Big Ten Icon No. 38: Calbert Cheaney

The Big Ten Network is counting down the conference’s top 50 icons (based entirely on their collegiate careers) and it finally got to its first Hoosier: Calbert Cheaney.

You can explore Cheaney’s “locker” (photo gallery, story, etc…) and that of the other icons named so far here. Below is the video presentation.


  1. Way too low. I love Cal (Bert, not Ipari).
    As our good friends at Wikipedia point out:
    All time Big Ten leading scorer with 2613 points which was a 19.8 career average(22.4 as senior). Scored over 30 points thirteen times. Cheaney won 105 games in his four years – the most of any Hoosier. Over his last three seasons in college, Cheaney led his teams to an 87-16 (.845) record and a 46-8 (.852) mark in the Big Ten Conference; they won nine games in the NCAA tournament and captured two Big Ten crowns (’91 and ’93).
    Basketball honors
    1993: Won all 12 NCAA National Player of the year awards. Unanimous First-Team All America
    All-America 1991, 1992, 1993
    1993 Big Ten Conference MVP
    All-Big Ten 1991, 1992, 1993
    Big Ten’s All Time Scoring Leader (2,613)
    Indiana University’s All-Time leading scorer
    Four time IU team MVP
    Selected to Indiana University’s All-Century First Team
    1993 USBWA College Player of the Year

  2. Interesting how the college game doesn’t necessarily translate to the pros. Many UNC fans agree that Phil Ford was a better college guard than MJ. Mitchell. Guyton. Scotty. Laz probably started more NBA games than Scotty but he was mostly a 6th man at IU.

  3. Wow, had no idea how dominant Calbert was back in the day.

    Chet- You are right. How about JJ Reddick? And Ed O’Bannon? Bobby Hurley? And will Tyler Hansbrough soon be on that list?

    In fact you could argue that between Isaiah and EJ, IU has been a non-factor in the makeup of the NBA. While other top historical programs such as UCLA, Kansas, Kentucky, or Duke, have nourished the NBA will stars, IU has given the NBA little more than the equivalent of a $20 gift card to Red Lobster.

  4. Husky, that dude could play. He was not a selfish “get my points” kind of guy and that is why he did not light up the NBA. A couple of his coaches in the NBA said they had never coached a guy with better shot selection than Calbert. I hated he had to start his career off with those Mich scrubs.

  5. There is something to be said for amazing college players who don’t pan out in the pros. They will always be revered at their schools, and they leave no doubt about where their strongest legacy was.

  6. The IU teams from 1989 through app 1994 were “underrated” in the sense that they did not win a national championship (but should have in 1993 had Henderson not gotten hurt, its the IU 1975 parallel) those teams were awesome and consistent. The 1991-2 and 1992-3 squads were really special. Let’s hope we’re saying much the same about 2011-12, 2012-13 and beyond…

  7. It will be interesting to see their complete list. I would have to assume that they are considering coaches as well. My guess at IU candidates and their rank in order from top to bottom:

    Bob Knight
    Isiah Thomas
    Scott May
    Steve Alford
    Calbert Cheaney
    Anthony Thompson (very doubtful he makes it but for a football candidate he would be the only one)

  8. There are plenty if you go back. McGinness. Bellamy. Woodson. Buckner. VanArsdales. Kaintuck doesn’t have classes (or class). I doubt UCLA has sent any more to the pros.

  9. I have to believe there is room in that 50 for 2 of our 3 big men Walt Bellamy, George McGinnis and Benson.

  10. Chet- I know this is unfair to the older folks, but I tend to think of the NBA only in terms of what I have grown up with. My first exposure was the Bird/Magic/Dr. J/Isaiah/Dominique Wilkins era.

    I can’t think of many IU guys that had good careers in the NBA in the time that followed. Meanwhile, the following players come to mind from other schools:

    UNC: Jordan, Sam Perkins, James Worthy, A. Jameson, Jerry Stackhouse, Rasheed Wallace

    Kansas: Danny Manning, Ostertag, Scott Pollard (yes, these last two were annoying NBA guys, but they were around for a while), Wilt the Stilt (before my time)

    Duke: Grant Hill, Cory Magette, Cherokee Parks, Laettner, Danny Ferry, Johnny Dawkins

    Kentucky: Walter McCarty, Rex Champman, Tony Delk, Jamal Mashburn, Ron Mercer, Tayshaun Prince, Nazr Mohammed, Rajon Rondo, Antoine Walker

    UCLA (almost too many to count): Kareem, Reggie Miller, Baron Davis, Bill Walton, Pooh Richardson, not to mention current guys like Russell Westbrook, Matt Barnes, Jordan Farmar, Trevor Ariza, Kevin Love, etc.

    UCLA is THE true historical undisputed powerhouse of college ball, and Southern California is the fertile earth where it’s seeds are sowed.

  11. I’ll give that to John Wooden (a Hoosier) but, take out a truly remarkable 10 year run and they’re Michigan State. It was a lot easier to navigate the tourney back in the day. Win a pitiful Pac 8 and you’re 4 games from the championship. There were seasons when the #1 ranked team in the country didn’t even make the dance. Maryland lost in the ACC tourney when only the champs got to dance.
    The claim is reasonable but it’s far from undisputed.
    So Cal basketball? Really?

  12. Chet-

    Decent points. However, if we are going to play “take away X coach,” I hate to see what IU basketball looks like when you take away Knight. A couple of ancient championships won by white guys in tight shorts with no 3 pointers and giant peaches instead of basketballs.

    Not to mention it sounds a lot like the 4tards “Take away Dwayne Wade” argument.

  13. Non-basketball Hoosier icons deserving of being Big Ten Icons, imo (some of whose names I grabbed from the IU Hall of Fame):

    Doc Counsilman–best swimming coach ever
    Mark Spitz– gotta be in top 5 swimmers ever
    John Kinsella–Sullivan award winner (when that meant something)
    Gary Hall–same level as Kinsella, if not higher
    Jerry Yeagley–6 NCAA titles
    Cynthia Potter–great diver
    George Taliaferro–maybe greatest IU football player ever
    Hobie Billingsley–almost the same level as Doc

    The swimmers and divers had great international careers too and could be considered USA swim/dive icons.

    As far as Hoosiers in the NBA, in the last 30 years, with the exception of Zeke, most of the IU guys washed out or had journeymen careers. Wittman, Woodson, Henderson, and Cheaney stayed in the league for some time but didn’t achieve stardom. Jeffries career is going very much the same. Buckner’s career was a little better, but not by much, imo.

  14. Tom is on a roll. Good to see him having fun.

    He wasn’t an IU guy, but in my humble opinion, Larry Bird had every skill the game of basketball required….He also had the one skill shared by the the select few that makes a name immortal to sport-delivering in the clutch.

    I don’t think there is another state in the country that can match Indiana’s identity with the game of basketball…But on the biggest stage of the game, my favorite player of all-time was “Dr. J”, Julius Erving….”Pistol Pete” Maravich was a hell of a lot of fun to watch, too.

    Favorite Hoosier? Goes unsaid. He made Walton look like a pantywaist.

  15. Damn it! Good call, Millport..How could I forget the “Big O”?!…Even before my time, but he probably was the best..I blogged on many occasions that Creek’s smooth presence on the court, looks, and the follow-through of his jump shot reminded me a bit of the Indiana legend from Crispus Attucks High School. Can I change my vote?

    My wife runs into Hallie Bryant(Crispus Attucks grad and on IU’s 1957 Big 10 Championship team) at a health club she frequents. I kid her that he’s hitting on her..Attucks turned out some great basketball players.

  16. Don’t dis Branch McCracken. I always enjoy telling my Tar Heel fan friends that Dean Smith did so well that he would be tied for second at Indiana for coaching the most NCAA championships.

  17. Calbert should be higher on this list. He was simply amazing to watch. Made the game fun to watch and he always seemed to glide down the floor. I think he had a VERY solid career in the NBA. I might be wrong but I think that Alan Henderson had the longest NBA career of any IU player I can recall. To me the college game is so much more exciting to watch than the pro game. The pros are just one an one anymore and I much prefer to watch a team game with passing and movement. Calbert epitomized that style of play.

  18. MarkMe, it seemed that Dean Garrett had a long career as well. Alan played a while, especially with bad knees.

Comments are closed.