KANSAS CITY, Mo. — Following his final game as a Tiger, Hadley Gillum was pressed to sum up his career with the Fort Hays State University men’s basketball team.
“I’ve never really thought about that,” Gillum said Saturday when asked how he wanted to be remembered at FHSU.
But his body of work with the Tigers speaks for itself.
Gillum, whose career ended with a 77-53 loss to Washburn in the MIAA Tournament semifinals, finished with 1,079 points and 511 rebounds. He is the ninth player in program history to record at least 1,000 points and 500 rebounds.
“I think it will probably set in next season when I’m sitting in the stands watching these guys or something,” Gillum said. “It’s got to end someday for everybody.”
Gillum was the unquestioned leader of the Tigers as a senior, with the 6-foot-5, 225-pound forward averaging 16.8 points and 6.6 boards while earning second-team All-MIAA honors.
The Plainville product delivered a signature moment in the MIAA Tournament quarterfinals, scoring 26 points and making two free throws with 1.2 seconds left to send the Tigers to a 86-85 overtime victory over No. 2-seeded Missouri Southern.
“He’s got a big heart for the game,” FHSU junior forward Brady Werth said. “Everybody sees it. He’s picking everybody up at all times.”
Gillum, the lone senior for the 19-12 Tigers, said he enjoyed the chance to play close to home and share the court with a host of in-state players at Fort Hays.
“I really had no idea where I was going right away, but Fort Hays was the best place,” Gillum said. “It’s been great having fans local and being able to support us. Heck, we’ve got 10 other in-state guys. The local thing is pretty awesome at Hays.”
After appearing in just nine games as a freshman, Gillum showed marked improvement each year. He averaged 5.2 points off the bench as a sophomore before enjoying a breakthrough year as a junior, averaging 13.5 points to earn honorable mention all-conference honors.
“Obviously my freshman year was a great learning curve,” he said. “From then on, I think I got a little more confidence each year.”
Tiger coach Mark Johnson said he hopes next year’s returners will be able to steadily improve the way Gillum did.
“Hadley’s improved every year, just look at his numbers from freshman year to sophomore, junior and senior year,” Johnson said. “You’re hoping you can get that improvement from all your guys and they can continue to grow and get better.”