Bob Hambric is gone, but Tim Bankston wants to make sure his former high school coach is never forgotten.
T.F. North's basketball boss, a 1985 graduate of Simeon and member of the Wolverines' 1984 Class AA championship squad, is assembling a Who's Who of Chicago area hoops powerhouses to take part in the inaugural Bob Hambric Memorial Classic. The tournament is slated to be held Jan. 8-9 at North, with proceeds to go to the Coaches Vs. Cancer charity.
Hambric succumbed to the disease last summer. Bankston and current Simeon coach Robert Smith developed the idea of a tournament to honor Hambric shortly after the latter's passing.
"The impact he had on me and so many others was great," Bankston said of Hambric. "He prepared you to be a man first and a good person when you're dealing with people, and taught us to have the foresight to give back to others."
In addition to T.F. North and Simeon, other schools that have already signed contracts to appear in the Hambric Classic include Thornton, East Chicago Central, Richards, St. Joseph, Farragut, North Lawndale, St. Joseph, Evanston, Peoria Central, Bogan, Orr and Rantoul. Hillcrest has verbally committed, and Bankston hopes to eventually complete a 20-team field.
He is also in the process of having a website developed that will allow fans to vote for the matchups they most want to see. Bankston compares the event to the annual City-Suburban Shootout that is held in Chicago.
"We really don't have anything with that type of flavor out in the south suburbs," Bankston said.
For more information on the tourney, call (708) 585-1034.
Thornridge football coach Mike Morrissey has several talented players who can play different positions.
One is senior Dimitri Johnson, who at 6 foot, 3 inches and 215 pounds, will see action on both sides of the ball.
"He can play tight end, wide receiver, linebacker or defensive end," Morrissey said. "He is quick enough to play some defensive back too."
Smarts up front
Crete-Monee football coach Jerry Verde is confident in three-year starter Cody Hock. The left tackle is expected to be a leader of this year's team.
"He could be the smartest player we've ever had," Verde said. "He is an excellent leaer and he does it by example."
Hock said the Warriors are not going to rest on their program-best 10 wins last season.
"We do not want to be a one-and-done team. Our goal last year was not to just get to the (Class 6A) quarterfinals," Hock said. "We have some younger kids, but that is why I am here for them. When I started as a sophomore, I had seniors who showed me the way."
He said he learned a lot from graduated linemen Brad Wiater and Matt Finnin.
"They taught me how to lead and by the end of last year, I was becoming a leader," Hock said. "We are coming together and part of making sure we do is my job."
Lots of Rebels
T.F. South has over 170 players out for football throughout its four levels.
"That's encouraging that we're getting the kids out here and they're willing to put in the time," South coach Tom Padjen said.
The Rebels, like every program in District 215, are down a coach due to budget cuts.
Tee it up
The Mt. Carmel Invitational starts at 12:30 p.m. Saturday at The Meadows. It will be a shotgun start.
Local teams besides the Caravan are Homewood-Flossmoor and Illiana Christian.
"It's always a good tournament and the people at The Meadows really accommodate us," Caravan coach Tom Nicklas said. "Loyola, Providence and Fenwick, they are gonna be the top three on Saturday."