The City Game


All around NYC, the high school hoops postseason is in full swing, and the best prep school ballers are battling for the right to showcase their stuff in the city championships. This Sunday, the Public Schools Athletic League (PSAL) finals will be held at Madison Square Garden; a week later, the Catholic High School Athletic Association (CHSAA) championship will take place at Fordham University. The road to those big games is paved with some of the finest talent in America, including three senior Catholic guards—dubbed the Holy Trinity—whose names will appear on the Big East’s marquee next season: Omar Cook of Christ the King (St. John’s), Taliek Brown of St. John’s Prep (UConn), and Andre Barrett of Rice (Seton Hall). All three were recently named to the McDonald’s All-American Team. From the Public division, players like J.C. Mathis (uncommitted) and Willie Shaw (St. John’s) of Kennedy and Eric King (St. John’s) of Lincoln will be carrying their respective schools on their broad shoulders, all the while carving their own legends into the hardwood and hoping to complete the kind of hoop résumé that one day will fall into that folder below, the one labeled The Greatest High School Basketball Players in the History of New York City.

** Lew Alcindor (Kareem Abdul-Jabbar), 7-2, Center, Power Memorial (1961-65). Alcindor led Power Memorial in Manhattan to three straight CHSAA championships from 1963 to ’65. During that time, Power compiled an astonishing 95-6 record, including a 71-game winning streak. That streak was halted by Dematha High School of Maryland, 46-43, on January 30, 1965, at the University of Maryland. Alcindor, who scored 2067 career points (which ranks him 38th all-time in New York State), was a three-time All-City selection and Parade Magazine All-American.

** Albert King, 6-6, Forward, Fort Hamilton (1973-77). Scored 2071 points at the Brooklyn school. Albert, who had a kid brother named Bernard, never won a championship, but came close in his senior year, when Fort Hamilton lost to Taft in the quarterfinals of the PSAL playoffs. Albert was a two-time All-City performer in his junior and senior seasons and a second-team All-City selection as a sophomore. He was twice named a Parade Magazine All-American and, as a senior, was named a McDonald’s All-American and received the Iron Horse Award as the best player in New York City.

** Kenny Anderson, 6-2, Guard, Archbishop Molloy (1985-89). Kenny the Kid rang up 2621 points at Molloy, ranking him first all-time among schoolboy scorers in New York State. Anderson also led Molloy to CHSAA championships in 1986 and ’87, and was named Most Valuable Player each year. In his senior season, Anderson was named Player of the Year in the state by the New York State Sportswriters Association, was a McDonald’s All-American, and was named Mr. Basketball by the New York State Coaches Organization. He is the only four-time All-City schoolboy selection in the history of New York City.

** Stephon Marbury, 6-2, Guard, Abraham Lincoln (1991-95). Marbury dazzled at the Coney Island school, pouring in 2078 career points (35th all-time). In his senior year, Marbury led Lincoln to the PSAL City Championship and the New York State Federation Championship, and was named Most Valuable Player in both tournaments. Marbury also led Lincoln to the PSAL championship games in both his sophomore and junior years, but the Railsplitters lost each time. Marbury, a two-time All-City selection, was named second-team All-City as a sophomore. As a senior, he was named Mr. Basketball in New York State and was also an Iron Horse winner.

** Felipe Lopez, 6-6, Guard, Rice (1990-94). The most celebrated New York City high school player since Lew Alcindor, Lopez dominated at the West Harlem school, racking up 2486 points (5th all-time). Lopez led Rice to the CHSAA and New York State Federation Championships in 1994, and was named Most Valuable Player of both tournaments. In his senior season, he was voted Player of the Year in New York State, was named a McDonald’s All-American, and was voted Mr. Basketball.

** Lloyd Daniels, 6-10, Guard/Forward, multiple schools (1983-86). The troubled SweePea Daniels bounced around at four different high schools in the mid ’80s, but showed his true basketball brilliance as a junior at Queens’s Andrew Jackson High in 1985-86—his only full season of basketball—when he averaged 31.2 points per game, 12.3 rebounds, and 10 assists. That year, Daniels was an All-City selection and the top-rated junior in the country by a number of scouting agencies and basketball publications. Daniels began his schoolboy career at Thomas Jefferson in Brooklyn and also played at Laurinburg in North Carolina. In between, SweePea made two stops at Oak Hill Academy in Virginia, but never dressed for a game there.

** Connie Hawkins, 6-7, Forward, Boys High School (1957-60). A tremendous rebounder and prolific scorer, the Hawk led the Brooklyn high school to back-to-back PSAL titles in 1959 and 1960. In his senior year, Hawkins led Boys with 26 points per game. When he was a sophomore, Hawkins’s team lost to DeWitt Clinton of the Bronx in the PSAL championship game. On the all-time high school All-America team, Hawkins would be the starting power forward.

** Dwayne Washington, 6-1, Guard, Boys and Girls High School (1980-83). As a freshman, Washington played one year at Norman Thomas in Manhattan before transferring to Boys and Girls High in Brooklyn and becoming a legend. As a senior, the Pearl, as he was known, averaged 35 points, 10 rebounds, and 8 assists. Overall, he averaged 26 points a game during his career, and notched 1755 points. During his tenure, Boys and Girls racked up a 62-9 record, but never made it to a state championship game. Pearl, a 65 percent career shooter, was a consensus All-American and was the Most Valuable Player of four major tournaments: the Wheelchair Classic, the McDonald’s All-Star game, the Dapper Dan Classic, and the Newsday Classic.

** Chris Mullin, 6-6, Forward, Xaverian (1979-81). Mullin began his high school career at Power Memorial, but transferred as a junior to Xaverian of Brooklyn, where he became a shooting star. Mullin led Xaverian to a New York State Federation Championship in 1981 and was voted Most Valuable Player of that tournament. Mo, as his friends and teammates still call him, averaged 25 points and 12 rebounds per game during his career at Xaverian, and 30 points and 14 rebounds per game during his senior year. As a junior and senior, Mullin was named to All-American teams by McDonald’s, Parade Magazine, and Eastern Basketball. As a senior, Mullin was recognized by the Hertz Company as the number one high school athlete in New York State.

** Kevin Joyce, 6-2, Guard/Forward, Archbishop Molloy (1965-69). Nicknamed “the White Tornado,” Joyce was first-team All-City in his junior and senior seasons. As a senior, he averaged 33 points and 18 boards per game in helping legendary coach Jack Curran earn his first city championship. Known for working harder than anybody else at both ends of the floor.

** Honorable Mentions: Phil Sellers (6-4, Forward/ Center, Thomas Jefferson, 1968-72); Roger Brown (6-5, Forward, Wingate, 1956- 1960); Butch Lee (6-0, Guard, DeWitt Clinton, 1970-74); Billy Cunningham (6-5, Forward, Erasmus Hall, 1957-61); Dean “the Dream” Meminger (6-1, Guard, Rice, 1963-67).

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