Sunday, December 13, 2020




West Suburb Maywood, Broadview, & Bellwood

Western Suburb area

East St. Louis



In our next issue, we will provide more information regarding the players selected below. It will be fun talking about these players.

Billy McKinney 6-0 PG Zion-Benton 1973 Northwestern University

Corky Calhoun 6-7 F Waukegan 1968 University Penn

Jerome Whitehead 6-10 C Waukegan 1973 Marquette University

Del Yarbrough 6-8 PF North Chicago 1976 Illinois State University

Rob Judson 6-1 PG Zion-Benton 1976 University Illinois

Patrick Tompkins 6-6 F/C Waukegan 1987 University Wisconsin

Brian Colbert 6-3 G Zion-Benton 1974 University Wisconsin

Admiral Scofield 6-5 F Zion-Benton 2015 University Tennessee

Bobby Worthington 6-7 F Zion-Benton 1984 Michigan State University

Brandon Paul 6-6 G Warren Township 2009  University Illinois


This is also a talented group of players produced in the Burbs. Some of these guys played in an era where our State was loaded with talent/players. Those were very special times. 

Quinn Buckner 6-3 PG Thornbridge 1972 Indiana University

“The National player of the year his senior season, led the Falcons to back-to-back State Titles in 1971 (31-1) and 1972 (33-0) arguably one of the finest teams in the state history. Buckner recorded 28 points, 11 rebounds and 7 assists in the state final against Quincy 104-69. The 2-sport star won a national title at Indiana in 1976 and was the seventh overall draft pick by Milwaukee the same year. Won a title with Boston in 1984. Remains the talk of the South Suburbs.”

Kendall Gill 6-5 G Rich Central 1986 University Illinois

“An exhilarating athlete which he displayed during the 1986 State Tournament Final in a 47-40 defeat to King featuring Marcus Liberty and Levertis Robinson. At Illinois Gill was a key member of the flyin’ Illini team that made it to the final in 1989. Chosen fifth overall in the 1990 NBA draft by Charlotte Hornets. Played 15 years in the League. Current television analyst for the Chicago Bulls.”

Craig Hodges 6-2 G Rich East 1978 Long Beach State

“Legendary status in Park Forest averaged about 25pts a night his senior season, had a good high school career that took him out West to Long Beach State, that’s where he caught the attention of NBA scouts. Hodges was drafted in the 3rd round by the San Diego Clippers. Spent 10 years in the NBA, including two NBA Championships with the Chicago Bulls. He won three consecutive three-point contests during All-Star weekend 1990, 1991, and 1992. Coached at Chicago State for several years.”

Lloyd Batts 6-5 G Thornton 1970 University Cincinnati

“A highly decorated scorer throughout his career, built quite a reputation on the playgrounds in the South Suburbs. He averaged 29 points as a junior and 35 his senior year. Lloyd was a 2-time All-Stater and was named Sun Times player of the year as a senior in 1970. He left Thornton as the all-time leading scorer with over 1,600 points. While at Cincinnati Batts tallied 1,585 career points, was drafted in fourth round by the Kansas-Omaha Kings and the ABA Kentucky Colonels also in the 4th round. Played in the ABA for few years before heading over to play nine seasons in Europe.”

Rod Higgins 6-7 F Thornton 1978 Fresno State University

“After standout high school career which sort of went un-noticed along city boarders. Rod like Craig Hodges took his game to the West Coast where he blossomed into a star. Higgins was drafted in the second round by the Chicago Bulls, he played 13 seasons in the League averaging 9 points and 3.6 rebounds. After his playing days, he served as an Assistant Coach with Golden State until 2000. He re-joined the Warriors in 2004 working in the front office, in 2007 he was hired as the General Manger for the Charlotte Hornets.”

Eddy Curry 6-10 C Thornwood 2001 Chicago Bulls

“The big fella was man-child in junior high towering over opponents at 6-6. He racked up 32 points and 12 rebounds and went 12 of 14 from the field in the State Final where his Thornwood team was upset by Schaumburg in 2001. That game was often remembered as the biggest upset in state history. Curry amassed 2,118 points, was Mr. Basketball in Illinois and a McDonald All American. He was taken fourth overall in the 2001 draft by the Chicago Bulls, he was selected straight out of high school.”

Melvin Ely 6-10 C Thornton 1997 Fresno State University

“As a sixth-seventh grader, he was a gangly fella. By the end of his 8th grade year you could see a blossoming six-foot five cager shaping to become one of the best shot-blockers & finishers in the area. To this day we still haven’t seen any big guys swat shots like he did. Ely was a 2-time WAC player of the year at Fresno, played for legendary Coach Jerry Tarkanian. After a stellar Collegiate career, Ely was selected twelfth overall by the LA Clippers in 2002 draft. In the 2006-07 season he was an NBA Champion with the San Antonio Spurs. Played in the NBA 9 seasons.”

Jim Ard 6-8 PF Thornton 1966 University Cincinnati

“Was a standout at the South Suburb School that was vastly becoming recognized for producing professional athletes in that era. His senior year he led Thornton to a State Title and was named to the All-State team. Ard was heavily recruited, reportedly over a hundred Colleges offered scholarships. He opted to attend Cincinnati where he became a three-year starter and was named MVC first team honors all three years. His senior season averaged 19.2 points and 15.2 rebounds per game. Dynamite shot-blocker had 10 in one game. Ard, was selected sixth overall in 1970 by Seattle Super Sonics, also the same year he was drafted by the New Jersey Nets in the ABA, where he played 3 seasons. Won an NBA Championship with Boston in 1975. He had an eight-year professional career.”

Julian Wright 6-8 F Homewood-Flossmoor 2005  University Kansas

“Developed into an electrifying prospect by his junior season where his H.F. squad dropped a State Title game to Peoria Central led by Shaun Livingston in 2004. In 2005 his senior year he was ranked as one of the nations top 10 players and some of us will never forget the performance he put on in South-Bend at the McDonald All-American game, he was breath taking at times. Wright’s freshman season at Kansas averaged 8.5 points per game and was named to the All-Big 12 Tournament team and All-Big 12 freshman team. Sophomore season he was named third team All-American, decided to turn pro, was drafted 13th overall by New Orleans in 2007. Wright is currently playing in Europe and has been since 2012. Played 4 years in the NBA which stuns a lot of us observers.”

Audie Matthews 6-5 G/F Bloom 1974 University Illinois

“Finished his 3-year varsity career as one of Bloom’s all-time greats as well as one of the finest players to suit-up for the Illini. Audie was a two-time All-Stater, led his team downstate 3 consecutive seasons before moving on to Illinois where he was named the team’s most valuable player his last 2 seasons. He averaged 12.1 points his senior year for his career 11.0. Scored 1,210 points in his College career. Audie started 84 consecutive games for the Illini. He was selected by the Detroit Pistons in the 6th round of the NBA draft. 

HONORABLE MENTION: Claude White - Bloom 69; Townsend Orr – Thornridge 90, Tracy Webster – Thornton 90; Boyd Batts – Thornridge 72; Raymond McCoy – Bloom 79, Sam Mack -Thornridge 88; Phil Henderson – Crete 86.


“I’ve always found it fascinating as to where our players originate from throughout our state, certain pockets of our state have had lofty traditions of producing top-notch athletes. The Land of Lincoln has pushed out some terrific talent throughout the years, we still do today but not at the clip or caliber of what we were once sprouting out at a high volume.”

Isiah Thomas 5-11 PG St. Joseph 1979 Indiana University

“Born and raised on the Chicago West Side, had a marvelous high school career at the Westchester School. Thomas, as a junior guided St. Joe’s to the title game in 1978 where they were defeated by unbeaten Lockport team. Thomas led Indiana to an NCAA Championship in 1981 and proceeded to have an illustrious Hall of Fame career with the Detroit Pistons where he won two NBA Championships. Arguably the best player to ever come out of Chicago. He’s an NBA Hall of Famer.”

Maurice Cheeks 6-1 PG Du Sable 1974 West Texas State

“Grew-up on the Chicago South-Side in the Robert Taylor housing projects. Little known in high school, observers recognized he was a hidden gem after his high school days. He was part of a package with All-City front court player William Dise which led the pair to West Texas State; Dise would eventually transfer to DePaul. Cheeks’ steady all-around floor game caught the attention of the Philadelphia 76ers who drafted him round 2 in 1978. He would go on to play 11 of his 15 seasons with them, he was a 4-time NBA All-Star, and a 5-time all-defensive selection. Inducted into the NBA Hall of Fame in 2018, won a NBA Title with the 76ers in 1983.Current Assistant Coach with Chicago Bulls.”

Mark Auguirre 6-6 F Westinghouse 1978 DePaul University

“West-side native begin his prolific high school career at Austin High where he first drew attention as a pudgy high-scorer. Transferred to Westinghouse his sophomore year, his play soared by his senior season, he was consensus national player of the year and a McDonald’s All-American selection in 1978. His Westinghouse squad lost to Isiah Thomas and St. Joe’s 63-60 in the 1978 quarterfinals. Aguirre enjoyed a stellar career at DePaul, received National All-American honors and was drafted by the Dallas Mavericks with the No.1 pick in 1981. Played 13 years in the NBA, 3-time All-Star won 2 Championships back-to-back with Detroit.”

Cazzie Russell 6-5 WF Carver 1962 University of Michigan

“Altgeld Gardens finest; In 1962 he was named the Chicago Sun-Times boys’ player of the year. Cazzie led carver to second place finish in the State Tournament that year. He averaged over 30 pts a game. A three-time College All-American averaged 30.8 points per game his senior year, finished his collegiate career 2,164 points. 1966 Russell was the overall No.1 pick in the NBA draft. Spent twelve seasons in the NBA, won a Championship with the New York Knicks in 1970.”

Terry Cummings 6-9 PF Carver 1979 DePaul University

“A bruising front-court scorer & rebounder on the high school circuit, his senior season at Carver scouts started to take notice of Terry’s overwhelming potential. He attracted the attention of DePaul’s coaching staff, he went on to achieve first team All-American status in 1982 after 3 seasons with the Blue Demons, that same year he was the second overall pick by the San Diego Clippers. Terry won NBA rookie of the year award after the 1982-83 season and would play in the 1985 and 1989 NBA All-Star games. Played in the League for 18 years, we don’t see many players in Chicago similar to him these days.”

Ricky Green 6-0 PG Hirsch 1973 University Michigan

“A South-Side heart-throb, the speedster teamed with big-man John Robinson to lead Hirsch to a State Championship his senior year. The Huskies sped pass New Trier East 65-51, finishing the season with a 29-2 mark. Green, along with Robinson, led Michigan to the NCAA Title game in 1976 where they lost to a really good Indiana University team led by South Suburb native Quinn Buckner. Green, was named first team All-American in 1977 and was selected in the first round of the NBA draft by the Golden State Warriors. Ricky played 12 years in the League and was selected to the NBA All-Star team in 1984.”

Eddie Johnson 6-7 F Westinghouse 1977 University Illinois

“West-Sider was instrumental in helping Westinghouse gain basketball relevance during that time, they captured the 1977 City Title. That team included NBA standout Mark Aguirre and highly touted guard Skip Dillard; they formed a potent high-scoring line-up. Johnson was already recognized as a dangerous long-distance shooter back then; he was named second team parade All-American his senior year 1977. He would go on to have a solid Collegiate career at Illinois and was drafted by the Kansas City Kings in 1981. Johnson played 17 seasons in the NBA. He accumulated 19,202 career points. In 1989 he won the NBA sixth man of the year award. Johnson is currently a color commentator for Phoenix Suns and Arizona State Men’s Basketball as well as the WNBA’s Phoenix Mercury.”

Hersey Hawkins 6-4 G Westinghouse 1984 Bradley University

“West-Side native was a center/post player in high school, was little known back then but was discovered under the watchful eye of Dick Versace & the late Tony Barone. In 1988 he won NCAA player of the year, Hawkins played four seasons at Bradley, went on to capture consecutive Missouri Valley player of the year awards. He averaged 36.3 points per game leading the country in scoring his senior season. The Los Angeles Clippers selected him sixth overall in the 1988 draft, but his rights were traded to the 76ers. Hawkins played 13 seasons and was selected 1991 All-Star game. Arguably one of the best to come out of the Chicago Public League.”

Juwan Howard 6-9 F Vocational 1991 University of Michigan

“South Side product became the first basketball player that gained national recognition from a school that notably produced football players such as, Hall of Famer Dick Butkus and Keenan Turner of the 49ers. Howard was the first team parade All American and was selected to the prestigious McDonald All-American game. At Michigan he became a pivotal fixture with the Famed Fab 5. He was a third team All American in 1994 and played in the NCAA Championship game in 1992 and 1993. Howard was drafted fifth overall in the 1994 draft by the Washington Bullets, he had an NBA playing career that spanned 18 seasons, he was selected to the NBA All Star game in 1996. Won 2 NBA Championships with Miami Heat in 2012 & 2013. Current Coach at his Alma Mater Michigan year two. 

Maurice “Bo” Ellis 6-9 F Parker 1973 Marquette University

“Outstanding high school career prepped in the nearby Hamilton Park neighborhood, was a first team parade All-American in 1993. He also performed in one of the very first Dapper Dan Classic’s in Pittsburgh. Averaged over 20 points per game his senior year at Parker High. At Marquette he played on some really talented teams and was a third team All-American his senior year while going on to win NCAA National Championship in 1977. Was selected by the Washington Bullets with the 17th pick in 1977 draft, played 3 seasons in the League with the Denver Nuggets. Bo, a Chicago favorite son coached at Marquette from 1988-1998 and then would move on to become the Head Coach at Chicago State from 1998-2003. His No.31 is retired at Marquette.”

Derrick Rose 6-2 G Simeon 2007 University Memphis

“His athletic package in high school was amazing. He will eventually crack the top 5 or 6 to ever lace’em up from the windy city. His hoops lore isn’t complete yet, Rose is in his 12th season & still scripting his legacy. He was named the State’s Mr. Basketball and McDonald All-American in 2007. He was No.1 overall draft pick in 2008 by his hometown team Chicago Bulls, currently playing in Detroit. In 2011 at age 22 he won the League MVP, becoming the youngest player to win League MVP in history.”

Anthony Davis 6-10 F Perspectives Charter 2011  University Kentucky

“South-side native burst on the scene before the start of his senior year at the little-known school- Perspective. His play at the Nike Peach Jam propelled him to the No.1 player in the country which landed him an invite to the McDonald All-American game. Anthony averaged 32 points, 22 rebounds, & 7 blocks his senior year. Freshmen year at Kentucky, Davis was named Naismith/Wooden player of the year, he swept all the post season awards after Kentucky won the National Championship. New Orleans Hornets selected him as the No.1 pick in 2012. Davis is still carving out his legacy, he probably will go down as the finest talent produced out of Chicago. He just won NBA Title with the Los Angeles Lakers a couple of months ago.”

Quentin Richardson 6-5 G/F Whitney Young 1998 De Paul University

“I will always have a bias opinion of where this productive standout looms among the greatest players to come out of our state in any era. In my 45+ years of watching high school hoops, I still have not witnessed very many young cats dominate a game the way Q. Rich did. He was a monster to contain inside and would go outside and spray defenders with his sweet jumper. One memorable night at Hales Franciscan in his sophomore year at a Thanksgiving Championship game versus a South Shore team that featured high jumping senior Paul McPherson (future draft pick of the Phoenix Suns) Richardson recorded 38 points & 22 rebounds in a Whitney Young Victory, after that outing I knew this kid was on his way to something special. He was clearly named most valuable player of that Tournament. Q. Rich won a State Championship in 1998, in 4 games he scored 86 points including 32 points & 16 rebounds in a quarterfinal win against Elgin. Then he had a stellar performance at the McDonald All-American game. Freshman year at DePaul he was Conference USA player of the year, after sophomore season in 2000 he was drafted No.18 overall by the LA Clippers. Q. won the 2005 NBA three-point shootout, played 13 seasons in the NBA.” 



Nothing has changed much with many players still left on the grid.

Anthony Sayles 6-3 G MM 10 Niles Notre Dame

“A missed opportunity to show coaches he can shoot consistently on the perimeter.”

Tevin Smith 6-4 G/F MM 9 Danville

“Has had a chance to get healthy, talented player/scorer.”

Grant Newell 6-7 F MM 11 Whitney Young

“Missed an early opportunity to show viewers what his game looks like.”

Jakobi Heady 6-6 WG MM 20 Hillcrest

“Swingman type could be a surprise within a class in a year or so.”

Ola Ajiboye 6-8 WF MM-LM+ 22 Evanston

“This was a change of scenery that was supposed to heighten his value.”

Tommy Williams 6-4 G LM+ 27 Belleville West

“Considered one of the best players in the Metro East area.”

Nathanel Hoskins 6-4 PG LM+ 28 Danville

“Still has several academic schools showing serious interest for his services.”