Remembering Crane's Tim Robinson

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Remembering Crane's Tim Robinson

Chet Walker, a member of the Naismith Hall of Fame who starred on the Chicago Bulls teams from 1969 to 1975, said he still can't understand why his former Bradley teammate Tim Robinson didn't make it to the NBA.
"Tim was a great player. He had all the talent that you could ask for in a young player. He had enough talent to go to the NBA," Walker said. "He was agile, could run the court, rebound and shoot. He had all the talent. I don't know why he didn't go to the NBA. He had the talent to be a star."
Robinson, a 6-foot-5 All-State forward from Crane, and Du Sable's Mack Herndon were recruited by celebrated Bradley coach Chuck Orsborn after graduating from high school in 1959. Because of NCAA rules, they couldn't play as freshmen. But they started with Walker on Bradley's 1960-61 team.
James Tim Robinson, who later played for six years with the Harlem Globetrotters, died last Wednesday after a long illness. He was 72.
In the 1950s, Crane's Tim Robinson was one of the icons of city basketball, along with St. Elizabeth's Arthur Hicks, Du Sable's Paxton Lumpkin and Charlie Brown, Marshall's Art Day and George Wilson, Dunbar's Mel Davis and Bernie Mills, Parker's Tom Hawkins and Wells' Frank Burks.
"I considered Tim one of my heroes at that time, he and Bernie Mills and Frank Burks," said Wilson, who led Marshall to state championships in 1958 and 1960. "He was a smooth player, shy but strong. He could jump and had a great jump shot."
Wilson, Robinson, Mills, Burks and other standouts of that era played regularly in the summer league at Marillac House at California and Jackson and at the 39th Street Park.
In 1959, Wilson's Marshall team beat Robinson and Crane 61-58 for the Public League title. As a sophomore in 1957, Robinson started on a Crane team that defeated Marshall 66-61 for the city title, then lost to Evanston in the supersectional.
"I got to know Tim, not just as a basketball player," Wilson said. "As you come through life, you meet special people and he was a special person in my life, in sports and life."
Chicagoan Ernie Jones, who played with Robinson on the Globetrotters for two years, recalled that his teammates used to refer to Tim as "Tim the Rim" for his jumping ability. Robinson, Meadowlark Lemon, Tex Harrison, Murphy Sammons and another Chicago native, Nat "Sweetwater" Clifton from Du Sable, spent a lot of time together on globe-trotting trips.
"Playing with the Globetrotters was a different thing," Jones said. "When it came to serious basketball, Tim played very well. At the end of the year, they selected players to play against the College All-Stars. Tim was one of those who was selected. He could play today. He was very versatile and a great athlete. And he was very much a gentleman."
Dr. Conrad Worrill, a longtime friend, still recalls how Robinson's Crane team defeated his Hyde Park team 60-59 in the 1957 Public League semifinals. "It was Marshall and Crane and Dunbar and Du Sable at that time, the most dominant teams in the city," he said.
"Tim was a gifted athlete. He played all positions in high school. He was the forerunner to players like Simeon's Jabari Parker, tall guys who could play all positions. Tim played guard and forward at Crane. He could handle the ball, shoot and rebounds. He was phenomenal in all phases of the game."
Born in Mississippi, Robinson's family moved to Chicago when he was an infant. His college career was cut short after the 1960-61 season when he and Alphra Saunders from Dunbar were dismissed from Bradley in the wake of allegations of point-shaving.
Robinson was employed by the Department of Human Services for more than 20 years as a social service worker in Chicago. In later years, he became involved with his church, Liberty Temple Full Gospel Church, and was preparing to become a minister.
He is survived by Yvonne "Bonnie," his wife of 38 years, three children--Christy, Bryant and Raquel -- and seven grandchildren.
Visitation will be from 4-8 p.m. on Thursday at Golden Gate Funeral Home, 2036 W. 79th. Services will be conducted on Friday at Liberty Temple Full Gospel Church, 2233 W. 79th St. The wake will be at 10 a.m., the funeral at 11 a.m.

High School Lites Week 8 basketball capsules

High School Lites Week 8 basketball capsules

CSN Chicago will have cameras covering the biggest high school basketball games across Chicagoland for another basketball edition of High School Lites. Catch the show live at 11 p.m. Friday on CSN and streaming at CSNChicago.com. This week's show has a lot of action between ranked teams as we have some important conference matchups on High School Lites. I'll be between two games this week with a solid rematch in the Mid-Suburban West between No. 20 Conant and No. 10 Fremd while No. 9 Marist heads to No. 24 Benet for a good game in the East Suburban Catholic Conference. We'll also have highlights from the Red-South, Central Suburban South, SouthWest Suburban Red, South Suburban Blue and Kishwaukee River. Our's Viewer's Choice Game of the Week heads to the Catholic League South as No. 23 Brother Rice heads to Bishop McNamara. And this week's Wintrust Athlete of the Week is Fremd senior Grace Tworek as the Harvard commit is coming off of a career-high 29-point performance last week.

THURSDAY

No. 1 Simeon at Bogan, 5:00 p.m. -- The Wolverines (17-0, 7-0) are already coming off of two wins this week over Fenwick and Harlan as the starters rested over Harlan in that win. The Bengals (12-6, 4-3) remain a dangerous team as they've played better ball since Jerome Bynum became eligible. 

FRIDAY

No. 20 Conant at No. 10 Fremd, 6:00 p.m. -- A big rematch in the Mid-Suburban West that saw Fremd win on the road earlier this season. The Vikings (16-0, 5-0) have one of the best defenses in the area as Ryan Martin did a great job defending Jimmy Sotos from Conant in the last matchup. The Cougars (15-3, 4-1) are trying to bounce back after a loss to Prospect as they're hoping to tie the MSL West race.

No. 9 Marist at No. 24 Benet, 7:30 p.m. -- The East Suburban Catholic Conference remains one of the toughest conferences in the Chicagoland area as this one should be good. Marist (19-1, 3-0) had their unbeaten streak broken on Tuesday against Brother Rice but senior big man Justin Brown had a huge game and should be a factor. Benet (14-5, 2-1) is trying to stay in the ESCC picture as seniors Jack Nolan and Liam Lyman are both playing good ball.

No. 16 Thornton at Thornwood, 6:30 p.m. -- The SouthWest Suburban Blue rivalry game should be a good one. Thornton (12-4, 4-0) is led by senior Alonzo Verge as he's putting together some big performances this season. Thornwood (7-8, 1-2) is trying to stay in the conference race at this point as they're coming off a loss to T.F. North.

Hillcrest at T.F. South, 7:00 p.m. -- Two 7-0 teams clash in the South Suburban Blue in this one. Hillcrest (12-5, 7-0) is looking to climb back into the CSN Preps Power Rankings as they're still a big threat in Class 3A. T.F. South (10-7, 7-0) is the surprise team in the mix in the conference as both teams are tied with T.F. North in the standings.

Marengo at Burlington Central, 7:00 p.m. -- We make a trip to the Kishwaukee River as the top two teams in the conference clash. But this game comes with a twist: Marengo (14-4, 2-0) lost at Burlington Central (16-1, 2-0) on Monday in the championship game of the Rockets' annual event. This time, the game counts in the standings as Burlington Central stopped Marengo's seven-game winning streak earlier this week.

No. 2 Evanston at Niles North, 7:30 p.m. -- The Wildkits (14-2, 4-0) are still unbeaten against Illinois teams as they have one of their tougher Central Suburban South games on the road at Niles North. Senior Nojel Eastern has plenty of weapons around him this season as Evanston continues to look very balanced. The Vikings (12-7, 2-2) are coming off of a 1-1 Monday at the Lake Zurich tournament as they try to stay with the Wildkits in league play.

Viewer's Choice Game of the Week

No. 23 Brother Rice at Bishop McNamara, 7:15 p.m. -- Our Viewer's Choice Game of the Week goes to the Catholic League South as the red-hot Crusaders (16-3, 4-0) head to Bishop McNamara. Brother Rice earned a huge win over previously-unbeaten Marist  on Tuesday as Mike Shepski and Josh Niego continue to have strong seasons. McNamara (13-4, 3-1) is right there with Brother Rice and Leo in the Catholic South race as they try to make a move here.

AP Illinois girls basketball rankings: Week 8

AP Illinois girls basketball rankings: Week 8

Here are the girls prep basketball polls with rank, team, first-place votes, record, total points and previous rank.

Class 4A

No. Team W-L Pts Prv
1. Montini (12) 21-0 120 1
2. Rock Island 22-1 96 2
3. Edwardsville 20-0 94 4
4. Homewood-Flossmoor 13-2 82 3
5. Benet 18-2 67 5
6. Rockford Boylan 19-1 48 6
7. Springfield 17-2 41 7
8. Hersey 18-2 33 8
9. Geneva 14-3 22 9
10. Oswego East 19-3 21 NR

Others receiving 12 or more votes: Bradley-Bourbonnais 12, Evanston Township 11

Class 3A

No. Team W-L Pts Prv
1. Chicago Marshall (7) 18-0 132 2
2. Morton (4) 19-2 123 1
3. Mattoon (1) 21-0 92 4
4. Highland (2) 16-3 87 3
5. Bethalto Civic Memorial 17-3 85 5
6. Richwoods 18-3 73 6
7. Rochester 14-3 56 8
8. Effingham 18-2 34 7
9. Normal University 16-3 32 NR
10. North Lawndale 14-3 13 10

Others receiving 12 or more votes: Litchfield 13, Peoria Central 8

Class 2A

No. Team W-L Pts Prv
1. Byron (11) 19-2 127 1
2. Eureka (1) 19-2 105 2
3. Teutopolis 20-2 96 3
4. Sherrard 20-2 92 4
5. Camp Point Central 19-2 72 5
6. Kewanee 21-3 50 9
7. Hall 18-5 47 6
8. Sesser-Valier (1) 19-1 41 8
9. Hillsboro 18-4 35 7
10. Gilman Iroquois West 18-2 11 NR

Others receiving 12 or more votes: Auburn 11, Arthur-Lovington-Hammond-Atwood 9, St. Edward 8

Class 1A

No. Team W-L Pts Prv
1. Lebanon (12) 19-0 135 1
2. Winchester (2) 20-0 123 3
3. Ashton-Franklin Center 18-2 97 2
4. Colfax Ridgeview 19-2 87 5
5 Mount Olive 19-2 81 6
6. Okawville 16-4 58 7
7. Danville Schlarmann 13-5 40 8
8. Calhoun 13-4 34 4
9. Princeville 21-2 29 9
10. Heyworth 20-1 26 NR

Others receiving 12 or more votes: Annawan 21, Galena 15