Jamaal Tatum is no stranger to being in the spotlight on the basketball floor.
Whether it was as a Helias Crusader or a Southern Illinois-Carbondale Saluki, Tatum had a knack for scoring in his prep and college careers.
Tatum can add Hall of Famer to his list of basketball accomplishments when he is inducted into the Southern Illinois University Hall of Fame tonight in Cabondale, Ill.
"I count the years since I've been out of college, and I can't believe it's been this long, and to already be coming up to be a nominee for the Hall of Fame is a great honor," the current Russellville High School boys basketball coach said.
Tatum was a fixture in the middle of Southern Illinois' golden years of basketball. The Salukis went to six straight NCAA Tournaments from 2001-07. Tatum had a hand in the last four tournament appearances, including his senior year when Southern Illinois reached the Sweet 16 and lost to No. 1 seed Kansas 61-58. That season he was named the Missouri Valley Conference Player of the Year after averaging 15.2 points per game.
Tatum spent a brief time playing professionally, spending time in training camp with the Atlanta Hawks and Portland Trailblazers, and in the NBA Developmental League.
He finished his Southern Illinois career ranked seventh in scoring (1,667), fourth in 3-pointers (220) and eighth in steals (159).
The Salukis won three conference titles during his career and Tatum is the school's all-time leader in NCAA Tournament points (99) and Missouri Valley Tournament points (159).
"I haven't been back to Carbondale in a long time," Tatum said. "I'm ready to go down there, see everybody down there, talk to the fans."
Tatum, who is in his first season at Russellville, said he's enjoying the other side of basketball right now.
"This is definitely something I enjoy doing," he said. "I never look at it and have any second thoughts."