BOYS BASKETBALL | HALL OF FAME

Indiana Basketball Hall of Fame to induct 3 from region

2012-11-26T22:00:00Z 2012-12-04T17:47:07Z Indiana Basketball Hall of Fame to induct 3 from regionAl Hamnik al.hamnik@nwi.com, (219) 933-4154 nwitimes.com
November 26, 2012 10:00 pm  • 

Dan Palombizio made Russell Westbrook look like a wallflower.

The 1981 Indiana Mr. Basketball, a Michigan City Rogers legend, never met a shot he didn't like, good or bad.

Palombizio was Instant Offense, no mixing or stirring required.

The Indiana Basketball Hall of Fame announced Monday that the 6-foot-8 forward is among its 2013 induction class this March.

Locally, former Griffith boys coach Bob Heady and E.C. Washington/Purdue standout Phil Dawkins also will be inducted.

"I'm surprised to get in at this young of an age," Palombizio said. "I've been told you usually don't get in until you're around 55 or 60. I was kinda shocked, but very thankful.

"This closes a chapter on something I worked on all my life -- to be in the high school hall of fame."

Based on his accomplishments, it was a no brainer.

"If you look back at it, there was no 3-pointer, even in my college career, and I was a good outside shooter," Palombizio said. "Think about how many more points the Harden brothers (Rob, Roger), Delray Brooks and I would've had in our careers, plus our averages."

Palombizio's game had some balance, too.

"I had 2,092 points (at MC Rogers) but I also had close to 1,400 rebounds. That's something you don't see," Palombizio said. "I led the state in rebounding my junior and senior year and I was in the top 10 my sophomore year.

"I averaged 10 rebounds my freshman year, 13 my sophomore, 15 my junior and 17 my senior year."

Palombizio was a rare three-time First-Team all-state selection at Rogers, a McDonald's All-American, and an Indiana All-Star.

He earned a scholarship to Purdue, stayed there two seasons, then transferred to Ball State because Boilermakers' coach Gene Keady wanted him to be a role player.

"I'm not a role player. I was a scorer in high school and I expected to be a scorer in college," said Palombizio, who chose BSU when MC Rogers coach Bill Hahn was hired there as an assistant.

"A lot of people saw how hard Dan played, how he went in there and got rebounds," said Hahn, now retired. "He wanted what was best for the team and with our (Michigan City) team, the best was getting him the ball.

"He and (BSU great) Ray McCollum were the hardest-working players I had ever been around in 30 years of coaching."

Palombizio was near-unstoppable at Ball State.

During three Mid-American Conference Tournament wins in March of 1986, he shot 24-of-38 from the field, 25-of-30 at the line, and had 33 rebounds as the Cardinals earned an NCAA postseason bid.

After college, Palombizio played overseas and also had NBA tryouts with the 76ers, Timberwolves and Celtics.

"I was a journeyman," he said. "I don't think I could've been a great pro player, but with the expansion teams they have now and the need for shooters, I could've been on somebody's bench."

Dawkins, 71 and now living in Huntington Beach, Calif., is a former Indiana All-Star and was a three-year starter for coach Ray Eddy at Purdue.

"I would've thought (HOF induction) would have happened a long time ago considering back then, we had only one class and one state title," said team captain Dawkins, who joined Ron Divjak and Bobby Cantrell in leading the Senators to the 1960 championship over Muncie Central and star Ron Bonham, 75-59.

"It's really satisfying though, given Indiana's reputation for basketball and all the super players already in the Hall."

Bob Heady scored more than 1,100 points at Frankton High School before embarking on a 383-win head coaching career at Griffith (1969-1973), Wawasee, Shenandoah and Carmel.

He won only Griffith's second sectional in '73.

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