HAMLET — Before the Bobcats tipped off against Riley Wednesday, Oregon-Davis paid tribute to one of the program’s fondest memories in a special pre-game ceremony at The Den.
The school hung the jerseys of Todd Blair and Scott Blum, and Blum — the program’s career scoring record-holder — delivered a few words as OD commemorated the 25th anniversary of the Bobcats’ 1988 sectional championship season.
“It’s a good thing. I know they had a special aim for me to re-retire my number, but what’s more important for me is the team being honored,” said Blum who finished his career at OD with 1,576 points and whose jersey was originally retired following the Bobcats’ regional run in 1988. “I wish we could all be here, but we all live our own places and far away and so forth. Just Oregon-Davis recognizing the team of ‘88… those were some special years for all of us. I mentioned out there I was able to win a national championship as a player. A lot of our guys just kind of feel that bittersweet taste of not winning the IHSAA state championship, which I really think we had a team that could’ve done it back then.”
While that ‘87-88 roster wasn’t fully represented Wednesday, several players from the historic squad did make an appearance. The ceremony gave players a chance to reconnect with their former teammates and offered fans an opportunity to mingle with some of the program’s most accomplished players.
It also gave OD’s younger generation a chance to connect with their team’s past.
“Thanks to Greg Estok our AD for recognizing us and re-retiring my number and Todd Blair’s and just keeping that history alive,” said Blum. “I still look back to Tim Haseley (Class of ‘81) and some of those guys that I saw play. You’ve got a good tradition and a good history, you’ve got to keep it. Especially to help these young kids around here to look for something and reach. If you aim for nothing you’re going to hit nothing. I want them to break my record, so go out there and practice and do it.”
After graduating from OD, Blum went on to play two years at Valparaiso and two at Grace College, where he helped lead the Lancers to a national championship in 1992 and was named an NAIA All-American and NCCAA Player of the Year. Following a stint playing professional ball abroad, he spent two years as an assistant coach for Grace’s men’s basketball team and is currently in his ninth season as the head coach of the Lady Pilots women’s basketball team after helping to guide the squad to a program-best 20-15 record last season.
“I drive back, sometimes I bring my team and we go through the little town, and they’re kind of like ‘Coach, you grew up here?’ said Blum. “There’s really nothing here for these kids to do. What I try to take away from my time here is the hard work to play the game of basketball and to do some of the goals I wanted: To play college basketball, to play in the NBA — which I didn’t, but I got to play in Portugal professionally — and coach and those types of things. I came back here 10 or 15 years ago, they had a career day, so I talked to the students about “Don’t give up your goals. Just go for them and do them.’”