Redbird men’s basketball has achieved some big milestones over the course of the 2016-2017 season: a perfect home record, the most conference wins in program history, and the best overall record by an Illinois State men’s basketball team ever. It’s hard to argue which success is the most impressive.
But to some, the real driving force behind the Redbirds’ success may not be their work ethic, coach Dan Muller’s focus on tenacious defense, or a high-powered, fast-paced offense—it’s their hair.
That’s right, folks. The Redbirds far and away have some of the greatest heads of hair in the Missouri Valley Conference. And if hairdos are any indication of athletic prowess on the court, the ‘Birds should walk into St. Louis this weekend and win the Valley Tournament by a landslide.
You heard it here first: Illinois State has swept the Valley’s all-conference hair team.
Let’s take a look at each of the top styles in the lineup.
Paris Lee, point guard (and all-time Illinois State steals leader)
The Redbird red tips on Lee’s braids are every opponent’s first warning sign: This guy is here to play. And what’s not to love about a hairstyle that screams #RedbirdProud? P.Lee earns the top spot (and kudos to his hairdresser).
Tony Wills, guard
T.Wills and his luscious locks are a no-brainer for this list. The sheer will power it must have taken to grow his hair that long deserves a tip of the cap. And MVC foes should watch out—those braids probably hurt when Wills is juking past them into the lane.
Andre Washington, forward
The 6-foot-8-inch freshman from Fort Worth, Texas, brought his stellar hair game to campus this year and it’s turning heads at Redbird Arena and around the Valley. We can’t wait to see what Washington has in store for the rest of his Redbird career.
Keyshawn Evans, guard, Madison Williams, guard, and Javaka Thompson, guard
Evans, Williams, and Thompson are taking a similar approach and have elevated the Redbird ’dos to new heights (literally). The strategy of growing one’s hair out to appear 2–3 inches taller is a bold move on the court, and one that has served these ‘Birds well this season.
Isaac Gassman, redshirt freshman
Who doesn’t love the bleach blond boy band look? And Gassman nails it with ease. Don’t let the unassuming exterior fool you—this guy is a sniper from beyond the arc.
Get ready to #BackTheBirds in St. Louis and get your Illinois State Redbirds gear online today. The Redbirds will play their first game of the Valley tournament Friday, March 3 at noon and tickets are available online at Ticketmaster.com.