The Class of 2009 includes former basketball star Adebayo Akinkunle, women’s cross country and track runner Deb Knieja-Ognar and volleyball player Jenny Pavlas, as well as the 1987-88 men’s basketball team. By sweeping the Missouri Valley Conference regular-season and tournament championships and playing in the NCAA Tournament, the 1987-88 men’s basketball team will receive photo status in the Bradley Athletics Hall of Fame.
Tickets for the Jan. 9 Braves Club Gameday Luncheons are $20 and may be purchased in advance by contacting the Braves Club Office at 309-677-2667. Tickets for the men’s basketball game Jan. 10 versus Creighton range from $9-20 based on location and may be purchased in person at the Shea Stadium Box Office (309-677-2625), the Carver Arena Box Office or online at www.BradleyBraves.com.
Adebayo Akinkunle, Men’s Basketball
1998 Missouri Valley Conference Defensive Player of the Year ... 1998 First Team All-Missouri Valley Conference ... Two-time member of the MVC All-Defense Team (1997, 1998) ... Two-time member of the MVC All-Underrated Team (1997, 1998 team captain) ... 1997 MVC Most Improved Team ... Two-time member of the MVC Scholar-Athlete Team (1997 honorable mention, 1998 second team) ... 1998 team MVP ... 1997 team Most Improved Player ... Led the Braves in scoring as a senior in 1997-98 (15.4 ppg) ... Led the Braves in rebounding as a junior (6.0 rpg) and senior (8.2 rpg) ... 41st on the program’s all-time scoring list with 1,033 career points ... Second in program history with 154 career blocked shots ... Helped the Braves to three postseason appearances -- 1995 NIT, 1996 NCAA Tournament, 1997 NIT -- as well as the 1996 Missouri Valley Conference regular-season championship.
Deb Knieja-Ognar , Women’s Cross Country/Track and Field
Bradley’s first-ever All-Missouri Valley Conference performer in women’s cross country, finishing 10th at the 1995 Missouri Valley Conference Championship ... At the time of her graduation in 1996, Knieja held the school records in every distance she had competed in at Bradley: 800 meters, 1,500 meters and 3,000 meters ... She still ranks as the program’s fourth-fastest runner in the 800, fifth in the 1,500 fourth and fourth in the 3,000 ... Coach David Beauchem nominated Knieja and credits her with the development of the cross country program into its MVC championship form of 1998, setting an overall example for her younger teammates to follow ... 1996 Carl Grose Service Award winner.
Jenny Pavlas, Volleyball
A four-time All-Missouri Valley Conference performer, Pavlas was an honorable mention pick as a freshman in 1993 and a second-team selection in 1994 ... After redshirting the 1995 campaign, Pavlas came back to earn first-team All-MVC honors in 1996 and 1997 ... One of six players in program history to twice be named first-team All-MVC ... Twice set the single-season school record for kills (1995, 1997) and she still owns three of the top six totals ... Became the first player in program history to record 1,000 kills and her total of 1,093 now is the second-best total in program history ... She also set the single-season record for digs with 232 in 1997, a mark that now ranks seventh-best in program history ... She ended her career second in program history with 809 career digs (now third) ... Pavlas also still ranks 10th in school history with 147 career blocks, which was the third-best total when she graduated.
1987-88 Men’s Basketball Team
Swept the Missouri Valley Conference regular-season and postseason tournament championships, earning a bid to the NCAA Tournament ... Finished with a 26-5 (.839) overall record, including a 12-2 (.857) Valley mark ... Set the single-game school scoring record during a 139-119 victory versus UC Irvine, then the Valley record and still the second-best mark by a MVC team against a Division I opponent ... Scored at least 100 points six times and owns the single-season school record by averaging 92.5 ppg ... Went 15-1 at home, including a 96-65 victory against West Virginia in a nationally-televised game (USA Network) ... The team’s 10 true road wins (10-3) are the fourth-best total in program history, trailing only the 1986 (13-1), 1982 (11-4) and 1951 (11-2) teams.