Connie Hawkins of Boys High to Mobster Lucky Luciano

Connie Hawkins – Hawkins of Boys High in New York City, perhaps the greatest high school basketball player in the country in the late 1950s, came to the Capital Region and played in a game against some top area players at the Schenectady YMCA.  Hawkins was a 6’6″ skywalker, who could start at the top of the key, take two long strides, elevate, and stuff the basketball.  His leaping ability and acrobatic skills on the floor fit the mold of Julius Erving.  As an NBA player, Hawkins averaged 16.5 points and 8 rebounds per game.

Jimmy Tedisco – The state assemblyman was a basketball star at Bishop Gibbons and Union College.  At Gibbons, he was named the Diocesan League Player of the Year and to the Catholic All-American third team.  Tedisco was featured in Sports Illustrated’s Faces in the Crowd after one of his big single-game point productions.

Mike Zuglan – Zuglan, a premier pocket billiards player, once owned the  Pro Billiards Parlor in Altamont Plaza in Rotterdam.  It was next to where the Casa Real Mexican Restaurant is now located.  Zuglan once beat Ralph Wanderone, who was known as Minnesota Fats, and he won more than 200 pocket billiards tournaments.  Among them were three-time Eastern States and Cleveland all-around champion.  The games he competed in included straight ball, 9-ball, and 10-ball.

Bruce Hooker – A Scotia High School product, Hooker starred in basketball, but he also excelled at high-jumping.  His best effort in high school was six feet, and when he attended Hofstra University, he had a leap of 6’5″ in the Penn Relays.

Billy Connors – A two-sport star at Linton High School (baseball and basketball), Connors attended Syracuse University, and one year, the Orangemen finished third in the College Baseball World Series (1961).  In one game, Connors had five hits and belted homeruns in consecutive at-bats.

Marc Brown – One of the most heralded  basketball players in Siena College history, Sports Illustrated rated him the country’s eleventh best point guard.  Street & Smith Magazine listed him as a pre-season All-American Honorable Mention. The same publication name Brown to the All-MAAC team, and Inside Sports called Brown a clever penetrator with a deadly outside jumper, and one of the nation’s most exciting point guards.

Eddie Rimkus – Schenectady’s Eddie Rimkus was a member of the 4-man bobsked team thet won a gold medal at the Olympic Games in St. Moritz, Switzerland in 1948.

Tom Chestnut – Chestnut played basketball for Linton High and then Princeton University.  At different times, he was the President of the NBA’s Cleveland Cavaliers, and the CEO of the Philadelphia 76ers.

Amanda Blackstone – A basketball star at Mohonasen High School in Rotterdam, Blackstone scored the winning bucket with just a tick left on the clock in regulation play in the New York state all-star game her senior year.  Blackstone was named to the All-State first team.

Lenny Riley vs. Bobby Wayand – The 1952-53 basketball season, Riley was playing for St. Columba’s and Wayand for Scotia High School. They were two tenacious, high-scoring players and competing for the Schenectady County scoring lead.  In a crucial game, the two went head-to-head in a heated battle, and Riley scored  28 points  to take over the scoring lead.  He also pulled down 18 rebounds.

Lucky Luciano – The Schenectady  Mohawk Colored Giants baseball team played in the Electric City the 1920s.  Among the spectators at the games,  it was once  reported, were mobsters Lucky Luciano, Bugsy Siegel, and Frank Costello who ran clubs in the area.

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