He was an American professional basketball player for the NBA's Chicago Stags and a collegiate athlete for the University of Illinois Fighting Illini basketball team. Vance was a three-time honorable mention All-American for the Fighting Illini and is most known for being of a part of the famed "Whiz Kids" at Illinois in the 1940s. He and the other Whiz Kids, Andy Phillip, Art Mathisen, Ken Menke, and Jack Smiley, are regarded as some of Illinois' all-time greats, but only he and Phillip are on the team's all-century team. Vance and his Whiz Kids teammates left basketball to serve in World War II in 1943. Vance was elected to the "Illini Men's Basketball All-Century Team" in 2004.
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