Arizona Baseball

Few from Chester, Pa., have played in pros, two starred for Arizona Wildcats


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Chester (Pa.) natives Herman Harris, left, and Rondae Hollis-Jefferson both headed west to Tucson to star in college basketball

Chester (Pa.) natives Herman Harris, left, and Rondae Hollis-Jefferson both headed west to Tucson to star in college basketball

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The Philadelphia Inquirer published a story today mentioning that former Arizona Wildcats star Rondae Hollis-Jefferson will be one of only four players from Chester, Pa., to advance to the NBA.

Hollis-Jefferson, who declared for Thursday’s NBA Draft after two seasons with the Arizona Wildcats, will join Horace Walker, Jameer Nelson and Tyreke Evans as the only Chester natives to play in the NBA, according to Basketball Reference.

Walker played one season (1961-62) for the St. Louis Hawks. Nelson completed his 11th season this year splitting time with Dallas, Boston and Denver. Evans has played the last two seasons with New Orleans after playing four with Sacramento.

Another former Arizona Wildcats standout from Chester — Herman Harris — did not make the NBA but he was drafted in the second round in 1977 by the hometown Philadelphia 76ers. He did not make the team. He played overseas for one year before joining the Army.

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Harris recounted his time after leaving Arizona with the Philadelphia Tribune last year when he was selected to the Pennsylvania Sports Hall of Fame Delaware County Chapter.

“I went overseas for a year,” Harris said. “Then, I went into the service. I went into the Army. My first seven or eight years in I played ball for the Army. That was great. We traveled all around the world and played in different places. That’s all we did. You go to training camp and then you travel.

“I stayed in the Army for 11 years. I played basketball for seven. Then, I did five more years after that. Then, I got out and came back to Tucson (Arizona) and been here ever since. Two years ago, I retired from the court system. I worked in facilities management. I handled the procurement.”

Len Gordy, a former teammate of Harris’ at Chester High School, also played with him at Arizona.

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Harris, a 6’5″ guard with a deft shooting touch from long range, played for the Wildcats from 1973-77. As a senior, he scored 31 points in an NCAA tournament overtime game victory over UNLV, one of the best single-game performances by a player in Wildcat history. He also averaged 20 points a game that season, well before the three-point line was instituted.

Tucson and Chester are 2,338 miles apart yet three players from the gritty, blue-collar Pennsylvania town have landed at McKale Center. Amazing.

“I went to the practices to talk to (Hollis-Jefferson),” Harris told the Tribune. “I met his parents when they came down here and his uncle. It’s nice to see the guys from your neck of the woods.”

ALLSPORTSTUCSON.com publisher, writer and editor Javier Morales is a former Arizona Press Club award winner. He has also written articles for Bleacher Report and Lindy’s College Sports.

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