Robert Archibald, an Illinois Center on 2 Big Ten Championship Basketball Teams and Former NBA Player, Dead at 39

Illinois’ Robert Archibald shoots against Gonzaga on Nov. 16, 2001, in Champaign. (JIM PRISCHING / CHICAGO TRIBUNE)

Former Illinois center Robert Archibald, a member of the Illini’s 2000-01 and 2001-02 teams that won a share of the Big Ten championship, has died at age 39, the university confirmed Friday. The cause of death remained unknown.

A native of Scotland who attended high school in the St. Louis area, the 6-foot-11 Archibald played 130 games in four seasons at Illinois (1998-2002). As a junior, he averaged 7.2 points and 4.5 rebounds as a key reserve for a team that finished 27-8 (13-3 Big Ten) and reached the Elite Eight of the 2001 NCAA Tournament under coach Bill Self.

Archibald scored 25 points in that 87-81 loss to Arizona then moved into the starting lineup as a senior. He averaged 10.6 points and 5.5 rebounds as the Illini went 26-9 (11-5 Big Ten) and advanced to the Sweet 16, where he had 15 points and 10 rebounds in a 73-69 loss to Kansas. The Illini went 89-45 overall and 38-26 in Big Ten play in Archibald’s four years in Champaign.

The Grizzlies drafted Archibald in the second round in 2002, and he played 44 games over two NBA seasons with the Grizzlies, Suns, Magic and Raptors before continuing his professional career in Europe.

He retired as a player after competing for the British national team in the 2012 Olympics in London.

SOURCE: Chicago Tribune