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Former Crete-Monee basketball star Phil Henderson dies at 44

Updated: March 20, 2013 6:33AM

Phil Henderson, a star basketball player at Crete-Monee who went on to help the 1989-90 Duke team reach the NCAA championship game, died Sunday at 44 in the Philippines. No cause of death was given.

Henderson, a 6-4 guard, averaged 18.5 points during the 1989-90 regular season and 22.3 points that postseason, in which Duke lost to UNLV in the title game.

Henderson was a team captain in his senior season with the Blue Devils and scored 1,397 points in his career at Duke.

‘‘On behalf of the entire Duke basketball family, we are deeply saddened to hear of the passing of Phil Henderson,’’ coach Mike Krzyzewski said in a statement. ‘‘Phil was a talented player and a good man with a gentle soul. We will miss him dearly.’’

Henderson was selected in the second round of the 1990 NBA draft by the Dallas Mavericks and played several seasons overseas.

Henderson was back at Crete-Monee as recently as 2011. The boys basketball program was without a coach after the firing of Matt Ryndak, and Henderson, who graduated from Crete-Monee in 1986, offered his services to run the summer program, athletic director Gene Cahan said.

‘‘He wanted to give back to the community,’’ Cahan said. ‘‘When he ran the camp, the kids looked up to him. He had instant credibility. He was successful, played at Duke and the NBA, just like every kid wants to. Phil did a great job running the camp. He was a great guy.’’

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