CHAMPAIGN, Ill. (WAND) -- Blake Schilb has had one of the greatest professional careers in the history of Central Illinois basketball.

The Rantoul native and his family arrived back in the United States on Monday afternoon as the COVID-19 situation complicates his professional season for Champagne Châlons-Reims, as well as his short-term future. Will he retire? Will he continue playing?

No matter his next few steps, one thing is clear: Blake Schilb is a 217 legend, not just for his prolific career that spans four countries, 13 seasons and an All-America nomination while at Loyola University.

Schilb's story is an inspiration because of how he has handled himself off the court. A self-described troubled kid during his Rantoul Township High days, Schilb has taken his second chance in life and soared.

He and his wife have four children, ages three to 12. He's an exemplary role model as a father whose character on and off the court was recognized by Elan Chalon, the French A League team that he starred for in the first half of his career. They honored him with a tearful ceremony in front of a packed arena.

Now begins Blake Schilb's next chapter: helping to give back to the game that enabled him to travel the world. He's in search of a role that will help him minister to kids who were in the same predicaments that he found himself in as a high school student.

And that's what makes him a Central Illinois hero.

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