In recognition of a 30-year anniversary, current Wakefield High School boys basketball coaches Tony Bentley and Horace “Buck” Willis interviewed five players and the head coach from the 1990 region-champion Wakefield boys basketball team.
The three-part discussions occurred on the duo’s online “Buck & Tony Show,” that is shown on YouTube. The five players interviewed were Kenya Hunter, Rayfield Boyd, Chris Chandler, Travis Spencer and Travis Tull. Head coach Bob Veldran, who led the team from 1972 to 2002, participated in the final part.
The players talked about how they quickly developed team unity back then and how Veldran stressed fundamentals as a coach, often having them run the back stairs near the gym in the old Wakefield building to get, and stay, in shape.
They told personal stories, many funny, and also talked about defeating South Lakes, which had future NBA player Grant Hill. There was a lot of laughter.
Wakefield standout Joe Lowe was mentioned often. He played for Wakefield in previous years and became one of the programs all-time scoring leaders.
“Joe Lowe was our inspiration,” Hunter said.
In that season, Wakefield, 25-4, won the Northern Region Tournament crown, defeating South Lakes, 61-56, in the title game at Robinson Secondary School. The Warriors went on to finish 1-1 in the Group AAA state tournament, falling to Bayside, 54-51, in the semifinals.
Other players on that Wakefield team were James Stewart, Everick Powell, Mark Mills, Teyril Hackley, George Henderson, Sean Lewis, Charles Oliver and Anthony Orr.
Wakefield played in the region tournament many times under Veldran and also won multiple district titles during his tenure.
Hunter was the starting point guard on that 1990 region-title team and is still involved in basketball at a high level as an assistant coach for the University of Connecticut men’s team.
He went on to have a standout playing career at Duquesne University.
A number of other players from that 1990 region-title team also played in college.
Bentley and Willis played high-school basketball at Washington-Lee in Arlington. They kidded with the Wakefield team about the intensity and respectfulness of that all-Arlington rivalry.
Bentley explained how the players were all friends off the court, but that didn’t stop them from wanted to win badly when they met.
Willis said the reason he chose to wear uniform No. 24 for W-L was because that was Lowe’s number.