Yinka Dare would have been 40 years old today. Born in Kano, Nigeria in 1972, the 7-1 Dare didn't play basketball until he was 18. He was brought to the US where he played one year of high school ball, and then enrolled at George Washington University. At George Washington he averaged a double-double for his career, and is the all-time leader in blocked shots. He helped lead GW to their first ever Sweet-16, where they lost against Michigan's Fab Five.
He surprised many when – still relatively fundamentally unsound – he declared for the draft after his sophomore year.
He was the 14th overall pick in the 1994 NBA Draft, and then played 10 years in various professional leagues. But at the age of 31 he suffered a heart attack at his home in Englewood, NJ, and died.
His college coach – Mike Jarvis – described him as "never having a bad word to say about anyone. He was just a nice, sweet, kid."
The KFC Yum! Center opened two years ago today. Despite its stupid name, its one of the most impressive basketball facilities used in the college game – in this case, the tenant is the Lousiville Cardinals. Built for $238 million dollars, the Yum! Center seats 22,000 fans for a basketball game. It replaced Freedom Hall which was used from 1956 until it opened.
Other birthdays include: Don Henricksen 1929 (Cal), Ron Doresy 1948 (Tennessee State), Don Smith 1951 (Dayton), Gus Williams 1953 (USC), Reggie Carter 1957 (St. John's), Rod Foster 1960 (UCLA), Kenny Battle 1964 (Illinois Urbana-Champaign), Derrick McKey 1966 (Alabama), Stanley Jackson 1970 (UAB), Joel Przybilla 1979 (Minnesota), and Ryan Hollins 1984 (UCLA)
Musician of the day: Thelonious Monk, one of the true geniuses of the piano, was born on this day in 1917.