Former Illinois and New Mexico State basketball coach Lou Henson will not be in attendance at the game between the schools at the United Center in Chicago on Saturday night, according to an official statement from the athletic department.
Official statement from #illini on Lou Henson missing tomorrow night’s game pic.twitter.com/XVKJKM53aT— Jeremy Werner (@JWerner247) December 16, 2017
Henson, the all-time leader in wins at Illinois (423) and New Mexico State (289), was supposed to be honored prior to tip-off.
He spoke before current Illinois head coach Brad Underwood at a press conference at the State Farm Center on Tuesday afternoon.
#Illini Lou Henson and Brad Underwood getting ready to speak pic.twitter.com/5E1y5Af8ql— Jeremy Werner (@JWerner247) December 12, 2017
Henson was taken to Carle Foundation Hospital in Champaign, Illinois, on Thursday to be treated for a lung infection, according to the News-Gazette.
Henson praised Underwood’s coaching ability during the press conference, saying “it takes time” for the offense to come together. Illinois scored 92 points in a win over Longwood on Wednesday night.
“I think they’re getting better,” Henson said of the current Illini.
Underwood, who has said that coaching at Illinois has been a dream of his since Henson was roaming the sidelines, was honored to get to share the mic with Illinois’ winningest coach.
“We’re elated to be part of the Lou Henson Classic,” Underwood said. “He's impacted a lot of players.
“They don't just name courts (after anybody). John Wooden and Lou Henson. The only people with two courts named after them.”
We wish Henson a speedy recovery.
Illinois and New Mexico State tip-off at 7 p.m. Saturday on the Big Ten Network from the United Center.
NOTE: A previous version of this story credited the knowledge of Henson’s absence to CBS 2 Chicago’s Ryan Baker. It has been update (6:52 p.m. Friday) with a statement from the athletic department in an effort to be more accurate.
Here was Baker’s tweet.
It's too bad that health issues will keep Lou Henson from attending tomorrow's @IlliniMBB game vs. New Mexico St in his honor at the @UnitedCenter. Coach has to be pretty sick to miss this. Praying for him! #Illini #FlyinIllini #LouDoo— Ryan Baker (@RyanBakerMedia) December 15, 2017