HS Basketball Prodigy What Could Have Beens

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Back when you couldn't walk down a street in briddgeport without bumping into a great basketball player. Walter was an amazing outside shooter, with all the other necessary skills, too. There was a career destroyed by an injury before it even started.
Ed Czernota was another outstanding Bridgeport kid.
hell yea at Sacred Heart U there was a traveling college all star team featuring Elvin Hayes and Moose Czernota gave Hayes all he wanted out there, big strong guy with a soft touch
 
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I'm a bit older, but continued to follow MBIAC hoops through the glory years. Unfortunately, as the brain ages, the details of timing and order get fuzzy, even though I can still mentally picture the guys and their particular skills. There was one kid at Harding that just blew my mind, Phil Murphy. Offensive rebound machine in the mold of Marcus White and Johnnytime, but he was only like 5-10, if memory serves.
All those Murphys could jump through the gym, Willie was unbelievable and could touch top of backboard at about 6 ft 3,,,brother Richie same and Phillip probably had best vert of them all.
 
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Nah ,Im not buying that he shot over 50 % everywhere and DiCicco doesnt belong in the same sentence as national player of the year, played against Rick and Kevin Hickey almost daily no comparison
I did say much lesser version. And they both had weird shots. Just trying to keep it BPort local.
 

olehead

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A Norwalk guy by the name of Emmitt Lewis who had the potential but did not make it to the NBA. This kid was the closest thing to Gervin in the mid-80's. He was 6'6", wiry like Gervin, w/ a bit of an unorthodox game. Guard skills, good outside touch, nice floater game before the floater was in vogue. Played for NHS, je was all-state, all fciac.

Think he had to take the juco route and believe injured his knees which curtailed his career.
 

VA Blue Dog

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Billy Finn Sacred Heart was the greatest high school BB player I ever saw. He could shoot like Stephen Curry and dribble like Marques Haynes. He had a little bit of Pistol in him with his "no look" passes. There wer
 
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Am taking this out of CT, but one of the all-time New England flops was Jack (The Shot) Foley, of Worcester, MA. A HS phenom at Assumption Prep (41.8 ppg senior year), star at Holy Cross (teammate of Tommy Heinsohn) who led the nation in scoring his senior year, The Shot didn't play a lick of defense. His NBA career consisted of 11 games.
 

VA Blue Dog

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There were close games when he would try to dribble out the clock and the fans would cheer louder and louder. Got 52 against Naugatuck in pre 3 area. I knew him personally and still remember the pick up games in Fulton Park in Waterbury. Died way before his talent could be seen by more.
 
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You mentioned the Wilbur cross Trumbull game was 1974 The game was actually at the old New Haven Coliseum
Trumbull was an excellent team led by Dave Cox Very physically imposing team
Certainly a championship level team
The Wilbur cross team is considered the
Best hs team ever in ct and won98-65
To say the landscape of high school basketball has changedWould be quite an understatement
The majority of the best high school players move on to basketball Academy’s prep schools etc. and you can turn on your TV and see a high school team With eight or 10 Division I players
Trumbull had at least 3 scholarship level
Players and w cross had 3 very high level
Players and other scholarship players .All players from their town or city..Feel fortunate to have been able to see that game
Wow what a memory. My dad was a senior on the 74 Trumbull squad. One of my favorite stories I’ve heard him tell. They got pummeled but man Campbell and Williamson were the real deal.
 

Griggs

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that was my heyday and while playing for Harding went against Luckett, McCloud, Oleynik, Rich Semo from Cenral, Harrison Taylor Bassick and Sunny Jim Fitzsimmons who could shoot the lights out. One guy who always amazed me and me be totally unknown was Raymond "Poodgie"Andrade...he was magical and went from school in Bpt usually flunking out or suspended but he played with an Earl the Pearl flair

Just another fwiw theres a book about the 70s MBIAC basketball and its stars written by an SI writer who was local Pat Jordan ,myself and others are in it in an implied manner.
that was my heyday and while playing for Harding went against Luckett, McCloud, Oleynik, Rich Semo from Cenral, Harrison Taylor Bassick and Sunny Jim Fitzsimmons who could shoot the lights out. One guy who always amazed me and me be totally unknown was Raymond "Poodgie"Andrade...he was magical and went from school in Bpt usually flunking out or suspended but he played with an Earl the Pearl flair

Just another fwiw theres a book about the 70s MBIAC basketball and its stars written by an SI writer who was local Pat Jordan ,myself and others are in it in an implied manner.
Great book. Pat Jordan was a pretty good pitcher for Prep.
McCloud and Olynenik were first cousins who played at ND Bpt. MBIAC basketball in the 70s was as good as any high school basketball in the state. Many great players who did not make it to the next level.
Wilber Cross had Clint Davis and Alex Scott, but Central had Tom Sparks and Gene Mack.Both were great guard tandems.
 

ClifSpliffy

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I'm a bit older, but continued to follow MBIAC hoops through the glory years. Unfortunately, as the brain ages, the details of timing and order get fuzzy, even though I can still mentally picture the guys and their particular skills. There was one kid at Harding that just blew my mind, Phil Murphy. Offensive rebound machine in the mold of Marcus White and Johnnytime, but he was only like 5-10, if memory serves.
'3m wrecking crew' as in mckay (UConn), mathews, and murphy. can't find it, but i think wes was on the cover of SI with the words 'fastest man in college basketball' or something like that. jr is now with lebron on the team that his pop won two rings with.
coach McLeod was Chief's roomy at Centenary. i think he was on the Bulls for a bit.
playing in tourneys at sheen or hall neighborhood was nutz. way better locals than the westchester league, and knicks and nets players often turned up, sometimes just to watch.
when sir charles smith played at pitt long ago, he brought park city grit to that school in BE heyday. of course, gentleman that he is, the players made him something like vp of the nba players association later. meadowlark lived over in fairdale. bc hasn't been good since john bagleys time.
so many, soooooo many ballers. too bad many couldn't get a break. how good?
check this aboot bruce webster teams:
'Under his direction, the Purple Knights made a total of 12 NCAA National Tournament appearances (1968, 1972, 1973, 1976, 1977, 1978, 1979, 1985, 1989, 1990, 1991, 1992), won five NCAA Regional Titles (1976, 1979, 1990, 1991, 1992) and reached the NCAA Division II National Championship Game in 1991 and 1992.'
norm taylor just passed.
Illawarra Hawks great 'Stormin' Norman Taylor dies aged 55 - ABC News
and then gminski, smitty ('the smitty shuffle!), harold jensen (hey villanova! he won the dang title for youse!), jim abromaitis coming down regularly from creampuff city to learn the real, and on, and on, and on... walt luckett averaged 25 ppg his last year at ohio, while shooting at 53%. no 3 ball then. john garris of bassick was the 27th pick of nba draft,
sir charles smith and john bagley, of Harding, both won Big East Player of The Year. how many high schools can say that?
lots of Bridgeport hoops luv here.
Hilltoppers rule.
 
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I'm a bit older, but continued to follow MBIAC hoops through the glory years. Unfortunately, as the brain ages, the details of timing and order get fuzzy, even though I can still mentally picture the guys and their particular skills. There was one kid at Harding that just blew my mind, Phil Murphy. Offensive rebound machine in the mold of Marcus White and Johnnytime, but he was only like 5-10, if memory serves.
Bill Battle jumped center for Middletown at 5’8”. Easily over the box with both hands standing underneath the basket. Saw him jump to block a pass, and watched a 6’+ guard dribble under him. MHS beat East Catholic for state championship in 1964.
 
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I'm a Fairfield County guy and was a baby when Calvin Murphy was at NHS.
But Ernie Cobb & Anthony Harris were the most dominant players who never reached their potential.
 
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Wow what a memory. My dad was a senior on the 74 Trumbull squad. One of my favorite stories I’ve heard him tell. They got pummeled but man Campbell and Williamson were the real deal.
I was going to mention Soup and Jiggy. Best team in the country.
 
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Tom sparks. Gene mack
Great players at Bridgeport Central unfortunately they had to play Wilbur cross for the 68 state championship against the aforementioned Alex Scott and Clint Davis isnd a sophomore named John Williamson who iess pretty good lol
Went to the game and it was very lopsided score 40 plts or so
They did lose one game that year to Hartford public with bob Nash /Detroit Pistons
Alex Scott played with John Williamson at
N Mexico State. I believe was a late round nba pick
To our younger folks the landscape in the
1960’s and 1970’s was very different. There were no AAU teams. Players improved their game at the local parks playing against older players and grown man There was no three-point shot the game was very different
Opportunities for scholarships were very limited for Black players
The major colleges that were not integrated is too numerous to mention. Even those schools would recruit black players was done in a limited basis. Recruiting in general is all regional
The number of division one schools has expanded tremendously
But perhaps the biggest change is where players go to high school
If you look at the current UConn men’s basketball roster I don’t believe there are any players who are from city public schools
Not trying to editorialize just acknowledging how things of changed
 

ClifSpliffy

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Tom sparks. Gene mack
Great players at Bridgeport Central unfortunately they had to play Wilbur cross for the 68 state championship against the aforementioned Alex Scott and Clint Davis isnd a sophomore named John Williamson who iess pretty good lol
Went to the game and it was very lopsided score 40 plts or so
They did lose one game that year to Hartford public with bob Nash /Detroit Pistons
Alex Scott played with John Williamson at
N Mexico State. I believe was a late round nba pick
To our younger folks the landscape in the
1960’s and 1970’s was very different. There were no AAU teams. Players improved their game at the local parks playing against older players and grown man There was no three-point shot the game was very different
Opportunities for scholarships were very limited for Black players
The major colleges that were not integrated is too numerous to mention. Even those schools would recruit black players was done in a limited basis. Recruiting in general is all regional
The number of division one schools has expanded tremendously
But perhaps the biggest change is where players go to high school
If you look at the current UConn men’s basketball roster I don’t believe there are any players who are from city public schools
Not trying to editorialize just acknowledging how things of changed
'Great players at Bridgeport Central Wilbur cross unfortunately they had to play Wilbur cross Bridgeport Central for the 68 75 state championship.'
ftfy. 🤭
on the udder hand, this point of yours is brilliant. stunning, too. i never thought aboot it much before now. kudos.
'But perhaps the biggest change is where players go to high school
If you look at the current UConn men’s basketball roster I don’t believe there are any players who are from city public schools.'
 
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Bridgeport hoops were unreal back in the day. I often wonder why the talent now doesn’t seem to add up to what it was a few decades ago.
 

ClifSpliffy

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Bridgeport hoops were unreal back in the day. I often wonder why the talent now doesn’t seem to add up to what it was a few decades ago.
i think that the other poster nailed it with the private school sports factories observation.
i know Bport 8th graders getting recruiting visits today. pops sez fairdale prep started the whole game long ago.
 

RichZ

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To our younger folks the landscape in the
1960’s and 1970’s was very different. There were no AAU teams. Players improved their game at the local parks playing against older players and grown man There was no three-point shot the game was very different
In the 60s, and even into the 80s. If you drove by Washington Park or Nannygoat Park unless it was pouring rain or the courts were covered with snow, there was a pickup game going on. Often with a couple teams waiting be NEXT. Maybe 25 years ago -- give or take a few -- I had occasion to drive by Washington Park, which was my home court in the 61 to 63/64 timeframe, and there wasn't a ball or a baller in sight. The park looked like a war zone. The poles the backboards were mounted on were leaning and as far as I could tell, the lights that used to let us play until they went off at 10PM were gone. Real tear in the eye moment for me.
Then about 10 years ago, I went by again. The park was spotless. The bushes and trees were well groomed, and there were kids, and even families enjoying the park. Concrete stanchions set well off the playing surface supported nice, new backboards. Still no games going on, but there were a couple kids shooting. Might have been playing horse. I've gone by a few times since, and the park is still looking pretty good, and the courts are in use regularly.

Just did a google street view of the park Pic is from 2019.
park.jpg

The red brick building on the next block down was the White Eagles hall. The ski on the end of my surname suggests that I spent a lot of time there as a youngster.
 

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