Coaches recall former hoops standout shot to death Sunday

SHARE Coaches recall former hoops standout shot to death Sunday

On the spot where they found Tim Triplett, wounded and dying, a single white candle stood Monday afternoon.

Nearby, a small memorial — blue balloons, blue sign — was attached to a tree.

The former high school basketball star was shot and killed Sunday in the East Garfield Park neighborhood on the West Side.

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A neighbor, who did not want to be identified, said he was inside watching a John Wayne movie, “The Undefeated,” on Sunday afternoon when he heard two shots.

Then he saw the victim lying on the ground.

The neighbor said he still feels safe sitting on his front porch in the afternoon — but, he added: “Any kind of noise, and I’m gone.”

Triplett, 20, a former high school basketball star, was found outside in the 3500 block of West Flournoy at 12:40 p.m., according to police and the Cook County medical examiner’s office.

Tim Triplett is shown in a game against Gary Westside. | Sun-Times File Photo

Police said he had suffered multiple gunshot wounds. Triplett, of the 4400 block of West Adams, was taken to Mount Sinai Hospital, where he was pronounced dead at 1:15 p.m., the medical examiner’s office said.

Triplett lived with his mother, but a neighbor said she was out of town.

Triplett was a standout basketball player at Crane and Marshall.

“He was a great leader. He came over to my building for a year and he was my team captain,” said Henry Cotton, Marshall’s head basketball coach.

“I just spoke with him on Saturday. He had signed up for summer classes at Wright College,” he said. “They were starting in a couple weeks.”

Triplett’s death was just the latest tragedy to hit home at Marshall. In January 2014, assistant coach Shawn Harrington was shot while driving his daughter to school; he survived, but remains paralyzed. His daughter was unhurt.

“It’s been hard,” Cotton said of the double tragedies. “Nothing has been easy. They have the crisis team here to talk with the guys today, and they are just letting them vent.”

Triplett also briefly attended Farragut.

“I’ve known him since he was a shorty coming out of elementary,” said Farragut basketball coach William Nelson. “He was one of those guys that was just so tough and spirited on the court. A vocal guy, he could really get after it. He just played so hard.”

Nelson said that Triplett’s younger brother was a victim of gun violence as well.

“His mother has lost two kids in like three years,” Nelson said. “He lived on the same block I grew up on. It’s rough. You are almost afraid to leave the house.”

Orr basketball coach Lou Adams’ son, Lou Adams Jr., was good friends with Triplett.

“My son called me, he’s just really upset,” Adams said. [Triplett] was just a great kid.”

Tim Anderson, Triplett’s coach at Crane, described him as “loyal and fun-loving.”

Triplett ‘has a boy and a girl,” Anderson said. “His daughter is about a year old. He was the kind of guy that was trying to do the right thing. A lot of times people don’t understand how close basketball and the streets are with one another.”

Ola Arogundade, a friend and AAU basketball teammate, said: “Tim was a passionate and fiery player . . . he always had your back, no matter what the score.”

“Tim was always trying to have fun. He liked going out, kicking it. . . . He always wanted to hang out with girls,” Arogundade said.

Triplett, whose favorite player was Derrick Rose, liked to dress flashy, especially wearing True Religion and Nike, Arogundade said.

Memorial for Tim Triplett, who was shot to death in the 3500 block of West Flournoy on Sunday afternoon. | Emily Brosious/For Sun-Times

Tim Triplett breaks down after a game in 2014 shortly after Marshall assistant coach Shawn Harrington was shot while driving his daughter to school, leaving him paralyzed. | Sun-Times file

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