophomore Williams, who averaged 14.9 points, 4.4 assists and 3.7 rebounds per game.

That team went 27-8 and won a share of the regular-season Big Ten title. They were the No. 1 seed in the Midwest Region and went on to the Elite Eight.

The 2001-02 Illini, led by Williams, went 26-9, earned a share of the Big Ten regular-season title and advanced to the Sweet 16 of the NCAA Tournament.

Dave Eminian is the Journal Star sports columnist, and covers Bradley men's basketball, the Rivermen and Chiefs. He writes the Cleve In The Eve sports column for pjstar.com. Reach him at 686-3206 or deminian@pjstar.com. Follow him on Twitter @icetimecleve.

This article originally appeared on Journal Star: Peoria native had legendary sequence for Illinois basketball on ESPN

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