(Michigan City, IN) - A Michigan City basketball legend is impressed with the improvements in his old stomping grounds, where he once lit up the high school scoreboard before starring in college.
Dan Palombizio stopped by the Michigan City High School gymnasium on January 19. The finishing touches were being made to the new hard plastic bleachers in the 5,000 seat capacity facility nicknamed "The Wolves Den."
"It looks awesome. It's great. It's great for the community and everything," Palombizio said.
The old brown metal bleachers in the gym since the school was constructed in 1971 were having mechanical problems when pulled out for events and later folded back in.
Kohn said the new $2.1 million bleachers are also safer for people attending events because they have railings in every aisle, which the old bleachers did not have, she said.
Other than the new bleachers, Palombizio said the gym pretty much looks the same as it did in his playing days capped in 1981 when he was named Mr. Basketball in the state.
He finished his high school career as the ninth all-time leading scorer in Indiana basketball history.
Palombizio played two years at Purdue University, then after transferring to Ball State University, was third in the nation in college, averaging 26 points per game. In his final collegiate season, the bruising sharp shooting 6' 8" forward averaged just over 20 points a game.
Palombizio was drafted 9th in the ninth round by the Philadelphia 76'ers, then played professionally overseas in countries like Spain, Italy, and Portugal.
His visit to the gym was like going back in time for Palombizio, who looks like he can still dunk the basketball.
"I got a lot of fond memories here," he said.
Palombizio, who lives in Chesterton, was a head varsity basketball coach in New Buffalo for two seasons, beginning in 2005.
His son, Daniel, starred on the teams loaded with talented players like Matt Parker, Troy Robertson, and Josh Zimmerman. Home games saw a considerable increase in attendance because of the teams' dazzling play, which racked up many blow-out victories and crowd-pleasing dunks.
Palombizio became recreation director at Westville Correctional Center and owns Absolute Apparel & Promotions, which specializes in screen print and embroidery for team uniforms and other products.