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25 years ago, Proviso East fans watched basketball greatness

Local Government

By West Cook News | Feb 19, 2016

Reverse basketball rim

March will mark the 25th anniversary of Proviso East’s 1991 basketball state championship season, one that featured arguably the most talented, home-grown high school basketball team in U.S. history.

Its three star seniors -- Sherrell Ford, Donnie Boyce and Michael Finley-- were all selected in the NBA draft four years later.

Finley (21st selection), Ford (26th) and Boyce (42nd) were known then -- in Maywood and across Illinois -- as the “Three Amigos.”

Ford won Illinois Mr. Basketball honors. He and Finley also won the all-state tournament team.

Boyce (University of Colorado) and Finley (University of Wisconsin) both ended their college careers holding their school’s all-time scoring records.

At the University of Illinois Chicago (UIC), Ford ended his career ranking second (by 13 points) in scoring, albeit playing only three seasons. But he did hold school records for rebounds, field goals made and blocks, and had his UIC number (#24) retired.

Coach Bill Hitt, a Proviso East graduate and former Pirate basketball player himself, repeated the feat in 1992, bringing back-to-back state titles to Maywood. He retired from coaching a year later at age 43.

1991 Proviso East Pirates

Team Roster

Donnie Boyce

Ray Gay

Sherrell Ford

Michael Finley

Thaddeus Smith

Jamal Robinson

Kenny Davis

Walter Flowers

Terence Horton

Dan Jefferson

Rodney Woodruff

Tony Barthelemy

Coach: Bill HItt

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Proviso East High School

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