Phil Hopson was a key component during one of the greatest eras in University of Idaho basketball history. The 6-foot-6 forward from Portland made an immediate impact when he arrived for the 1979-80 season and helped the Vandals win 17 games, ending a streak of eight consecutive losing seasons.
During his second season, the team posted a 25-4 record, a Big Sky Conference title, and a trip to the NCAA Tournament where it lost to Pittsburgh 70-69 in overtime.
During his junior year, Idaho went 27-3 in 1981-82 and knocked off Iowa in overtime in the NCAA tournament to advance to the Sweet 16, Idaho’s highest finish to date in the tournament, before Oregon State ended the Vandals’ dream season. Idaho won 20 games in Hopson’s senior season.
Hopson was a second team All-Big Sky selection for three straight seasons. He is on the program’s top 10 career list for games (115), points (1,226), field goals (515), field-goal percentage (56.6), rebounds (733) steals (127) and blocked shots (69).
Hopson went on to play professionally in Australia and Argentina, before returning to his native Portland to work with children.