From Maywood to the League: A look back at Proviso East .’s NBA pipeline

There are hundreds of players from Illinois who have gone on to play in the NBA. hundreds.

Many of the biggest basketball names in NBA history played high school basketball at gyms throughout the Chicago area. The names are legendary: Isiah Thomas of St. Joseph, Dwyane Wade of Richards, Kevin Garnett of Farragut, Derrick Rose of Simeon, Anthony Davis of Perspectives and more.

There were also plenty of obscure talents in the NBA who began their slow rise to professional basketball in Illinois, as well as major breakups and massive, transcendent success stories.

But one high school in Illinois runs the gamut when it comes to her NBA dreams and success while producing most of the NBA’s talent.

The criteria for creating the roster were simple: Players had to have played in at least one NBA game in their career.

There is one school that stands out above the rest: Proviso East School.

Maywood’s strong basketball center has produced scores of players who have played or are currently playing in the NBA. That list includes six first-round picks.

Simeon is next with seven NBA players, including four — Rose, Jabbari Parker, Kendrick Noone and Tallinn Horton Tucker — who were all on the NBA roster at some point last season. The rest of Simon’s list includes Nick Anderson, Bobby Simmons, and Zach Norville.

We’re at the start of the sixth straight decade with at least one Proviso East producer playing in the NBA. This does not go unnoticed by those from the past or present.

Proviso East coach Donny Boyce has starred in Proviso East and is part of the Pirates’ NBA legacy. As a coach, use it as a tool and a carrot.

“I definitely understood that by the time I was training there,” Boyce said of the Proviso East NBA pipeline. “I was digging into the heads of my players, especially that group that went through with Sterling [Brown] And Paris Lee and Jevon [Carter]. I reminded them that we’ve had a player make it to the NBA in every decade since the 1970s. Who will be next? “

Boyce grew up four houses away from the legendary Duke River home. He always played in Rivers’ backyard as a kid.

“They always let us come and play there with three rules: no cursing, no fighting and putting the ball back in when you’re done,” Boyce said. “Doc was such a teacher in so many ways to us as kids. He was always looking out for me. But having an NBA player as a neighbor was a huge thing for me.”

Proviso East and University of Illinois icon Dee Brown was not born and raised in Maywood. He did not arrive at Proviso East until his freshman year, and moved with his mother from the Austin neighborhood on Chicago’s West Side.

“It was a basketball decision because all I knew was that I was being told that I was going to be the first rookie in Proviso East history and would play with a 7-footed and future NBA player,” Brown said of giving me an instant chance to play with big man Stephen Hunter. “It was God’s plan, because I didn’t know much about anything about Proviso East before I moved there.”

But it didn’t take long to find out what basketball position he was a part of when he was a freshman in high school.

“Once I got there, I learned all about history,” Brown said. “Playing there and being a part of that basketball was something special. When you go to college and they ask you where you want to advertise in the starting line-up, it wasn’t Chicago. It’s Maywood and Proviso East. There’s something pride, growing up in their environment. You know what that is.” You’ll face him when you’re there, playing against future NBA talent and future Division I players.”

From Rivers to Boyce to Brown, the long list from Proviso East to Pros is impressive.

Below is a list of Proviso East players, listed by year in which they graduated from high school, along with their greatest achievements.

Jim Brewer (Class of 1969)

Proviso East stars Jim Brewer and Harvey Roberts celebrate the state championship at a military parade in Maywood in 1969.

The first big star named from Proviso East. He played en masse in Minnesota, where his number retired, after helping the Buccaneers to the program’s first state championship in 1969.

Brewer was the second overall pick in the 1973 NBA Draft, behind another Illinois producer, Doug Collins, from Benton.

The 6-9 Brewer played for four different teams over the course of nine NBA seasons, and finished with a career average of 5.8 points and 6.3 rebounds.

Glenn “Doc” Rivers (1980 class)

Doc Rivers plays in the Chicago State Summer League game in 1980.

Doc Rivers plays in the Chicago State Summer League game in 1980.

Chicago Sun-Times file photo

Without a doubt the biggest star to ever come out of Proviso East. The 6-3 guard was the McDonald’s All-American who starred in Marquette.

The 31st pick in the 1983 NBA draft, Rivers was an NBA star, ending his long 13-year career with 9,377 points and 4,889 assists.

Rivers has been more successful as a coach in the NBA. Currently the head coach for the Philadelphia 76ers, Rivers won more than 1,000 NBA games and led the Boston Celtics to the NBA title in 2008.

Reggie Jordan (Batch 1987)

After two years at Southwestern Junior College, the guard played 6-4 two seasons at New Mexico State where he averaged 14.6 points as a freshman.

Jordan went without drafting but made it to the NBA, playing for five different franchises in a supporting role. He played in 186 NBA games over parts of six different seasons and averaged 2.7 points in his career.

Michael Finley (1991 class)

Michael Finley playing for San Antonio in 2007.

Michael Finley playing for San Antonio in 2007.

The long and storied career includes being a focal point for the 1991 Proviso East State Championship team considered one of the best and most exciting in state history.

After a massive four-year career in Wisconsin, where he scored over 2,000 career points and retired his number, Finlay enjoyed a 15-year career in the NBA. He was a two-time NBA star and won the NBA title in 2007 with the San Antonio Spurs. Finley scored an impressive 17,306 points in his NBA career.

He now works in the front office for the Dallas Mavericks.

Donnie Boyce (1991 batch)

Proviso East fifth and coach in 1988. Left to right: Eric Lowery, Donny Boyce, coach Bill Heat, Darnell Busch and Al Glover.  On one knee, Mario Brown.

Proviso East fifth and coach in 1988. Left to right: Eric Lowery, Donny Boyce, coach Bill Heat, Darnell Busch and Al Glover. On one knee, Mario Brown.

Current coach at Proviso East. He led the Pirates to second place statewide in 2012 and third place in 2013.

As a player, Boyce was a star on the 1991 state championship team.

Although the record has since been broken, Boyce left Colorado as the program’s all-time leading scorer. Boyce set massive overall numbers for the Buffalo with a career average of 18.6 points, six rebounds and 3.8 assists over four seasons.

A second-round pick in the 1995 NBA Draft, Boyce played only 30 games with the Atlanta Hawks during two seasons in the NBA.

Cheryl Ford (class of 1991)

Sherrell Ford returned to the UIC Pavillion to attend the popular basketball game I Believe I Can Fly in 1997.

Sherrell Ford returned to the UIC Pavillion to attend the popular basketball game I Believe I Can Fly in 1997.

The third member of the famous “Three Amigos” who fueled the 1991 state championship team at Proviso East. At the time, Ford was arguably the biggest name among his high school classmates, Finley and Boyce.

After spending his first year at UIC, Ford became the most productive player in Flames basketball history. He placed over 2,000 points in just three seasons. His career averages were 22.9 points and 9.2 rebounds as he became the first ICU player to ever be drafted.

Ford was a first-round pick in the Seattle Supersonics—26th in the 1995 NBA Draft. He played one season with the Sonics, averaging 3.2 points in 30 games as a rookie. Ford played in the CBA and overseas for 10 seasons.

Stephen Hunter (1999 batch)

Stephen Hunter dunks in 1998.

Stephen Hunter dunks in 1998.

The tall, athletic and agile seven-footer was one of the country’s top 50 potential teams in 1999. He signed with DePaul but only spent two seasons with the Blue Demons. He averaged 9.9 points and 4.7 rebounds in those two seasons.

Hunter went on to play eight seasons in the NBA, primarily in a backup role. He averaged 15 minutes per game throughout his career, averaging 4.5 points and 3.2 rebounds.

De Brown (2002 class)

Proviso East stars in 2001: (LR) - Shannon Brown, Charles Richardson, Dee Brown and coach Troy Jackson.

Proviso East stars in 2001: (LR) – Shannon Brown, Charles Richardson, Dee Brown and coach Troy Jackson.

High school star and McDonald’s All-American who became a legend at the University of Illinois.

Brown was an all-American in Illinois while helping the Fighting Illini hit a record 37-2 and runner-up finish in 2005. He was part of two Big Ten teams.

Brown was a second-round pick of the NBA Draft. Having been selected by the Utah Jazz, he played a total of 68 NBA games for three different teams before a long and successful nine-year career abroad.

Brown begins his first season as head coach at Roosevelt after five seasons as an assistant coach at UIC.

Shannon Brown (2003 batch)

Shannon Brown playing against West Aurora in 2003.

Shannon Brown playing against West Aurora in 2003.

Considered one of the top five high schools in the country in the 2003 class, Brown signed with Michigan State. While in Michigan, he scored 1,183 points in three seasons. As a junior, Brown averaged 17.2 points and 4.4 rebounds before leaving for the NBA.

Cleveland selected Browns with the 25th pick in the 2006 NBA Draft. While never a full-time starter, Brown had a productive nine-year career in the NBA, playing for eight different NBA teams. He finished his career with an average of 7.6 points and won a pair of NBA titles while with the Los Angeles Lakers.

Jacob Boleyn (Batch 2007)

Jacob Boleyn drives the ball against Warren defenders Syola Clark and Marvin Pembry in 2006.

Jacob Boleyn drives the ball against Warren defenders Syola Clark and Marvin Pembry in 2006.

The scoring guard put on an exciting career at Kansas State, where he eventually became the program’s all-time leading scorer. He has scored over 2,000 career points for a wild cat, including an average of 20.2 as a senior. Bolin carries his name throughout the KSU record book as the all-time leader in three-pointers, and second all-time in both assists and steals.

Bolin’s NBA career consisted of playing in a total of three games for the Philadelphia 76ers in the 2017-18 season. He was 1 on 2 from the field and scored two points in the NBA.

Pauline had a long and influential career abroad and last season he played in the European Cup in Slovenia.

Stirling Brown (Class of 2013)

Sterling Brown at Proviso East relocated Bal lagainst Edwardsville in 2013.

Sterling Brown at Proviso East relocated Bal lagainst Edwardsville in 2013.

Part of some big wins as junior and senior at Proviso East. Brown led the Pirates to win a pair of state awards – second place in 2012 and third place in 2013.

Headed to SMU where he built a solid career, scoring 1,110 points in his career.

He played last season with the Dallas Mavericks, and completed his fifth season in the NBA. His best season came a year ago when he played 24 minutes a game and averaged 8.2 points for the Houston Rockets.

Jevon Carter (2014 batch)

Jevon Carter playing against Homewood-Flossmoor in 2013.

Jevon Carter playing against Homewood-Flossmoor in 2013.

A somewhat overlooked exit from Proviso East and recruited by most of the middle majors, Carter signed with West Virginia and emerged as the All-American National Defensive Player of the Year as a college player.

Selected in the second round of the 2018 NBA Draft by Memphis, Carter has found his niche in the NBA and has earned a reputation for being a highly valued player. He spent four seasons in the NBA and split time this past season with the Milwaukee Bucks and Brooklyn Nets.