From March 21, 2011"Style Report" of ESPN The Magazine...
"(Derrick) Rose owes Chicago for making him the player he is: short on flash,
long on dash. Credit Robert Lueder, John Cifelli, Giulio Narcisi and Charles
Panici. In fact, they just might be responsible for every Chi-Town point guard
-- Isiah Thomas and Tim Hardayway included -- who has made
his mark on the NBA in the past few decades. That's because in 1968 those four
men met south of the city in Chicago Heights and founded Small Fry, a basketball
league limited to preteen kids 5-foot-1 or shorter. The program has since gone
nationwide, but its roots remain strongest locally. The result: a constant
supply of small, quick guards."
Current NBA standoutsTyler Ulis (Chicago Heights, Kentucky) of the Phoenix Suns, Jose Juan Barea (Torrimar, Northeastern) with the Dallas Mavericks got their starts in Small Fry Basketball, along with former NBA Stars Will Bynum (West Pullman Runners), Chris Quinn (Highwood), Nick Van Exel (Kenosha, Wis.), Kenny Anderson
(New York), Charley Scott (New York), Craig Hodges and Lloyd Walton (both Chicago Heights, Ill.).
Meanwhile, Highwood's Kristi Cirone, a 3-time Missouri Valley Player of the Year at Illinois State, was a member of the WNBA's Connecticut Sun.
Veltra Dawson played on Villanova's NCAA Champion team and Homewood, Ill. has produced two NFL quarterbacks in Donovan McNabb and Mike Tomczak, formerly with the Super Bowl
Champion Chicago Bears.
More recent success stories include Small Fry alums leading their colleges to the NCAA Final Four. Dee Brown (Washington Jaguars) helped lead Illinois to the 2005 NCAA
title game and Sean Dockery (West Pullman Runners) sparked Duke to the 2004 Final Four, as well as ACC Tournament titles in 2005 and 2006.
The Windy City has produced several eventual stars,
including Bynum (currently playing in Israel), who led Georgia Tech to the NCAA title game, and the Runners' Cordell Henry, who sparked Whitney Young to the state title and
Marquette to a Sweet 16. West Pullman Express product Earl Brown played in Switzerland and Zach Ramey played internationally as well. Ahmad Starks (And 1, state title at Whitney Young) played at Oregon State and Illinois.
March 2008- Highwood alum Kristi Cirone
earned her second straight Missouri Valley MVP, won the MVP honor in the conference tournament in leading her Illinois State team to the NCAA Tournament. She competed in the MVC with Homewood alum
Skye Johnson at Bradley.
Homewood actually had six current Division I basketball athletes at one time, including Johnson, Maurice Acker at NCAA qualifier Marquette, Billy Humphrey
at NCAA qualifier Georgia, Vance Cooksey at Youngstown State, Cameron Lee at Iowa State and David Posley at Cal-Santa Barbara.