By Mike Helfgot, Special to the Tribune
4:34 PM PST, February 14, 2013
Ben Wilson, 6-8, G/F, 1985
"Magic Johnson with a jump shot," Wilson was considered the No. 1 player in America when he was murdered following an accidental run-in near the school eight months after helping Simeon win its first city and state championships. Many believe he would have played with Simeon teammates Nick Anderson and Ervin Small at Illinois.
Nick Anderson, 6-5, G/F, 1986
Though he wore a Simeon uniform for just one-and-a-half seasons, his greatness as a high school player is impossible to ignore. He never approached the 25 points a game he scored as a Prosser sophomore, but it was his all-around excellence that earned Anderson the 1986 Mr. Basketball award. His 13-year NBA career is easily the longest among Simeon alumni.
Deon Thomas, 6-9, C, 1989
He came to Simeon without any organized basketball experience and left with the Illinois Mr. Basketball award. Never charged by the NCAA in the Bruce Pearl/Jimmy Collins recruiting controversy that followed his senior year, he is still the Illini's all-time leading scorer with 2,129 points. He's now the coach and athletic director at Lewis and Clark Community College following a successful 14-year career overseas.
Tim Bankston, 6-4, G, 1984
Best remembered for his starring role in Simeon's 53-47 victory over Evanston in the 1984 Class AA final, Bankston successfully stood up to the autocratic Hambric and was sent back down to the sophomore team after Hambric had called him up to varsity in 1982. "I told him those guys didn't want to win," Bankston said. He's now the varsity coach at south suburban T.F. North.
Andre Battle, 6-3, G, 1981
The star of Hambric's first teams went on to have a decorated career at Loyola, where he averaged 20.3 points as a senior and teamed with Alfredrick Hughes to lead the Ramblers to the Sweet 16 of the 1985 NCAA Tournament. He was selected in the third round of that year's NBA draft by the Boston Celtics but did not appear in an NBA game.
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