Somers' Kennedy School Retires Late Basketball Star's Jersey

Tyrell Thompson’s wife, family, former teammates filled the standing room only crowd during the ceremony in Somers.

The late John F. Kennedy Catholic High School graduate and basketball star, Tyrell Thomposn, was honored with a tribute ceremony on Tuesday when the school retired Thompson’s No. 21 blue jersey.  

Thomposn was a leader of the 2004 New York State and Federation Championship-winning team and well-known and well-liked for his amiable personality and smooth jump shot, school officials said.  

The 2010 West Point and 2006 Kennedy Catholic graduate died on Aug. 22 at age 23 after collapsing during a pick-up basketball game in Fort Lee, Va. He was waked and buried in Arlington National Cemetery.

"Tyrell's reputation as a gentleman, scholar and basketball player was very much alive when I was first assigned to Kennedy," the Rev. Mark Vaillancourt, president and principal of Kennedy Catholic said in retiring Tyrell’s No. 21 navy blue Gaels jersey before a packed gym on Dec. 11. "I've been blessed and humbled to learn about the wonderful man he became from his friends and family, someone about whom Kennedy can be most proud."

Thompson's parents Al and Lisa Scott, wife Michelle Smyth, former coach Tom Nelligan, his 2004 championship team members and more than 125 alumni, friends and family filled the gymnasium during the ceremony.

"Some say that Ty helped make Kennedy, but they must also realize that Kennedy helped make Ty," Thompson's mother said. 

She thanked the administrators and faculty, her son's coaches, teammates and friends for being a part of Thompson's journey. 

"He had a million-dollar smile,” coach Al Morales said. 

Thompson will be remembered for the smiles that supported friends and classmates off the court and the ones his play induced while on the hardwood.

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