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Small Fry alums NCAA bound: The 2008 tourney featured Illinois State's Kristi Cirone (Highwood), Marquette's Maurice Acker (Homewood) and Georgia's Billy Humphrey (Homewood). Thanks to: Dennis Banks/ISU Media Relations and Marquette/Georgia web sites.

Former Chicago Heights Small Fry standout Tyler Ulis was the 34th pick in the 2016 NBA Draft by the Phoenix Suns. The Kentucky star earned SEC Player of the Year and Defensive Player of the Year honors in 2016.

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. Highwood product 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.

2007, 08, 09 Missouri Valley MVP Kristi Cirone (Illinois State)/ISU Media relations.