MoCo's deep NBA and NCAA connections

Chris Heck and his son Peyton. COURTESY PHOTOChris Heck and his son Peyton. COURTESY PHOTO  Gaithersburg native Chris Heck has a busy schedule to say the least.
The Philadelphia 76ers President has the difficult task of running an NBA franchise and following his son’s college basketball team.
Heck, a Villanova graduate, is also the father of Villanova basketball walk-on Peyton Heck.
On Sunday, Villanova advanced to the Final Four for the second time in three years and the 76ers clinched a playoff berth for the first time in six seasons.
This weekend, Heck and his wife Mary Beth plan to fly to San Antonio to watch their son and his teammates compete for another NCAA championship.

Saturday’s game at the Alamodome pits Villanova head coach Jay Wright against Kansas’s Bill Self in a battle between two No. 1 seeds.
“Jay Wright has the best program,” said Heck. “No one in the history of NCAA basketball has won more games in a four-year span.”
Heck, a Good Counsel graduate, spent his formative years growing up in Montgomery Village where he attended Whetstone Elementary and Montgomery Village Junior High.
He still remembers playing youth sports for the Montgomery Village Sports Association and basketball at Montgomery Village Junior High. Heck also played football and lacrosse during his tenure at Good Counsel.
As an eighth grader at Montgomery Village Junior High, Heck scored three points during the entire season while his son was a 1,000-point scorer during his eighth-grade campaign at Saint Patrick in New Jersey.
Mary Beth Heck was once a high school basketball standout at Georgetown Visitation.
“She’s the one that my son gets the basketball skills from,” Heck admitted.
During his high school career, Peyton Heck earned three varsity letters in basketball and also competed on the gridiron. He was a team captain and named a Diamond State Athletic All-Conference selection during his senior campaign at Archmere Academy in Delaware.
“If he wasn’t the best three-point shooter in the state, he was close to it,” said Heck.
At Villanova, Peyton spent his first two seasons as a practice player and moved over to the active roster for the 2017-18 campaign.
“He’s the only junior on the team as a walk-on,” said the proud father of three. “Every one of those walk-ons are legit basketball players. Their role changed when they came to Villanova.”
A finance major, Peyton Heck is an honor student in the business school and plans to work in the financial industry once he graduates from college.
“He tries to get the full experience of college,” said Heck, “but he’s serious about his studies, too.”
Northwood High teacher and boys’ head basketball coach Phil Chenier Jr. was among those in attendance at Capital One Arena on Friday when his father’s No. 45 jersey was retired and raised to the rafters.
Phil Chenier, who was selected fourth overall by the Baltimore Bullets in the 1971 NBA Hardship Draft, spent eight seasons with the franchise.
In 1973, the Bullets moved from Baltimore to Washington following Chenier’s second season with the team. The California native spent more than three decades broadcasting Bullets and Wizards games on local television.
After graduating from Howard University, Phil Chenier Jr. began scouting for the Wizards.
“It was great,” he said. “I thoroughly enjoyed it. It kept me close to the game.”
Phil Chenier Jr. played high school basketball at Wilde Lake in Howard County and later served as the boys’ head basketball coach at his alma mater. He’s been the head coach at Northwood for the past two seasons.
On Friday, there was a large contingent of friends and family members on hand to celebrate Phil Chenier’s contributions to the Washington area basketball community and to the Wizards’ organization.
Chenier’s jersey now permanently hangs from the Capital One Arena rafters with other Washington Bullets legends including Earl “The Pearl” Monroe, Elvin Hayes, Gus Johnson and Wes Unseld.
“It meant a lot,” said Phil Chenier Jr. “It was an appreciation of his perseverance and his dedication and his excellence both on and off the court.”

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