With no money for rings, big names and big hearts step up for prep champs

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CHICAGO -- A picture perfect ending for the Morgan Park High School boys’ basketball team came to a halt when CPS announce it had no money to buy their championship rings.

But that’s when an array of donors stepped up, from alums, to the team they beat, to a former Chicago Bear.

In March, the Mustangs beat the Friars of Fenwick to win their third title in the last five years.

But unlike the previous two under Coach Nick Irvin, there would be no championship rings. The money for the basketball program had been spent.  CPS couldn't pitch in like in 2013 and 2014 because of current budget woes.

So Athletic Director Mike Berger took to social media to ask for donations. The response was huge - from strangers to alums to the Fenwick Friars themselves.

“They care about our kids and they just sent us whatever they could,” Berger said.  “The Fenwick people, I can't say enough about it. To lose to us and then just turn around and want to donate to us it touches your heart."

Coach Irvin and Fenwick coach Rick Malnati are the best of friends.

And then, former Chicago Bear turned Super Bowl winner Martellus Bennett called to say he would buy all the rings himself. The other donations could be used for other expenses in the program including buying championship banners for 2013, 2014 and now 2017.

And Bennett will also design the rings.

The players received the news just days ago in a FaceTime call with Bennett.

They will get the rings in a ceremony sometime in May and Bennett will on hand.  He says he's going to bring some “friends” with him too.

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