New basketball courts honor New Albany student killed in 2020 car crash

Gary Seman Jr.
ThisWeek group
The new Michael Lucey Memorial Courts at Bevelhymer Park in New Albany are named for Lindsay Harris' son, Michael Lucey, who died after a car accident last year. Lucey was an avid basketball player whose nickname was the Mailman because he always delivered, she said.

The Michael Lucey Memorial Courts, two regulation-size basketball courts named in honor of a New Albany High School student killed in a car crash last year, have opened in Bevelhymer Park in New Albany.

Michael Lucey, 17, died after an Aug. 2 accident in Genoa Township.

Lindsay Harris, Lucey’s mother, sees the basketball courts as something positive coming from a tragic event.

Lucey would have been on track to graduate from New Albany this spring.

New Albany High School senior Michael Lucey is pictured in Sunriver, Oregon, during a road trip to visit universities with his mother, Lindsay Harris. Lucey, 17, died from injuries sustained in an Aug. 2 car accident in Genoa Township.

Standing 6-foot-3 and weighing 250 pounds, his mother called him a gentle giant who just loved basketball. His nickname, the Mailman, the same sobriquet as NBA great Karl Malone, was earned because he always delivered, Harris said.

“The thing about it is, it just kind of kept me going,” said Harris, who led the effort to raise $275,000 – the quote from the general contractor – to build the courts.

Any remaining or future funds will be used toward other improvements at the courts, she said.

Harris’ brother, Steele Harris, gave $25,000 and promised to match any donation through May. Harris contributed $70,000 and said she would match any donation through July.

Each court has covered bleachers for spectators, and the entrance to the courts at the park, 7860 Bevelhymer Road, includes two monument signs.

One recognizes Lucey and teammates of the Soupreme team, champions of the New Albany recreational basketball program in 2019, 2020 and 2021.

The other monument sign thanks donors in four sponsorship levels.

“It was just incredible, the outpouring of support from this community,” Harris said.

When the asphalt settles, the courts will be sealed and painted, said Brian Smith, superintendent of New Albany Parks & Recreation.

Harris made private donations through the New Albany Parks & Recreation Foundation, a nonprofit group that was being formed at the time, he said.

“It was the perfect opportunity to honor Michael in the appropriate way and bring a top-notch facility to the parks district,” Smith said.

Harris said she helped inspire her son's love for basketball, both as a longtime fan and former booster for the men’s basketball team at Stanford University, her alma mater.

"He just always enjoyed it," she said. "I really didn’t have to push."

Harris said she has warm emotions every time she drops by the courts and sees people playing hoops.

“The thing I hadn’t thought about, every time I drive by, I get those feel-good feelings,” she said.

gseman@thisweeknews.com

@ThisWeekGary