jim_bredarOne of Salem’s premier basketball players, who really had only one year of prominence in high school, gained most of his fame after high school graduation in college and in military service. Jim Bredar, a 1949 SCHS graduate, was standout enough to be named to the all-conference basketball team.

As one erstwhile sportswriter called him, “the Radar Kid,” Bredar scored 422 points his senior year, as the Wildcats finished with an 18-9 record. That team had a 14-6 record in regular season play, uniquely 7-3 at home and 7-3 on the road.

Bredar went on to the University of Illinois where he played four years with the Illini, starting at guard as a junior on the team that finished third in the NCAA tournament after winning the 1951-52 Big Ten title. He captained the 1952-53 team that finished second in the Big Ten to NCAA champion Indiana. He was given All-America honorable mention honors in 1952 and named second team All-America in 1953. He was also named second team All Big Ten in 1953.

He played briefly with the Ft. Wayne Pistons of the NBA and toured with the Harlem Globetrotters, providing the opposition for the Globetrotters in their exhibitions. Many Salem fans saw him play in that series when they played exhibitions in St. Louis. Before joining the Globetrotter tour, Bredar and some fellow Illini toured the state playing exhibitions. In an exhibition here, the Illinoisans beat the Starr Bros. team of Mt. Vernon, 100-69, with Bredar scoring 24 points.

After two years in the Army, he returned to the University of Illinois to get his Master’s degree in geology. While working on his Master’s he helped Illinois coach Harry Combes and former assistant coach, Howie Braun, coach and did some scouting and recruiting. He was also head freshman coach for two years.

While in the military service, he was captain of the Virginia Beach base team that won the National All-Army title. Coincidentally, that team was coached by his high school teammate and buddy, Bob Frala. So the “Gold Dust Twins,” as they were sometimes referred to in high school, carried on.

An outstanding student-athlete, Bredar was named Salem’s Outstanding Citizen in 1952, only the second former SCHS athlete to be accorded that honor.

He also made an impact with the 1948 Wildcat football team as a kicker. His place kicks were the margin of victory in the final two games of the season, 13-12, over Lawrenceville, and 14-13 over Mt. Vernon.

Jim is married and he and his wife have two children, a daughter, Carrie and a son, Jamie. His mother, Marie, sister, Ann (Mrs. Jack Woods), and brother, Frank, live here.