When T.J. Ford retired from the NBA yesterday, memories of middle school started to flood in. Being from the same area as Willowridge (and to an extent Hightower High School), athletes from all over the area had made a name for themselves and were primed for bigger things. No one squad set that table better than Ford’s two Willowridge teams that went 75-1 under his generalship and won two consecutive state titles.

Daniel Ewing was on that team. You remember him, he went to Duke. Same for Ivan McFarlin who went to Oklahoma State. They were the absolute kings in Missouri City, making every kid want to go to Da Ridge for a brief period of time and then some. It was almost common then: Willowridge owned basketball, Texas rap was bubbling once more & the Kappa Beach Party was the Spring Break destination. Twelve years just flew by, didn’t it?

Kenny Masenda decided to wax poetic about Ford’s work in Texas, most notably about his career at the University of Texas where he won the Wooden & Naismith Awards his sophomore year and led the Horns to their first Final Four appearance since 1947 (and they haven’t come close to the Final Four since). Such a shame that Ford’s career had to end due to injury but I’ll let Kenny let you know more about the greatness of T.J. that sadly got cut short.

READ: The Legend That Is T.J. Ford | The Sports Fan Journal