When you find Illinois-bound Luther Head, future Arizona point guard Will Bynum
must be lurking close by, as the two are inseparable best friends.
Will & Luther, Luther & Will
They were their respective schools' star players, with both teams competing against each other in the fight-till-you-die Red West. It was just assumed that Manley's Luther Head and Crane's Will Bynum had a heated rivalry fueled by repulsion and hatred for each other.
"Whenever we play against each other, everyone always has us as enemies, but we changed that," said Bynum, a future Arizona Wildcat.
"Whenever we play against each other, everyone always has us as enemies, but we changed that."
Spending more time together than Puffy and J Lo (prior to breakup), indeed the stigmatism of the two has been changed.
With both of their soon to be former schools playing in a Spring League tournament at Columbus Park, it is not uncommon to see the both of them hidden in the stands, watching their former teammates in action. Or this past weekend at the UIC P.E. building with a top AAU tournament going on, there was the duo, sharing the same chair, peering in on the action, both looking happier than Sir Charles in a buffet without any diet restrictions assigned to by His Airness.
First meeting each other in an AAU tournament the summer before their high school careers began, it wasn't until recently that they have formed their unique kinship.
"This summer after the season we've been kickin' it with each other more then ever," said Luther, who will be on his way to Champaign to suite up for the Illini after the summer. "Every time we go somewhere we always like to do it together. We've just been trying to hang out with each other before we go off to school."
Training together to get ready for the high division one level, Will and Luther are regulars at the Providence St. Mel gym, working out with St. Mel coach and former Purdue player, Tim Irvin. Also, the combo will occasionally take a trip up Interstate 294 to Wisconsin to get their workouts on with Will's AAU coach of a year ago, Jameel Ghauri of Bray Center.
"We just play with each other and try and learn from each other," added Luther, a 6'3" combo guard.
While the two consider each other best friends, there still lies the question of who is better.
Although City runner-up, Crane, won both of their matchups with Manley this past season, with Will going off for 43 and 31 points respectively, Luther still 'got his.' Finishing with a triple-double in the first meeting, he matched Will's 31 the second time around.
Still shunning any heated rivalry comparisons, Will modestly states: "It was about even both games."
But don't breath just yet. The future still holds more matchups between Bynum and Head as Arizona and Illinois have a scheduled game next year at the United Center.
"When we play against each other next year it should be fun," said Will, who's Wildcats won 2 of 3 games against Illinois last year. "We both know all of each others moves, but I'll have some new ones by then."
Not only do they know each other's moves, but also they aren't afraid to borrow them.
When Will decided to pass on the Adidas Roundball Classic, due to participating in the Nike Derby game, and was a late entrant in the New York versus Chicago game, it was much to the delight of the fans that packed into the DePaul Athletic Center on April 21. Upon checking into the scorers table for the first time in the first half, Will almost received a standing ovation just by his presence. Being revered by the Chicago fans, Will did not disappoint, as the 5'10" guard hit several long three pointers with his initial offensive looks. But the highlight of the day belonged to Luther Head.
Dribbling at the top of the key trying to shake his man, Luther crossed over to the free-throw line, then proceeded to throw an alley-opp pass to himself off the backboard, which he emphatically slammed with two hands while cocking it back to his neck.
The obvious play of the game, it is known to few that Luther actually learned the move from Will, who initially displayed it in a first round playoff game against Spalding.
Referred to now, simply as 'The Dunk,' Will says that he is just happy that his friend did the dunk on a national stage, with the game televised throughout the country.
"I give credit to Will," admitted Luther. "He made up the dunk. It's something just for fun, so I just did it."
"We've been doing 'The Dunk' for a long time in open gyms and stuff like that," added Will. "We've been doing it for a while so it's just been a regular move for us."
While they are hard workers outside of the gym as well, both having qualified academically, they look forward to learning in college in more ways than one. With Illinois' leader Frankie Williams and Arizona's point guard Jason Gardner both expected to return to their respective campuses next year, they look to be ample mentors for the young guards yearning for more knowledge.
"I don't think that [them returning] will effect our playing time a lot," Will said. "It will do nothing but make both of us better. I know I've got a lot to learn from [Jason Gardner].
While Gardner might show Will a few pointers on the court, it is assumed that Will could do the same for him. Garnering the New Comer of the Year award in last summer's ProAm tournament, which featured such proven stars as Tim Hardaway, Juwan Howard, Kalid El-Amin, Ron Artest, Vince Carter (for one game) and Antoine Walker, Will has proven that he can hang with the best.
Before classes start this Fall, Luther and Will are going to enjoy the rest of their vacation and all of the time they have together, as they team together on the same squad in the West-side All-Star Men's League at Columbus Park.
In watching the way that they interact with one another as they are the most inseparable of pairs, only one conclusion can be made: The world needs more 'enemies' like Will and Luther.
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