Name deletion | The former star of Rantoul returns to give advice | Columns







On Wednesday, Martrellian “Duck” Gibson watches practice at JW Eater Junior High in Rantoul.









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Martrellian “Duck” Gibson instructs players during practice Wednesday at JW Eater High School in Rantoul.









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Martrellian “Duck” Gibson and his cousin, Kysean Autman, who is a member of the JW Eater Junior High team in Rantoul.









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Martrellian ‘Duck’ Gibson, top row, left, with coaches and players from the JW Eater Junior High basketball team in Rantoul.




Forget “The Last Dance,” ESPN’s 90s Chicago Bulls documentary. Martrellian “Duck” Gibson can hear it from someone who was there for at least part of the race.

As a member of the Kokomo (Ind.) BobKats professional basketball team, Gibson plays for a member of that Bulls team – Cliff Levingston – who has stories and isn’t shy about telling them.

Levingston played for the Bulls in the early ’90s as they began their championship streak.

Gibson has his own stories to tell. From a youngster who grew up in Rantoul to getting paid to play basketball, he must have won everything he accomplished.

From a sixth grader who tore his knee to a high school basketball player who gradually gained the role of a top athlete, to a Basketball League pro, Gibson soaks it all up. . And love it.

He doesn’t get any NBA money, but it’s better to play for free.

A Rantoul Township high school graduate, Gibson enjoys playing basketball crazed Indiana where fans serenade him with “Fly High Duck.”

Gibson has had the nickname “Duck” since he was a baby – given to him by an aunt “because when I cried my lips looked like a duckbill.”

His role as the BobKats starter was not given to him.

“It was pretty shaky at first because it was my first year as a professional so I didn’t have a lot of playing time,” Gibson said. “When I started out, (Levingston) said I wasn’t ready to play yet. He said, “You have to prove yourself in practice. “

The BobKats finished first in their division in their first year in the TBL and advanced to the second round of the playoffs.

Kokomo is not playing now. Its season extends all summer. This leaves Gibson plenty of time to watch his cousin, Iysean Autman, play for the JW Eater Junior High team in Rantoul.

Gibson was in Autman practice on Wednesday afternoon watching, giving players some advice and talking about the importance of getting good grades, being good teammates and listening to their coaches.

This is something that stands out at Gibson. He’s a good guy, according to people who know him.

One of them is Jared Jordahl, who called Gibson “excellent as a friend and competitor”.

Jordahl, as Gibson a 2017 RTHS graduate, remembers his friend suffering from a knee injury in sixth grade. Gibson said her kneecap split in half when it hit an obstacle.

“He worked his tail then” to rehabilitate him. “You could always tell he was a good player,” said Jordahl. “First year of high school, he took off.

“His journey in high school was incredible. Always in the gym working out or in the pickup games, always breaking it in training. His junior year he started to take off, and the senior year he was the best player on the field.

After high school, Gibson played at Illinois Central College in East Peoria, which was ranked ninth in the junior college ranks in its sophomore year, and then at Indiana University Northwest in Gary, where he majored in business Administration.

When he’s not a professional basketball player, Gibson is learning to be a carpenter.

“I work in Champaign for Marlon Mitchell in a non-profit organization. They teach me how to be a carpenter, ”Gibson said.

During the TBL season he is building his CV as a professional basketball player and would like to continue playing for as long as he can.

“The NBA would be perfect, but I would also like to consider going overseas to a league,” Gibson said. “It’s all a work in progress.”

Gibson, who averaged 5.5 points per game in his freshman year, said he was a two-way goalie.

“My defense is still good. I am also a threat offensively. Very athletic.”

There are 12 to 15 players in the team. They live in their own apartment building in Kokomo.

Gibson said being on the BobKats is “not difficult, but you have to know how to manage your time. Practice (is) in the morning. Then you can do whatever you want. How good you want to be is up to you.

He has played in matches in Flint, Michigan, New York and California. Coolest stop: San Diego.

“We had a personal time there. We went to the beach and everything and went to see the city, ”he said.

Gibson is “pretty well paid”.

TBL players earn $ 1,500 to $ 6,500 per month. Team budgets range from $ 125,000 to $ 250,000 per season.

Gibson loves having Levingston as a coach, especially “the way he breaks down play in every position, from point guard to center, makes the game so simple.”

“He shows his players the little things that are part of the game that you never really think about and that help their game so much.”

Gibson said Levingston enjoys telling stories about his days playing with the Bulls.

“He talks to us (about) playing with Jordan and Pippen. (They) are always entertaining because he’s been through it all and seen it all firsthand. “






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KELLEY




Kelley Named Top Student Nathan Kelley was named Student of the Month for November at the Rantoul Exchange Club.

The senior at Rantoul Township High School has a GPA of 4.812 and ranks 30th in his class of 177 students. He is the son of Curtis and Tammy Kelley of Rantoul.

Kelley’s school activities have included soccer, wrestling, choir, student council, indoor and outdoor track, and cross country.

He was class delegate in junior and second year.

His accolades or accolades include a varsity athlete award, a three sports athlete, a foreign language award, a speech award, an RTHS football impact player award, and an honor roll every four years.

Kelley’s civic and volunteer activities have included eight hours of volunteer work in her church – helping build a new church – participating in a six-day mission trip to Ohio, building a greenhouse for a homeless shelter – shelter and garbage collection in Rantoul.

His work experience has included a newspaper porter for five years and a lifeguard at the Hap Parker Family Aquatic Center for three years.

Kelley is joining the US military. He will leave next summer and serve four years in active duty as a combat medic. Subsequently, he plans to go to university, where he will study to become a track coach.






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LeVAR BURTON




LeVar Burton to perform at the Danville Library Award-winning actor, director, producer and educator LeVar Burton will perform at 6 p.m. on January 6 at the Danville Public Library. Kind of.

Burton will virtually present “An Evening with LeVar Burton”. The Moderated Conversation will be a free live zoom event.

Burton will tell stories from his long career in entertainment and answer questions from the audience.

Customers can submit questions in advance.

Burton is the co-founder of the award-winning Skybarry app; former host and executive producer of PBS’s “Reading Rainbow”; and a permanent advocate for children’s literacy. He hosts his own podcast, “LeVar Burton Reads”, discussing best short fiction.

He also has a new YouTube series, “This is My Story”, which highlights racism in America.

During the COVID-19 lockdown, TwitterLive hosted live news readings presented by Burton to millions of his avid fans and readers.

Burton starred as Kunta Kinte in the acclaimed “Roots” miniseries. He also played the role of Lieutenant Commander Geordi LaForge in the television series “Star Trek: The Next Generation” and in feature films.

The library is located at 319 N. Vermilion St. in Danville.






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Left to Right: Past President Joan Jordan, President Jan Carter Niccum, Vice President of Programs Nancy Seward, Secretary Bonnie Whiteside and Treasurer Andrea Johnston. Not pictured: Vice-President, Arrangements Pat Brown and Assistant Treasurer Michelle Neill.




teahis group installs new officers

The Champaign County Retired Teachers Association has installed new officers for 2022-2023.

They include President Jan Carter Niccum, Vice President of Programs Nancy Seward, Secretary Bonnie Whiteside, Treasurer Andrea Johnston, Vice President of Arrangements Pat Brown and Assistant Treasurer Michelle Neill.

The organization meets for lunch at noon on the second Thursday of the month in spring (April-June) and fall (September-December) at the Holiday Inn, Neil Street, Champaign. One must reserve.

Seward said the association includes retired teachers and administrators primarily from the county, but also welcomes those from counties in the region that do not have a retired teacher organization.

Each meeting includes a guest speaker and entertainment. Area lawmakers Scott Bennett and Chapin Rose are invited to speak once a year.

Founded in 1956, the group is one of the most active retired teachers’ associations in the state, Seward said.

“During the pandemic, we have maintained member meetings,” she said. “We had six membership meetings on Zoom. Before returning in person, we met (in the spring) at Centennial Park. From September to December we were able to meet in person at the Holiday Inn. “(Tncms-asset) bf4ad4e6-59e8-11ec-94dd-00163ec2aa77[7](/ tncms-asset)






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WILLIE MAYBERRY




Bus

bring a pair of frames

Busey Bank recently added two senior executives to its regional banking and wealth management divisions: Willie Mayberry and Jeff Burgess.

Mayberry assumes the role of Executive Vice President and President of Regional Banking Services. He will oversee the bank’s sales teams and customer relations managers, which include commercial banking, wealth management, retail and cash management.

He joins Busey Bank from PNC, where he was executive vice president and director of strategy and planning for the commercial bank.

Burgess joined Busey as Executive Vice President and Chairman of Busey Wealth Management.

He is responsible for overseeing and executing the day-to-day operations, vision and strategy of the wealth management team.

A graduate of Vanderbilt University, in Nashville, Tenn., Burgess most recently served as president of Commerce Brokerage Services Inc.

Previously, he was also the Business Development Director for the East Region of Commerce Trust Co. after serving as Group Vice President of Sales Operations for Fisher Investments in Woodside, California.


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