ORLANDO, Fla. (WOFL FOX 35) - Coach Fred Pennington has plenty of stories about his former player, NBA legend, Darryl Dawkins.
“He stole that ball and went the length of the floor and put it in and at that time you couldn’t dunk it,” Pennington said. Looking at newspaper clippings from nearly 40 years ago, the 88 year old former coach remembers Dawkins as a standout student at Evans High School both on and off the court.“He was a super kid in all phases of the game, hard worker, kids loved him,” Dawkins said.
Pennington coached Dawkins for his entire career at Evans High School until the standout player graduated in 1975. “He entered Evans to start, and he made the varsity team which was the first sophomore that ever made the varsity team as a 10th grader,” Pennington said. After high school, he went straight to the NBA, which was a first in 1975, drafted by the Philadelphia 76er’s at 18 years old, where he was later became known as dunk legend “Chocolate Thunder.”
“Darryl was the first one to go to the NBA, yea I’m proud of that,” Pennington said. But along with that pride comes sorrow, as coach Pennington reacts to the sudden death of his former star player. “I’m gonna miss him,” Pennington said. “It’s tough, it’s tough, he was just such a fine young man and then to go when your 58 years old.”