Former West Philadelphia High School, Duke University and NBA standout Gene Banks. — tribune file photo

When Duke defeated St. John’s 77-68 on Sunday to give the Blue Devils Hall of Fame coach Mike Krzyzewski his 1,000th career win, former West Philadelphia High and Duke All-American Gene Banks was really happy for Coach K. The victory made him the first NCAA Division I men’s coach to reach this milestone.

Banks played for Duke from 1977 to 1981. He played his first three seasons for head coach Bill Foster, but his final season was under Krzyzewski. This was Coach K’s first year at Duke.

“I’m proud,” Banks said. “I’m happy. I’m elated — all the positive feelings for him. I feel a oneness with him. I’m a thread with him in his career. He’s kept that with me every year.

“I spend four or five days with him every May. I’m always spending like four or five days down in Durham (N.C.). We always rehash and talk about the days of old. He and I have a strong connection especially with the respect I have for him. It’s not even about Xs and Os. He’s always talking about family. That’s what I admire about him more than anything else. It’s about family. We always talk about family and life.”

Banks is certainly a big part of the Duke family. In 1978, Banks led the Blue Devils to the NCAA Finals. He was one of the top players in ACC history. The four-time All-ACC honoree finished his career with 2,079 points and 985 rebounds.

In 1981, he was a second-round draft pick of the San Antonio Spurs. He played six seasons in the NBA, four with San Antonio and two with the Chicago Bulls. He feels Coach K’s coaching prowess had a big impact on his basketball talents.

“I knew he was good,” Banks said. “He was instrumental in me winning the scoring title in the ACC. He converted and changed some things in my game and prepared me for the pro game.”

DeAndre’ Bembry earns A-10 and Big 5 Player of the Week honors

Saint Joseph’s basketball standout DeAndre’ Bembry has been named the Atlantic 10 Co-Player of the Week and the Big 5 Player of the Week. Bembry shares the A-10 award with Tyler Kalinoski of Davidson.

It was his first A-10 honor of the season. The Hawks sophomore forward averaged 25.0 points, 5.5 rebounds, 4.5 assists, 3.0 blocks and 2.0 steals in the Hawks 1-1 week. In the win over Massachusetts, he had 25 points, eight rebounds, seven assists, three blocks and five steals. Then, he had 25 points against Penn in a loss.

Bembry, a Charlotte, N.C. native, leads the Hawks in every category averaging 17.5 points, 6.5 rebounds, 3.1 assists, 1.2 blocks and 1.9 steals a game. He is the A-10’s top scorer in conference games, tallying 20.2 points a game.

Ben Franklin to host high school basketball showcase

Basketball fans will have an opportunity to see some of the top high school players in Philly on Saturday, Jan. 31 at the Back 2 Basics Shoot for The Stars Play By Play City Classic. There will be four games at Ben Franklin High School.

The games include: Capital Christian vs. PET (1 p.m.), Imhotep Charter vs. Life Center (2:45 p.m.), Timbercreek vs. Martin Luther King (4:30 p.m.) and Hun School vs. Phelps School. The cost is $10.00.


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