This weekend was a little different than most in Ft. Wayne. Despite the sudden death of co-director Bill Hensley two months ago, the tournament didn't miss a beat. Hensley's son Todd shared director duties with Gerald Hirschy and the weekend was as strong and well run as ever.
The weekend's success couldn't lessen the loss of one of grassroots basketball's true gentlemen. Bill was omnipresent at the event even if he wasn't physically there. His fingerprints on grassroots basketball in the state of Indiana and beyond will remain as a part of his legacy forever. Bill would have been proud!
Mean Streets Wins Big
Unlike Saturday night's big fight, Mean Streets didn't need to go to the judges to decide the annual Bill Hensley Memorial Run ‘n Slam championship. Instead, Tai Streets' club went to one of its big guys inside and got it done.
Josh Crittle, a Class of 2008 center, scored a game-high 15 points in the championship as his team defeated The Family 61-38. The lopsided score is didn't necessarily indicate a poor performance from The Family, it simply meant Durand "Speedy" Walker's team had zero gas left in the tank.
Mean Streets looked and acted like the most powerful team in the event and then went out and proved it. They went inside to Crittle and Michael Dunigan early, established a lead and then built on the margin. Meanwhile, The Family tried everything from four-man substation patters to emptying the bench early all with no response.
Paul Williams, SG, The Family – After an up and down spring, Williams dialed it in Sunday morning. His scoring helped as The Family ended Team Reebok's – playing in a tune up before its trip to Italy – chances of advancing. In his first two games of the morning, Williams scored 26 and 29 points respectively.
Kevin Dillard, PG, Mean Streets – The fresh Southern Illinois commitment was named the event's most valuable player. Picking an MVP from a unit which seems to share the spotlight well was tough. Dillard got the nod for his steady overall play and general toughness at his position. He's the successor to Brian Mullins at the point for the Salukis.
Iman Shumpert, PG/SG, Full Package – The fast-rising senior had 28, including 6 3-pointers in an early morning victory over the Michigan Mustangs. By tournament's end the buzz had caught up to Shumpert and the word was out and a spring blowup was on.
John Moran, PG, Ill. Wolves – It's not quite like being the quarterback at Notre Dame but playing the point for the Wolves does pay dividends. Consider the last handful of floor generals the team has churned out: Bobby Frasor (North Carolina), Bryan Mullins (Southern Illinois) and Sam Maniscalco (Bradley). Though not quite the prospect the first 3 were, Moran is going to be the team's 4th consecutive point man to land at least a mid level scholarship.
D.J. Richardson, SG, Illinois Stars 16 – One of the better 2009 prospects in the state, Richardson is a wiry guard with a big wingspan. He'll likely man the shooting guard role where he's capable of playing off the bounce and creating opportunities.
Dion Sims, SF/SG, REACH – He had his way with teams in the young division until the Stars knocked him out. As talented as he is on the hardwood, and he's a potential high level guy, the football Gods are tugging at him. Reportedly the biggest crowds for him occur when he's hooping it up and the football coaches line the gym walls.
D.J. Richardson scored it at 13 a clip last season during his sophomore year. He's been to Illinois, Bradley and DePaul. Mix in a little Purdue and you have the semblances of an initial list of schools. … Mean Streets wing Caleb Wright has offers from Loyola and Wyoming. Northern Illinois, Drake and DePaul are interested. …