Bobby Anderson has taken the Peoria All-Stars and made them into one of the best AAU basketball teams in the state. Now the program wants to go even higher, so former Peoria Manual great Curtis Stuckey is back in town and coaching alongside Anderson.
In 1986 Stuckey led the Rams to a third place finish in the Illinois state tournament. Stuckey went to college at Drake but ended up finishing his career at Bradley, where he averaged over 24 points per game.
"Curtis is a legend here in Peoria," Anderson said. "He just got elected into the Peoria Sports Hall of Fame; having him added to our staff will shore up a lot of things. For those who know him he's a detailed kind of guy and will hold every single kid accountable. He knows what these kids can do, and wants them to experience what he did during high school and college."
One challenge that will be tough for Stuckey is the travel. He now lives in Las Vegas, but he plans to come home and help with practice and games.
"I work with kids everyday," Stuckey said. "I'm a Foster Care Worker; I will do anything to help kids. I know kids look up to us as adults and need support. I grew up in Peoria; I hate to see our kids leave our area to go play for other programs. There's good basketball in Peoria. I just felt like giving back to the kids. If parents can't pay I'm going to help them any way I can. The more people that can do that for any kid the better they will be. That's why I'm doing what I'm doing."
The cupboard will not be bare for Stuckey and Anderson as the Peoria All-Stars are a very talented team. Tylon Deal of Peoria Richwoods is one of the top players on the squad. Deal recently concluded his season with 17 points and four rebounds as Richwoods fell to Morton in the first round of the sectional play.
Another up and coming star is Tony Banks of Peoria Central. In one game this year Central matched up with Springfield Lanphier and Karl Madison, one of the state's top members of the class of 2010. Banks matched Madison point for point, with each player scoring 30 points in the contest.
"Tony is one of the most improved players in the state," Anderson said. "He put up some monster numbers this year since D.J. Richardson (Prep School) left. He picked up the scoring load."
One of the other valuable members of the All-Stars is Keelan Prince of the Quad Cities.
"He came to us last year and did very well for himself and my team," Anderson said. "His high school team played Peoria Woodruff this year, and Keelan filled up the scoreboard with 33 points that night. He's really stepped up his rebounding and defense."
We'll have the All-Stars schedule on our message board, along with pre-season outlooks for the Chicago area teams and other teams across the state of Illinois.