TSPL for Kids closes summer season with strong presence of past Arizona Wildcats stars

Walking into The Gregory School gymnasium on Saturday to watch the Tucson Summer Pro League for Kids was like going to an Arizona Athletics reunion of stars from 20 to 30 years ago.

Desire Wheeler was on the stage adjacent to the court eating her lunch conversing with Felecity Willis — both Arizona women’s basketball stars who played for Joan Bonvicini.

Wheeler, the head of interscholastics at TUSD who may try basketball officiating this high school season, was known as “Dee Dee” when she was a three-time All-Pac-10 selection from 2002-03 to 2004-05.

Willis, an NCAA Division 1 referee in her 13th year overall officiating, was a two-time All-Pac-10 pick in 1998-99 and 1999-2000 and she was also a member of Mike Candrea’s Women’s College World Series teams in 1997 and 1998.

Willis officiated both TSPL for Kids semifinal games, the All-Star Game and the championship Saturday along with fellow Division I referee Nadi Carey, a former Flowing Wells, CDO and Pima standout whose brother is CDO and Arizona running back standout Ka’Deem Carey.

Kelvin Eafon, who played for legends Lute Olson and Dick Tomey at Arizona between 1994-98, sat on the bench directing one of the teams participating in the Tucson Summer Pro League for Kids All-Star Game. Eafon provides commentary about Arizona football and basketball games for KCUB 1290-AM and he runs his youth basketball club Desert Storm Elite.

Arizona stars left to right: Kelvin Eafon, Corey Williams, Brandon Sanders and Felecity Willis (Sanders photo)

TSPL for Kids organizer Corey Williams, a member of Olson’s Final Four team in 1993-94, walked about the court making sure the last day of the summer event went by smoothly. Williams is entering his eighth year as a college basketball analyst for ESPN and he is vice president of the Crest Insurance Group.

Former Arizona Desert Swarm defender Brandon Sanders arrived as a spectator before the start of the TSPL for Kids championship game between Picture Rocks Heating, Cooling and Plumbing and The Bruce Foundation. Sanders was a two-time All-Pac-10 safety for Tomey in 1994 and 1995 before playing with the New York Giants and embarking on coaching. A former Pueblo High School coach, he is in the second year as Arizona’s Coordinator of Football Alumni and High School Relations.

Wheeler departed but Willis, Eafon, Williams and Sanders met on the court for a photograph after the championship game, which was won by Picture Rocks HVAC.

Thank Bonvicini and the souls of Olson and Tomey for recruting them and making it possible for these pillars of the university and Tucson community to come together for such a special concept Williams created for the TSPL for Kids.

Sponsors cover most of the fee for kids to join, assisting parents who are unable to have their child play for a traveling club team during the summer. The six weeks of basketball during the summer also provide the youths an outlet for activity on the weekends.


All-Star MVP Maddux Rocha is presented the MVP trophy by Justin Spears, who helps Corey Williams with the TSPL for Kids and is a writer with The Arizona Daily Star and sports-radio talkshow host at ESPN 1490 (Javier Morales/AllSportsTucson.com)


The championship team from Picture Rocks HVAC (Javier Morales/AllSportsTucson.com)


Nick Regina of Picture Rocks Heating, Cooling and Plumbing holding the championship trophy and MyoNatural MVP trophy (Javier Morales/AllSportsTucson.com)


ALLSPORTSTUCSON.com publisher, writer and editor Javier Morales is a former Arizona Press Club award winner. He is a former Arizona Daily Star beat reporter for the Arizona basketball team, including when the Wildcats won the 1996-97 NCAA title. He has also written articles for CollegeAD.com, Bleacher Report, Lindy’s Sports, TucsonCitizen.com, The Arizona Republic, Sporting News and Baseball America, among many other publications. He has also authored the book “The Highest Form of Living”, which is available at Amazon. He became an educator five years ago and is presently a special education teacher at Gallego Fine Arts Intermediate in the Sunnyside Unified School District.

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