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Ohio’s Mindy Pope was the best women’s basketball player who wasn’t


mindy pope is the best women’s basketball Players who weren’t. I am totally convinced of it and have been for 25 years.

At six feet tall, she was as strong as the boys and could hit three-pointers, drive to the bucket, and score from blocks at will. No one who was on her AAU circuit in Ohio in the early and mid-1990s and played high school basketball in this state could defend her.

Any Big Ten coach from that era would say so. They started sending letters when Mindy was in his fifth grade. You could probably paper the walls of your house with just a letter from Purdue. Mindy was an AAU All-American and All-Ohio.

Then, at some point during Mindy’s junior season at Galia Academy High School in Gallipolis, the solicitation letters, phone calls, and visits all abruptly stopped. I don’t know the details when and where everything went wrong. Never heard of it. And I never want to know

All I know is that drugs won the long battle with Mindy 12 years ago around Labor Day. She died of her overdose on August 31, 2010. she was 32 years old. We do not know all the details of how and where she died. Never heard of it. And I never want to know Anyway, it doesn’t matter.

When it comes to childhood best friends, I’m a terrible reporter. it’s intentional. I refuse to tarnish her memory of Melinda Joy Pope, who has nothing but good memories of her. I may be the only one who can say that. I really didn’t know Mindy was an adult. I have come to regret it.

All I know is that we had a wonderful childhood and were raised in Gallia County by a loving family. A trip to Cincinnati in the summer. In 1986, I was allowed to take a friend to the Reds’ first game. I took Mindy.

We have visited Kings Island many times. Mindy and I used to hate roller coasters. “The Beastie” was the only coaster we rode. We loved it so much that we made a rap song as an homage to the coaster, now called The Woodstock Express. I can still recite all the words.

My aunt and uncle always accompanied Mindy on AAU trips to Cleveland, Columbus, Cincinnati, and cities in between. Mindy played for a team in his hometown of Logan. Basketball Hall of Famer Katie SmithThose trips were a lot of fun.

My absolute best memories of Mindy were made in the driveway of her family’s home. We spent a lot of time one-on-one. She will win the game. I will win the game. She would win her third straight game. I will win some Back and forth for hours. We would have been there if it hadn’t been raining or snowing.

Mindy helped shape who I am. Competitive to the core. Never stop. A tribute to female athletes. She was two years younger than me, but I respected her.

I wish I could say I helped shape her in a good way. was.

Mindy was very loyal to her family and had a wicked sense of humor. She was a lot of fun to be with, other than playing basketball and talking about basketball. Mindy loved helping her children. In a short positive stretch of an otherwise turbulent adult life, she worked at a daycare in Columbus.

All the big schools have disappeared. However, the University of Akron gave her the opportunity to play college ball.Mindy played one her season at Akron U. in 1996–97. One weekend I went to Akron and saw her play. she was just a player. She seemed indifferent. It wasn’t a kid kicking my ass on a driveaway and thoroughly enjoying it.

I didn’t know what was really going on. She never saw her play again.

Mindy eventually returned to Gallia County, NAIA Rio Grande University. She scored 1,000 career points. she got her degree. it doesn’t matter. She was more than a trophy and a piece of paper.

Sometimes Mindy was home at Christmas for family gatherings. Sometimes she didn’t. Mindy never told me about her struggles. I never have. And I was too afraid to ask. Especially after we split up when I went to Cincinnati, Missouri, and Minnesota for my career.

After all, it was the wrong approach. I obliged her to at least try. I found this out two years before her. The University of Rio Grande has announced that it will launch a scholarship in Mindy’s honor. The scholarship is to raise awareness of the struggles of mental health and addiction and provide “an opportunity for some and a second chance for others.” According to a press release.

Scholarships provide opportunities for support. With this news, I realize I missed an opportunity to help Mindy. I’m not usually one to dwell on the past, but if I had said anything, I would have had to live with regret.

I tried to write this for 2 years. Mindy’s mother posted on Facebook Wednesday: “12 years ago today Jesus held Mindy’s hand and went with her to heaven. All I could think about was writing.

Sorry if the column is structurally cluttered. Like many columns I write, I didn’t write or rewrite it. I just wrote. This is the first time I’ve used writing as a therapeutic tool. For someone who writes for a living, that may sound strange.

It doesn’t matter now that my cousin was on his way to basketball greatness. Who cares about a wall full of trophies? The key is to say something when someone is struggling with addiction, depression, or anything else that may be life-threatening.

It may not work. But you have to try.

If you know someone struggling with addiction, call us. Hamilton County Council of Addiction Services hotline (513) 281-7880. Contact sports columnist Jason Williams by email at or on Twitter at @jwilliamscincy.

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