Mt. Vernon Athletics announced the passing of the legendary Max Hooper on twitter Thursday.  He was 88.

Hooper was instrumental to the Rams on the hardwood, leading them to back-to-back state championships in 1949 and 1950, both Illinois Basketball Hall of Fame teams. The 1949 team went 30-3 while the 1950 team went 33-0, holding teams to an average of less than 37 points per game.

He’s regarded as one of the all-time greats to come from Southern Illinois, earning all-state honors twice and setting several state tournament records.  Hooper was inducted to the Illinois Basketball Hall of Fame as part of the inaugural class alongside the 1950 Mt. Vernon team in 1973.

After high school, Hooper went on to play at the University of Illinois before playing two years in the National Industrial Basketball League with the Denver-Chicago Truckers.

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