Jesse Clements

Year Inducted: 1995

Category: Players

Schools / Organizations: Champaign High School

Biography: Jesse Clements inclusion in the IBCA Hall of Fame was long overdue.  Clements was Champaign High School’s first all-state basketball player in 1945, when he was the leading scorer in the state championship game against Decatur (62-54) with 19 points.  The previous year Clements was a third team selection when Champaign placed fourth.  Both years, Clements was named to the all-tournament team.  Clements is one of the few players in March Madness history to have been a starter on three consecutive Elite Eight entries (1943, 1944, 1945).  He was also a member of the 1942 Champaign varsity and is the only player to start three seasons at Champaign under the late Harry Combes.  When he was named first team all-state in 1945, the late Jack Prowell of the Champaign News Gazette wrote, “but the honor of being one of the five best basketball players in the state, and at Champaign, where his every move on the court is legend, they’ll tell you he’s the best, has been saved for what might easily be Champaign’s greatest basketball player.  It’s an accurate thermometer of Jess.”  Combes said of Clements, “Some persons who have played first string for three years get the idea they can’t learn anymore, that they know it all.  In chalk talks and at half time, he always wanted to learn.  He never stopped learning, and that’s why he’s great.”