SAVOY (WCIA) — The Kendall Gill Golf Benefit has become a staple for Illini Nation every summer and the 33rd annual event at the Orange and Blue Course in Savoy on Monday was once again a big success. The fundraiser has brought in more than $600,000 to help area children and families in need throughout the years and so many people signed up this year they needed two flights and both courses.
“I think it’s the cause is the reason why, 33 years of giving back to kids that really need it,” Gill said when asked about why the event has been so successful. “There’s a lot of guys that have been here every year, a lot of guys that have been here 15, 20 years. It’s all about the cause, and that’s the reason why it lasts so long. Thirty-three years, and I think it will continue to improve each and every year.”
Gill always brings his family to the golf outing, in what’s become an Illini reunion of sorts. Mary Henson was in attendance, giving Gill a big hug after arriving. The wife of late coach Lou Henson always makes it a point to show up and support the event. Current Illini coach Brad Underwood was also there, just two weeks after offering Kendall’s son Phoenix a scholarship. The 6-foot-2 point guard will be a sophomore this fall at St. Ignatius College Prep in Chicago. Telling Phoenix about the legacy offer is a moment Kendall says he’ll never forget.
“I said, ‘Hey listen man, you got your first offer,'” Kendall told Phoenix. “He was like, ‘Where?’ I was like, ‘To Illinois.’ It was the smile on his face I’ll never forget. Ever since he was a little boy, he was an Illinois guy. Watches all the games, doesn’t say Illinois, he says we when he’s talking about Illinois basketball. I’m just hoping he continues to say we over the next two to three years.”
Underwood was back in town after a weekend recruiting trip to Kansas City. The Illini staff was out in full force for the evaluation period, scouting the next several classes. Underwood gave several updates for next year’s team on Monday:
-Baylor transfer Matthew Mayer is on campus and awaiting a physical before starting practice later this week
-Freshman point guard Skyy Clark is “getting close” to full-go at summer practice after knee surgery last summer
-The 2022-23 non-conference schedule is getting close to being released, waiting on just one contract to be signed
-Underwood is heading to Las Vegas tonight to see former Illini Kofi Cockburn play with the Utah Jazz Summer League team
“I’ll actually see him play at 7 o’clock tonight, and then stay and see the Wednesday game and then come home Wednesday night,” Underwood said about the trip to see Cockburn. “I’m excited to get out and see him, support him, have conversation with him. He’s taking on the next endeavor of his life and I’m excited to be there to see him play and support him.”