On the court, Benny Felix was a senior standout who helped lead Ironwood Ridge to the playoffs where the Nighthawks knocked off Flowing Wells in the play-in game before falling to state power Buena in the playoffs. The No. 13 ranking was the highest finish the Nighthawks experienced in his four years with the program.
We caught up with Felix Monday afternoon to talk about his high school experience, his family, his late father and his future plans.
Q: This has been a challenging time for a lot of high school students, especially seniors. Can you give us your thoughts on the possibility of not having a formal graduation ceremony?
A: It’s all crazy. We are transitioning to online classes and now and prom and graduation might be postponed or canceled. You only get to experience high school once and it hurts a little, but I realize I’m not the only one going through this. There are other seniors at my school and at other schools who are probably feeling the same way.
Q: Your team did well this year. Talk to me bit about the chemistry.
A: This year, we broke through as a team. In the past we didn’t have enough experience and leadership. I was voted one of the team captains we held each other accountable. We made the playoffs and lost to Buena and the team came closer. It was a very successful season.
Q: You’re an athlete and you have friends at school who are playing spring sports. Tell us your thoughts for your friends who may not be able to play this year.
A: I know they are taking it kinda hard. I couldn’t imagine not being able to play, especially the seniors. I feel for them and hopefully they will be able to play.
Q: Your dad (Guillermo ‘Bill’ Felix) passed away last year at a very young age. Was he a motivational factor for you this year?
A: I used him as a motivation because I knew he wanted to be there for my final year. I knew he was still there with me, but I didn’t want to think about it too much because I didn’t want it to affect my game in a negative way.
Q: Was he one of your first coaches?
A: He stayed away from coaching me directly because my mom didn’t want it to appear that I was only playing because he was my coach. He definitely helped out and he showed up to support me and my sister.
Q: Did you get to watch your sister Gabi play this year?
A: Yes. Her team had a Saturday game, so I had a chance to watch her play. She played on both the freshman and sophomore teams and she was really good. I was really proud of her.
Q: What other sport would you have played if you didn’t play basketball?
A: I was really good at flag football because I was so big and the other kids couldn’t stop me but my mom told me I could only be a kicker if I wanted to play football so I turned to basketball.
Q: What are your future plans?
A: I’m talking to Pima right now and I will be going to Pima regardless and then transfer to Arizona. I’m going for a business degree and my dream job would be to work in sports with stats and analysis.
Q: What are your sports teams? I understand your dad was a Wildcat fan.
A: For basketball, I follow whatever team Kevin Durant is on because he’s my favorite player. I really don’t follow baseball, but my mom is a Cubs fan and my dad was a Braves fan. I’m a Redskins fan but I’m really disappointed with them. My dad was a big Wildcat fan and so is my family.
Andy Morales was recognized by the AIA as the top high school reporter in 2014, he was awarded the Ray McNally Award in 2017, a 2019 AZ Education News award winner and he has been a youth, high school and college coach for over 30 years. He was the first in Arizona to write about high school beach volleyball and high school girls wrestling. His own children have won multiple state high school championships and were named to all-state teams. Competing in hockey, basketball, baseball and track & field in high school, his unique perspective can only be found here and on AZPreps365.com. Andy is the Southern Arizona voting member of the Ed Doherty Award, recognizing the top football player in Arizona, and he was named a Local Hero by the Tucson Weekly for 2016. Andy was named an Honorary Flowing Wells Caballero in 2019. Contact Andy Morales at firstname.lastname@example.org