Hillside honors NBA star, alum Terance Mann

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Hillside honors NBA star, alum Terance Mann
Terance Mann signs autographs for students at Hillside School in Marlborough on Friday, Feb. 16. The school honored the NBA star by naming its court after him and retiring his number. (Photo/Maureen Sullivan)

MARLBOROUGH – Terance Mann remembers practicing basketball in the Hillside School gym.

He and his Hillside teammates used to try to jam, but they often collided with the stage that stood at one end of the court.

The stage is no longer there. As for the court? It’s just been named after Mann himself.

On Friday, Feb. 16, Mann returned to the private boys’ middle school and was honored. His number 14 was retired, and a plaque chronicled his achievements at Hillside, Florida State and the NBA’s Los Angeles Clippers, where he currently plays.

“This is crazy, man,” said a smiling Mann to a gym full of students, staff and family.

He said that the school “taught him to be a man” and advised current students to “take advantage of your friendships while you’re here.”

2012 grad

Born in Brooklyn, Mann moved to Lowell when he was 10. When he attended Hillside, he was known for being a quiet leader.

“He was a super kid and is a super person,” said Rich Meyer, the director of alumni relations who knew Mann back in the day.

After graduating from Hillside in 2012, Mann played for the Tilton School in New Hampshire, followed by four years at Florida State, before being drafted by the Clippers.

Mann credited his family, especially his mother, Daynia La-Force, who was a head basketball coach for Northeastern University and the University of Rhode Island.

He wore – and continues to wear – number 14 because “it was my mom’s number” when she played, Mann said.

In addition to his family, Mann brought along his teammates from Hillside.

“Nothing has changed” with him, said Temar Hermelijn, a former teammate who now works as a strength and conditioning coach and personal trainer in Canada. 

“He’s a family man, and a hard worker,” said Hermelijn.

Meyer added that Mann has returned to campus a couple of times, including a video shoot for his foundation, the Terance Mann Complete Player Foundation. The nonprofit helps disadvantaged youths gain access to academics and sports.

Before the dedication ceremonies, Mann and his Hillside teammates met with current students in the school’s cafeteria, signing autographs and taking selfies.

The group then headed to the gym.

“This is a special day in Hillside’s history,” said Head of School Ed Chase. “This is a young man who overcame all the odds to play in the NBA.”

“He should be an inspiring story for all of us,” Chase added.

For information on the Terance Mann Complete Player Foundation, visit https://www.tmcpf.org/.

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