Thursday, December 13, 2012
Simeon players to pay tribute to Wilson
By Scott Powers
Chicago Simeon Career Academy's players are paying tribute to former Simeon star Ben Wilson this season by wearing custom-made Nike shoes with his name and number printed on them.
The players will begin wearing them Thursday's GEICO ESPN High School Basketball Showcase game against DeSoto in Texas.
Wilson was considered one of the nation's top high school players while attending Simeon in the 1980s. He was shot and killed during an altercation near the school prior to his senior season in 1984.
ESPN released the documentary "Benji" about Wilson's life earlier this year as part of its "30 for 30" documentary series.
"They wanted to have it this season for the '30 for 30' and to remember his legacy," Simeon coach Robert Smith said on Thursday. "He started the program as far as putting it on the national level. For those kids to still honor him and his legacy in a time when kids are only thinking about themselves, it's huge."
Some of Simeon's premier players have worn Wilson's former number, No. 25, to pay tribute to him. Former Simeon players Nick Anderson and Derrick Rose, who both went on to the NBA, wore No. 25 during their high school careers.
Simeon is ranked No.1 in the ESPN 25 Power Rankings and enters Thursday's game with a 1-0 record. The Wolverines are led by forward Jabari Parker, the nation's No. 2 senior, Illinois recruits Kendrick Nunn and Jaylon Tate, Dayton recruit Kendall Pollard and a number of other Division I prospects, including D.J. Williams, who is No. 23 in the sophomore class.
DeSoto is ranked No. 18 and has a 10-1 record. Its only loss was to Duncanville, which is ranked No. 22. DeSoto is led by Duke recruit Matt Jones.
The game is at 8:30 p.m. CT on ESPN and WatchESPN.com.