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July 24, 2014, 9:40 pm

Sonny Hill League a must stop over years

For more than 30 years, the Sonny Hill Community Involvement Basketball League has been providing college basketball players with an opportunity to play ball in the summer. The league has players from Division I, II and III competing against each other.

The Sonny Hill College League was eventually renamed the Hank Gathers College League in memory of the late Hank Gathers, who starred in the league during the late ’80s. The league plays its games at Charles Audenreid High School, 32nd and Tasker streets. The college league has two games beginning Tuesday, July 17 at 5:30 p.m., featuring some of the best college basketball players in the Philadelphia area.

In taking a look back over the years, there have been a number of players who participated in one of the country’s best summer basketball leagues for college players. The list of some of the great players that have played in the league is very impressive.

Aaron McKie/ Temple

McKie grew up in the Sonny Hill League program. McKie played against his good friend and teammate Eddie Jones from Temple in the 1993 college league championship. McKie and Jones put on a show with both players scoring more than 30 points each. McKie’s team came out on top by four points in one of the league’s most exciting games.

McKie, former Simon Gratz and Temple star, was a key member of the 2001 76ers team that reached the NBA Finals. He is currently an assistant coach with the Sixers.

Jeffrey Clark/Saint Joseph’s

Clark was one of the early standouts in the college league. He was a terrific guard at Saint Joseph’s. A couple years ago, he was inducted into the Big 5 Hall of Fame. Clark is now a college basketball official.

Lionel Simmons/La Salle

Simmons had some great summers in the college league. Simmons improved his game each year at La Salle. In 1990, he was named college basketball’s player of the year. He scored over 3,000 points and grabbed more than 1,000 rebounds in his career with the Explorers. He was a first round pick of the Sacramento Kings. He played seven years in the NBA.

Pooh Richardson/UCLA

Richardson was a McDonald’s All-American coming out of Ben Franklin High School. In 1984, he led the Electrons to the Public League championship. He played four years at UCLA. In 1989, he was the first ever draft pick of the Minnesota Timberwolves. He played 10 years in the NBA. He came back to play in the college league to play with a lot of his colleagues during the summer.

Bo Kimble/Loyola Marymount

Kimble had a tremendous career at Loyola Marymount. He averaged 32.9 points a game his senior year. Kimble, a 6-foot-4 guard, was the eighth pick overall by the Los Angeles Clippers in the 1990 NBA draft. He had some huge games in the college league.

Hank Gathers/Loyola Marymount

Hank Gathers and Bo Kimble were a great inside-outside combination at Dobbins before they played together in college. Gathers was a great scorer, rebounder and defender. In 1989, he led the nation in scoring (32.7) and rebounding (13.7). Gathers always hustled at both ends of the floor.

Eddie Jones/Temple

Jones made his college debut in the college league. He was an explosive player in the open court. Jones and McKie played on three NCAA tournament teams at Temple. In 1993, they led the Owls to the Final Eight. In 1994, Jones was a first round pick of the Los Angeles Lakers. He played 14 years in the NBA.

Kyle Lowry/Villanova

Lowry scored 45 points in a college league championship game. Lowry, a 6-foot, 205-pound point guard, did a great job of penetrating and getting to the basket. In 2006, the former Villanova star was a first round pick of the Memphis Grizzlies. He spent the last three years with the Houston Rockets. He was recently traded to the Toronto Raptors and is one of the quickest playmakers in the NBA.

Michael Blackshear/Cheyney

Blackshear was a magnificent basketball player. He was one of the early standouts in the college league. He had a great college career at Cheyney. The Wolves were one of the country’s best Division II teams during his career.

Jerome Allen/Penn

Allen was a two-time Ivy League Player of the Year. The college league prepared him for the Ivy League season. Allen played in the NBA and played professional basketball in Europe. He is now the head coach at Penn.

Howie Evans/Temple

Evans was one of the top point guards in the college league. Evans, a former West Philadelphia High star, had a great career at Temple. He played on the Owls 1988 team, which was ranked No. 1 in the country.

Alvin Williams/Villanova

Williams played some great basketball in the college league. He had a solid career at Villanova. He played 11 years in the NBA, mostly with the Toronto Raptors. Williams played for the Raptors in an exciting seven-game series with the Philadelphia 76ers in 2001. The Sixers won the series in seven games. Williams is currently a scout for the Raptors.

Michael Anderson/Drexel

Anderson was a tenacious defender. He could steal the ball and take it coast to coast. He was an exciting college player at Drexel. He led the Dragons to the NCAA tournament. He scored 2,208 career points. He also played for the San Antonio Spurs.

Doug Overton/La Salle

Overton used the college league to polish his skills. He played four years at La Salle. Overton scored 1,795 career points with the Explorers. He handed out 671 assists at La Salle. Overton played several years in the NBA. He is currently an assistant coach with the Brooklyn Nets. His son, Miles Overton, plays for St. Joseph’s Prep.

Rip Hamilton/Connecticut

Hamilton used to make the trip down to the college league from Coatesville during the summer months. The 6-foot-6 guard led Connecticut to an NCAA championship. He won an NBA championship with the Detroit Pistons and currently plays for the Chicago Bulls.

Steve Black/La Salle

Black was a tremendous shooter. He could really connect from long range. He was a magnificent player at La Salle. He scored 2,012 career points, averaged 19.7 points a game and is a member of the Big 5 Hall of Fame.

Larry Stewart/Coppin State

Stewart won a college league championship in 1988. He played his college basketball at Coppin State for legendary coach Ron “Fang” Mitchell. He led the Eagles to the NCAA tournament. Stewart played in the NBA for the Washington Bullets, Vancouver Grizzlies and Seattle SuperSonics. He also played overseas. Larry had two other brothers, Stephen and Lynard Stewart, who also played in the college league. Stewart is currently an assistant coach at Bowie State.

Lynn Greer/Temple

Greer can really shoot the basketball. He had some big games in the college league. The 6-foot-1 guard had an outstanding career at Engineering and Science and Temple. He scored 2,099 points during his college career. Greer led the Owls to the 2001 Final Eight. He played one season for the Milwaukee Bucks in the NBA. He has played for several professional basketball teams in Europe. Greer played in Russia this past season.

Maalik Wayns/Villanova

Wayns has played a lot of basketball in the college league. He played every summer during his career at Villanova. The 6-foot-2, 200-pound guard, can play two positions. He led the Wildcats in scoring tallying 17.6 points a game. He also averaged 4.6 assists a game. Wayns is currently playing for the Golden State Warriors in the NBA Summer League in Las Vegas.

Dionte Christmas/Temple

Christmas was a scoring machine in the college league. In fact, he had quite a career at Temple, where he was one of the top scorers in the Atlantic 10 Conference. The 6-foot-5 guard is playing for the Boston Celtics summer league team.

Michael Jordan/Penn

Jordan was a sensational player at Penn. He helped the Quakers win Ivy League championships in 1999 and 2000. The Penn backcourt ace played some great basketball in the college league. Jordan has played professional basketball in Israel, Belgium, Italy, Spain and Greece.

Mardy Collins/Temple

Collins really benefited from playing in the college league. The 6-foot-6 guard gradually improved his game throughout his playing days at Temple. In 2006, he was a first round pick of the New York Knicks. He also played for the Los Angeles Clippers.

Mark Tyndale/Temple

Tyndale won a college league championship in 2007. He was the 2008 Big 5 Co-Most Outstanding Player of the Year. He scored 1,729 points, 733 rebounds and 377 assists during his college career. He has played pro basketball in Europe as well as in the NBDL.

Bruiser Flint/Saint Joseph’s

Flint played extremely well in the college league. He had a great career at Saint Joseph’s. He was one of the best point guards in the Atlantic 10 Conference. Flint is now the head basketball coach at Drexel.

Nate Blackwell/Temple

Blackwell was a regular in the college league. The 6-foot-4 guard could get his shot off any time. He knew how to get open. He had a great understanding of the game. Blackwell had a brilliant career at Temple scoring 1,708 points. In 1987, he was a second round pick of the San Antonio Spurs.

Marc Jackson/Temple

Jackson looked forward to playing in the college league. Jackson was named the 1997 Atlantic 10 Conference Player of the Year at Temple. He played seven years in the NBA including two seasons for the Philadelphia 76ers. He was inducted into the Big 5 Hall of Fame this year.  

Ramone Moore/Temple

Moore played a lot of basketball in the college league. The 6-foot-4 guard had a fine career at Temple. He was named first-team All-Atlantic 10 Conference. He averaged 17.3 points a game. Moore will play in The Basketball Alumni Legends League (The-Ball) game at Saint Joseph’s on August 5.


Contact Staff Writer Donald Hunt at (215) 893-5719 or This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. .