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Illinois Hall of Fame 2023: Kenny Battle



Kenny Battle
Jan 4, 2014; Champaign, IL, USA; Illinois Fighting Illini former player Kenny Battle during halftime of the game against the Penn State Nittany Lions at State Farm Center. The 1989 Illinois Fighting Illini "Flyin' Illini" Final Four team was honored during halftime. Battle poses for photos with the Final Four trophy. Mandatory Credit: Bradley Leeb-USA TODAY Sports

Kenny Battle was part of the famed “Flyin’ Illini” Final Four Basketball team.

This series of articles features athletes who will be inducted into the Illinois Athletics Hall of Fame in September.

The University of Illinois Division of Intercollegiate Athletics named 12 new members to the UI Athletics Hall of Fame Class of 2023, including athletes and coaches from nine different teams. This is the seventh Hall of Fame class. It includes two Olympic medalists, members of their sport’s national hall of fame, national champions, high professional draft picks, a Super Bowl champion, and a national record holder for more than 70 years.

This installment of features Illinois legend Kenny Battle. 

The 1989 NCAA Tournament Championship game had 33 lead changes. Illinois lost that game because they lost track of the weak side rebounder. That championship game was a heartbreaking way to end a season. Kenny Battle did his part in that game, scoring 29 points and grabbing 11 rebounds.

Battle was one of the critical pieces of that Final Four team affectionately nicknamed “The Flyin’ Illini.” The Aurora native began his collegiate career about two and a half hours north of Champaign in Dekalb at Northern Illinois University. He scored 1,000 points in two years at NIU before transferring to Illinois.

Upon arriving in Champaign, Battle was an instant impact player. After taking a redshirt, Battle averaged 15.6 points and 5.5 rebounds in his first year with the Illini. However, the following year — the year Illinois would go to the Final Four — Battle took his game to the next level. Accordingly, he averaged 16.6 points and five rebounds per game. He would have several memorable performances in the NCAA tournament, including the championship game.

Battle scored 1,112 career points at Illinois, making him one of the few players in college basketball history to score over 1,000 points for two different schools. Consequently, Battle was an All-American honorable mention at Illinois and NIU. As a result, Battle was inducted into the NIU Hall of Fame.


Armchair Illini is a comprehensive site dedicated to covering University of Illinois Athletics owned and operated by Alex Kyi. Dante Pryor has been writing about College Football for years on Saturday Blitz and is now the Lead Football Author for Armchair Illini.