Illini end-of-season special feature

Staff Writer
Mount Shasta Herald

John Supinie has been working on a feature-length piece on Illinois basketball recruit Meyers Leonard. The package will be posted to the News Service today; run date should be June 2 or later, with a Web embargo of June 4 (this is a great project for First in Print). Click inside to see the project budget.

RAGS TO RICHES: Following the death of his father when Meyers Leonard was 6 years old, the Illinois basketball recruit blossomed into a small-town star who led his team to a state title. Now Leonard has eyes sights set higher, thanks in part to leadership from three surrogate fathers.

-- Brian Siler, an insurance agent, provided him with mentoring from a father figure, leadership, the chance at attending church, financial help and satisfying the need to be part of a family.

-- Scott Rawlings, a physical therapist, played the role of tough guy who wasn't afraid to tell Leonard no.

-- Mitch Hannahs, a local junior-college baseball coach, taught Leonard a work ethic at a young age.

SIDEBAR: Meyers Leonard continues to climb the national recruiting rankings, thanks to his size, mobility and coachability.

OTHER ELEMENTS: Short breakouts on 1. Siler, 2. Hannahs, 3. Rawlings.

ART: Will include a portrait, action photos and mugs