He is affectionately known by former teammates and basketball fans everywhere as “Bo”, but from now on he will be known as Hall of Famer Jim Bocinsky. The Oak Lawn Community High School alumnus and co-captain of the 1971 Illinois High School Association State Runner-up team has received plenty of accolades for his play on the court, but this latest one is pretty special.
The Illinois Basketball Coaches Association recently announced its Class of 2021, and Bo is deservedly on that esteemed list of basketball greats. This is the 50th anniversary of the Spartans’ trip to the State Finals in 1971, and now Bocinsky will be honored for all of his accomplishments on the hardcourt.
Bo was the outside threat of the 1971 Spartan squad that goes down in history as Oak Lawn’s best basketball team ever. Teaming with former Michigan star and NBA player C.J. Kupec, the Spartans advanced through the playoffs and eventually lost to Thornridge in the last of the single-class championships. Thornridge was led by eventual Indiana and NBA star Quinn Buckner.
The Spartans’ Cinderella run was almost derailed against St. Patrick H.S. in the Sectional final had it not been for Bocinsky scoring 33 of the teams total 51 points in the game. Bo followed up that performance by scoring 22 in the Spartans 66-54 victory over New Trier East in the Supersectional game. The Spartans then advanced to the State Quarterfinals at the University of Illinois’ Assembly Hall where they defeated Benton, 71-58 with Bocinsky scoring 17 points. In the Saturday Semifinal, Bo racked up 16 points and helped beat Springfield Lanphier, 69-65. In the State Final nightcap, Bocinsky scored 15 points as the Spartans fell to Thornridge, 52-50.
Following his graduation from OLCHS, Bocinsky took his talents to DePaul University where he captained his 1974-75 squad - a Sports Illustrated preseason ranked Blue Demon team - and averaged 15.5 ppg. for legendary head coach Ray Meyer. The 6-foot-1 guard then went on to play in AAU Mens Open Competition where he won National Championships in 1978 and 1979.
Bocinsky also played in Europe and played in the first-ever Olympic Training Center Tournament in Colorado Springs. There he played on the Midwest team with fellow DePaul alum Mark Aguirre and Indiana great Randy Whitman and against future Los Angeles Laker legend James Worthy.