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Former Crete-Monee star passes away

02/18/2013, 7:12pm CST
By Pat Disabato pdisabato@southtownstar.com

Phil Henderson, a star basketball player at Crete-Monee who went on to lead the 1989-90 Duke men’s basketball team to the national championship game, died Sunday in the Philippines.


FILE - In this March 31, 1990, file photo, Duke guard Phil Henderson (3) drives around Arkansas forward Todd Day during the second half of their NCAA Final Four semifinal college basketball game in Denver. Duke head coach Mike Krzyzewski said Monday, Feb.

Phil Henderson, a star basketball player at Crete-Monee who went on to lead the 1989-90 Duke men’s basketball team to the national championship game, died Sunday in the Philippines.

No cause of death was given. He was 44.

A 6-foot-4 guard, Henderson averaged 18.5 points per game during the ’89-90 season and 22.3 points in tournament play that postseason, in which Duke lost to Nevada-Las Vegas in the title game.

A team captain his senior year, he scored 1,397 points during his career at Duke.

“On behalf of the entire Duke basketball family, we are deeply saddened to hear of the passing of Phil Henderson,” Duke coach Mike Krzyzewski said in a statement released by the school. “Our hearts go out to his mom and family. Phil was a talented player and a good man with a gentle soul. We will miss him dearly.”

Henderson was drafted in the second round of the 1990 NBA Draft by the Dallas Mavericks and played several seasons overseas.

“Phil was a soft-spoken, good guy who when we were on the floor, it was a lot of fun,” Alaa Abdelnaby, Henderson’s classmate and teammate at Duke, told the Durham Herald-Sun. “He was a lot of fun to play with. When he got it going, he was awfully fun to watch.”

As recently as 2011, Henderson was back at Crete-Monee. The boys basketball program was without a coach after the highly-publicized firing of Matt Ryndak at the conclusion of the 2010-11 season. Henderson, who graduated from Crete-Monee in 1986, offered his services to run the summer program, according to Crete-Monee athletic director Gene Cahan.

“He wanted to give back to the community,” Cahan said. “When he ran the camp, the kids looked up to him. He had instant credibility. He was successful, played at Duke and the NBA, just like every kid wants to. Phil did a great job running the camp. He was a great guy. A straight-up guy. He wanted to give back to the community.”

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