During my 35 years of covering high school sports in the St. Louis metro area, I have had the honor of watching many great young athletes perform on the big stage and it has been fun.
When you have been around as long as I have, it’s natural that you start to see some of the children of those athletes come on to the scene. With that in mind, I have compiled a list of top athletes along with their children who I have covered over the course of my career. This is by no means a complete list, but it’s a good one to start. This is Part I of the list.
Justin Tatum-Jayson Tatum: Justin Tatum was a starting power forward for the CBC Cadets and a big part of their run to the Class 4A state championship in 1997. He was a force around the basket as a scorer and rebounder. He went on to have a standout career at Saint Louis University. Justin’s son, Jayson Tatum, was one of the area’s best all-time players during his career at Chaminade College Prep. He led the Red Devils to the Class 5 state championship in 2016 while also being selected to the McDonald’s All-American game. After one excellent year of college ball at Duke, Tatum has been a member of the Boston Celtics for the past three years, where he has emerged as one of the top young players in the National Basketball Association.
Jeffrey McCaw-Patrick McCaw: Jeff McCaw was a standout point guard at Wellston and the leader of a powerful Trojans team that won the Class 2A state championship in 1988. He went on to have a very good collegiate career at Forest Park Community College and Missouri Western University. His son, Patrick McCaw, was a standout high school player at CBC from 2011-13. Patrick was an excellent college player at UNLV where he was the leading scorer for the Runnin’ Rebels. Patrick has the distinction of being a member of the last three NBA championships. He won rings with the Golden State Warriors in 2017 and 2018 and the Toronto Raptors in 2019.
Susan Johnson-Tionne Harris: Susan Johnson (nee’ Lane) was a two-sport standout athlete at Berkeley High in the late 1980s. She was one of the area’s leading scorers on the basketball team and a member of the Bulldogs’ outstanding track and field team. Her son, Tionne Harris, was a standout football player for the Vianney Golden Griffins. Harris put up some tremendous numbers as Vianney’s starting quarterback from 2015 to 2018. In the fall of 2017, Harris led Vianney to the Class 5 state championship. He is currently playing quarterback at Quincy University.
Anthony Virdure-Anthony Virdure: The elder Anthony Virdure was a standout point guard for Lutheran North in the late 1980’s. He was an outstanding floor general in leading the Crusaders to some very successful seasons. Young Anthony Virdure followed his father to Lutheran North and enjoyed a stellar career in football and basketball. He was a top wide receiver on the football field. On the basketball court, Virdure finished his career as Lutheran North’s all-time leading scorer. He led the Crusaders to back-to-back Final Four appearances in the Class 3 state tournament in 2012 and 2013.
Malcolm Hill-Malcolm Hill Jr.: The elder Malcolm Hill was a standout guard at East St. Louis Assumption, which advanced to the Class A state tournament in 1989. He went on to have a fine collegiate career at the University of Missouri-St. Louis. Malcolm Hill Jr. was a standout player at Belleville East High. He went on to have a stellar basketball career at the University of Illinois, where he finished his career as the school’s third all-time leading scorer. He is now playing professional basketball overseas.
Larry Hughes-Lauryn, Landis, Larry Hughes, Jr.: Larry Hughes was one of the St. Louis area’s all-time great guards. He was a McDonald’s All-American after leading CBC to a Class 4A state championship in 1997. He was the National Freshman of the Year during his one season of college ball at Saint Louis University. He went on to enjoy an excellent 13-year career in the National Basketball Association. Larry’s two daughters, Lauryn and Landis, were excellent basketball players at MICDS. Both played key roles for the Rams’ Class 4 Final Four teams in 2015 and 2016. Lauryn is currently playing at Saint Louis U. Larry Hughes Jr. just finished his sophomore year at CBC where his 3-point shooting helped the Cadets to a Final Four berth in the Class 5 state tournament.
Lavar Miller and Miesha Billups-Lavar Miller, Jr. – Lavar Miller was a standout track and field athlete at Berkeley where he was one of the top combination jumpers in the history of the St. Louis area. He was a collegiate standout at NCAA powerhouse Arkansas. Miesha Billups was a standout basketball and track athlete at Gateway Tech and Cahokia. She scored 50 points in a game during her senior year at Cahokia. She was also a state championship sprinter at Gateway Tech. Their son, Lavar Miller Jr., started his basketball career at Pattonville before moving to Florida and enjoying a stellar career at Western High School. Lavar Miller Jr. just committed to Central State University in Ohio last week.
Dwayne Polk-Dwayne Polk: Dwayne Polk was an excellent point guard at Soldan High. He was one of the first athletes that I covered during my first year of covering sports during the 1986-87 season. His son, Dwayne Polk, was a standout basketball player at Vashon High who went on to play at Saint Louis University. Dwayne II has a daughter, Destiny Polk, who just completed her freshman year at Lafayette. When I go see Destiny play basketball next season, she will become the first third generation athlete that I will get to cover in my career.
James and Tianna Williams-Jamerson and Jaden Williams: Tianna Williams (nee’ Swinney) was a three-time state champion in the 400-meter dash at Sumner High School. James Williams was also a standout member of the Bulldogs’ track team and a state champion in the 4x400-meter relay. Older son Jameson Williams was a two-sport star at Cardinal Ritter in football and track and field. The five-star athlete is now a freshman football player at The Ohio State University. Jaden Williams was a state-champion in the 300-meter intermediate hurdles at Cardinal Ritter.
Rico Sylvester-Enrico Sylvester: Rico Sylvester was a standout basketball player at East St. Louis Lincoln. He was the starting point guard for the Tigers’ Class AA state championship game and historic three-peat in 1989. His son, Enrico Sylveste, was a standout guard at Belleville East. He was an All-Conference player in 2017 who went to play at Columbia College.
Kelly Thames-Kellen Thames: Kelly Thames was a tremendous high school basketball player at Jennings High from 1990 to 1993. He went on to enjoy a stellar collegiate career at the University of Missouri. He is now the head basketball coach at Pattonville High. His top player happens to be his son Kellen Thames, who just completed his sophomore year. Kellen Thames averaged 18 points a game and is one of the top young players in the St. Louis area.
Eric Liddell-EJ Liddell: Eric Liddell was a standout football player at East St. Louis who went on to play at Illinois State. He was one of the first athletes that I wrote a feature story on back in the late 1980s. His son, EJ Liddell, was a basketball star at Belleville West who had one of the best careers in the history of the metro east. He led the Maroons to back-to-back IHSA Class 4A state championships in 2018 and 2019. He is now playing at The Ohio State University.
Nick Kern-Nick Kern: The elder Nick Kern was a basketball standout at Vashon from 1999-2002. He was a smooth 6’8” forward who could score from anywhere on the court. He helped lead the Wolverines to three state championships. The second Nick Kern is currently a standout member for the Wolverines and a key member of a state championship team in 2019 and a Final Four team in 2020. Like his father, Nick II is a smooth operator on the offensive end.
Gerald Fulton-Gerald, Jaylen, Symiah and Jordan Fulton: The elder Gerald Fulton was a football standout at Riverview Gardens in the late 1980s. He had 23 interceptions in his high school career. Young Gerald Fulton was a two-sport standout at Hazelwood East in football and basketball. He was also an excellent player at the collegiate level. Jaylen Fulton was an excellent basketball player at Hazelwood East and St. Louis Christian in 2011. Symaih Fulton was a top girls hurdler in track and field during her career at Hazelwood Central. Jordan Fulton is currently a two-sport standout at Trinity Catholic in football and basketball.
Ronnie Wingo-Ronnie, Raymond and Ryan Wingo: Ron Wingo was an outstanding football player at Sumner High on some great football teams back in the late 80s and early 90s. He went on to play at Michigan State and Louisville. His oldest son Ronnie Wingo was a standout football and track athlete at SLUH. He played collegiately at Arkansas. He also spent time in the NFL with the Atlanta Falcons and Buffalo Bills. Raymond Wingo was also a standout football player at SLUH. He went on to play at the University of Missouri from 2015-17. The youngest son is incoming freshman Ryan Wingo, who will also be at SLUH. He is already attracting recruiting interest from major colleges for football.