Michael Haynes, 22, was trying to break up a fight over a stolen necklace outside his home when he was shot multiple times, according to his friends. Police are still searching for a suspect. But friends and family say they know who the shooter is.
As a freshman in 2005-2006, he led Corliss High School with 20 points per game, then switched for the next two years to Washington High School. Haynes became a must-watch athlete during his sophomore and junior years at Chicago's Washington High. During that time, he played in the city championship game against Simeon High School and Derrick Rose at the United Center. Haynes transferred to Fenger High School for his senior year where he did not play basketball.
"It is a big loss for the basketball family. You never know where it could have taken him. He had great potential. I don't know if he was going to the NBA, but he had the potential," said former coach Steve Dockery. "He just wanted to find himself, get a good fit and see what he wanted to do. He wanted to be successful."
Haynes was also a mentor to young athletes in Morgan Park.
"He'd help them play ball, shoot around with them. Get them Icees, go to the candy store. He'd help everybody," said friend John Williams. "He never came to any situation with the intent to harm nobody, only the intent to just help or justify the situation. He tried to separate them. He never had been a man to disrespect anybody. Everybody in the neighborhood loved Mike."
Instead of celebrating a promising basketball career, family and friends are now grieving and hoping the ongoing violence will end.
"So disturbing to say that we are used to seeing it. Everyday. It's what happens when you stay here. Two ways to get out. Jail or death," said friend Juanita Pittman.
"I may be the last person he contacted before he left. He was going straight to my house. I don't know how. I cannot deal with it. I cannot eat, sleep, anything," said friend Latiesha Moore. "He was a very, very nice, caring person and I'm going to miss him so much -- his laugh, everything about him."
"Genuine. Been a star since 7th grade. As far as his athletic ability, man," Robert Kimbrough, cousin, said.
Haynes ended up at Heat Academy in Virginia then committed to the University of Texas - El Paso but never played for the Miners. He played well enough last season at Indian Hills Community College in Ottumwa, Iowa, to earn his D-1 ride to Iona College in New Rochelle New York.
"I think Mike was one of those young men that was going to blossom at Iona College and then take it forward and help others throughout his life, and now that's cut short," said Tim Cluess, head coach of Iona College. "We all know how excited he was about a new opportunity, about a new life. I think that's what hurts so much is that he was doing so many things in the right directions to have a chance and was taking a lot of positive steps and here we go, and something senseless like this happens."
"It hurts to see somebody work so hard, struggle for their dream, and go through obstacles just to be stripped of the opportunity to achieve that dream," Iona senior guard Curtis Dennis, of Bronx, N.Y., tweeted.
The killing brings back memories of another fatal shooting involving a Chicago public league high school basketball star. Ben Wilson was killed about 35 blocks north of Thursday's incident in 1984. He was 17 years old and a senior at Simeon High School. At the time of his death, Wilson was considered the top high school basketball player in the nation.