GARY | The legacy of high school basketball in Gary doesn't have a close second.
Sure, Indianapolis has caught up in the past 20 years, but the Steel City's resume is filled with absolute greatness — individual and team.
It is also filled with some mystery, as the tale of Buster Glover is uncovered.
The 1984 Lew Wallace graduate was on the west side of the city for Friday night's Class 4A sectional semifinal. Buster was watching his son, JaRe' Glover, battle the state's No. 1 team, Munster.
It wasn't that long ago when the elder Glover was presumed dead. He left home on July 4, 1988 to visit his half-brother, Jerome Harmon, one of the best prep basketball players in Gary history. Buster didn't let his mother or girlfriend know where he was. That's when the “worst” dribbled into the minds of those back home.
It almost cost him his scholarship at Kansas State, too.
“I went to (University of Louisville) to see (Harmon) and started playing basketball with those guys,” Buster said. “I enjoyed myself. It was fun. I was young and made a bad choice. I didn't tell anyone and that's why they thought something happened to me.”
He did end up in Manhattan, Kan., and played with Mitch Richmond where they made it to the NCAA's Elite Eight, losing to Danny Manning and eventual national champion Kansas.
“I've coached (JaRe') since birth, all the way up,” Buster said before the Munster game. “That's why he can shoot so well.”
On Dec. 21 against Indianapolis Shortridge, Glover nailed seven consecutive 3-pointers and had a game-high 22.
In early February, Glover hit three 3-pointers in the first quarter in a game the Mustangs eventually won 47-39. The 6-foot-4 junior had a team-high 16 points.
On this Friday night it was a completely different story. Glover was 0-for-5 from the field as Munster dominated with a 62-46 win.
Cougars coach Murray Richards had tears in his eyes as he walked out of West Side's locker room Friday following the emotional loss.
“We came a long way,” Richards said. “All the kids told me that they loved me.”
Richards said he'd been told that the West Side boys basketball job will be opened. The word on the street, Richards said, is that Lew Wallace will not have sports next school year and Wallace students will get to pick which school they will attend.
That is why Richards believes his job could be in jeopardy.
“I really want to be back,” Richards said. “I think we came a long way. My dad died in October and this has kept me busy. That's why I'm so emotional now.”
Four of the Cougars starters will return. There is a lot of talent on this roster. Glover, who was unavailable after the game, is one of them.
“JaRe' is a very good shooter,” Richards said. “When he's on, he's on. When he's not, he's not. We got to get him to drive to the basket and work on his defense, but he has a chance to be a very good player.”
When Buster was playing Gary was at the top of the list in this state. Tonight, Munster and Lake Central will play for the Gary sectional championship.
If Lew Wallace stops sports, I believe Richards should remain as West Side's coach. The long-time Cougar has done a great job in just one year on the job.
If he disappears like Buster did, so might a new chapter in Gary's storied sports legacy.
This column solely represents the writer's opinion. Reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org.