Network News

X My Profile
View More Activity
Posted at 1:50 PM ET, 03/ 7/2011

Wes Leonard's Fennville High School team will play in tournament

By Cindy Boren

Despite the death of star player Wes Leonard last week, the Fennville High School boys' basketball team will play in the Michigan state tournament tonight and Bo Kimble, a man who knows firsthand about their pain, is expected to be onhand.

Leonard, 16, died of an enlarged heart Thursday night shortly after hitting the game-winning basket in overtime for his 20-0 team. Kimble was a Loyola Marymount teammate of Hank Gathers, who died suddenly during a college basketball conference game 21 years ago Friday. Kimble said he would tell Fennville players that "I 100 percent understand what they're going through," he said on ESPN. Kimble memorably honored Gathers by shooting the first free throw in every game thereafter lefthanded. "I didn't get a chance to personally deal with my grief, other than shooting a left-handed free throw," Kimble said.

Loyola Marymount advanced to the Elite Eight before losing to UNLV.

"We had a lot to deal with quickly," Kimble told Sports Illustrated in 1990. "It was hard on everyone. But we knew Hank would have wanted us to play in the NCAAs. At the memorial service [in Loyola's Gersten Pavilion], I looked over and saw his coffin was in the paint. I knew then we would have to find a way to win for him."

Kimble, who'd been a friend of Gathers' for 10 years, didn't sleep for three days after Gathers died, and came to see that his vow to make "something happen" every time he touched the ball was unrealistic. "It may sound corny," Kimble told SI, "but it makes me believe I've got a little bit of Hank inside me. I feel his strength."

Kimble now is on the board of directors of 44 for Life, a non-profit organization that seeks to make defibrillators widely available and increase awareness about heart disease and sudden cardiac arrest.

By Cindy Boren  | March 7, 2011; 1:50 PM ET
Save & Share:  Send E-mail   Facebook   Twitter   Digg   Yahoo Buzz   StumbleUpon   Technorati   Google Buzz   Previous: The Miami Heat Clutch Reel, in all its glory
Next: Wes Leonard's Fennville High School team wins on an emotional night

No comments have been posted to this entry.

Post a Comment

We encourage users to analyze, comment on and even challenge's articles, blogs, reviews and multimedia features.

User reviews and comments that include profanity or personal attacks or other inappropriate comments or material will be removed from the site. Additionally, entries that are unsigned or contain "signatures" by someone other than the actual author will be removed. Finally, we will take steps to block users who violate any of our posting standards, terms of use or privacy policies or any other policies governing this site. Please review the full rules governing commentaries and discussions.

characters remaining

RSS Feed
Subscribe to The Post

© 2011 The Washington Post Company