It was Nostalgia Day at Madison Square Garden on Tuesday.
Not at the Knicks open workout before thousands of old and hopefully many new NBA hoop fans on the MSG hardwood.
But rather downstairs in the MSG Theatre lobby, where the ninth annual Pro Am Achievement Awards luncheon was taking place.
Just about everybody associated with high school and community center basketball was in attendance as Pro Am, the National City Leagues Association, Inc. recognized some 14 people who contributed to the local hoop scene throughout the years.
For this columnist who was one of the awardees at the second ceremony in 1993, it was a day of renewing old friendships and retelling and embellishing many stories.
He was umping first base at a Mets game years later and when he made a close call, I razzed him good from the stands, Mascia laughed.
Cecil Watkins, who ran the Ray Felix Summer League and Elmcor for many years and now is the president and CEO of the Pro Am, said: We celebrate our honorees who have achieved significant career accomplishments, displayed leadership and who have given generously back to the community.
Watkins connection with basketball goes back to the old days when he played for John Adams High School.
Also, Rose Korten, deputy director of the PSAL and one of the prime movers of womens sports in the city, John Andariese, Knicks radio analyst, Armond Hill, coach at Columbia University and former all-city player at Bishop Ford, Ed Krinsky, ex-high school coach at Westbury High who is now director of operations for the United States Basketball League, and Steve Mills, president of sports team operation for the Garden.
Just about all the inductees fit in my life as an ex-player, as a coach or as a sportswriter.
Gershon and Fiedler were two of my favorite coaches to write about. Both were dedicated, hard working and outstanding mentors. But not only were they successful coaches on the hardwood, they were good copy off the court.
Gershon headed the Queens PSAL coaches and stood up for the boroughs mentors. He was always good for a quote or two on the problems with the organization.
Fiedler lived on controversy. He was always ready to speak his mind. He would give you a pro or con quote on any topic. If you said blue, hed say red. And if you said red, hed say blue.
Need a story, call Fiedler!
Gershon is a double for Ken Howard, who played White Shadow on TV. He was a talented player at LIU and was the only coach at Hillcrest until he retired this past June.
He had an exemplary record of not missing a single game of the 662 consecutive played during his 30 years of coaching. He retired with a 463-100 record.
This prompted Fiedler, who never misses an opportunity at humor, to remark at the dinner that he figured Gershon would go to a wedding in the same attire.
Fiedler, retired since 1995, is proud of the fact that he coached more than 400 track and field and basketball athletes who attended college on athletic scholarships.
While coaching at Alexander Hamilton he was runner up for the city championship twice and won the city title while at Springfield Gardens.
He numbers NBA star Anthony Mason as one of his former players.
He spends his time now in Oceanside, or running his Brookwood camps, or in Miami rooting for his son Jay, who is the quarterback for the Miami Dolphins.
Crowley, who grew up in Elmhurst, started his whistle career in the CYO, YMCA, Elmcor and in the National Pro-Am City Leagues.
He has worked the Holiday Festival 19 times, the NIT finals 10 times, and the NCAA tournament 19 straight years. He also officiated the NCAA finals in 1989 and 1991 and the pre-Olympic Games in Germany, Mexico City and Uruguay.
A Brownsville native, Turetzky assisted ex-NBA star Max Zaslofsky doing many administrative chores for the AAU ABC Freighters. When the ABA was formed, he moved on to the New Jersey Americans, and then the newly named New York Nets and New Jersey Nets.
Since his early days in Brooklyn, his passion for basketball continued to grow. In addition to his career with the Nets and career as teacher for the city, Turetzky was the coordinator of the Metropolitan New York NBA Pro-Am Basketball League, director of the city and state Special Olympics and director of the Maurice Stokes Benefit Basketball Games at Kutshers.
He started Crown Trophy and has provided awards for various community-based organizations.
The Times Newsweekly was one of them.
Small in stature, Korten is a giant in girls sports. She is the first woman to hold the position of deputy director of the Public Schools Athletic League with responsibilities representing the organization in city, state and national capacities.
She organized and implemented three citywide events, the NYC Board of Education celebration of National Girls and Women in Sports Day, the Pegasus Awards Dinner and the Iron Horse Awards Dinner.
She has been a champion in positive changes on all sports across the board but most particularly the girls sports program.
I remember the Kutchers games so well, remembered his daughter, June, now an art teacher in Boston public schools.
Krinsky was also an international coach in Israel, Egypt and the Soviet Union and a former advance scout for the Detroit Pistons and Houston Rockets.
The others have also touched my life, but it was the six that played an integral part.
All 14 were giants in their respective fields and gave back to the community in a big way.
Great action at I.S. 8
Plenty of hoop action this weekend on Merrick Boulevard in Jamaica in the I.S. 8 tournament going into its playoffs in the 30-team action.
Saturday is an off day as the schoolboy stars will be concentrating on their SAT tests.
But Sunday the playoff action continues with four games starting at 9:30 a.m.
Rise Above meets the Rebels in the opener, followed by an 11 a.m. clash between tw
The feature clash at 2 p.m. has the Brooklyn Bridge, paced by soph sensation Sebastian Telfair and 610 junior Chris Taft against Future Stars with L.I. Lutherans Nick Carter, son of former Knick Reggie Carter.
The quarterfinals are next Friday with the semifinals on October 20 (11 a.m. and 12:30 p.m.) and finals on October 21 at 11 a.m.
In an earlier game, Lock Steady beat Sonday 97-94 on a corner jumper by George Jefferson.
The score was tied at 91-91 when Christ the Kings Japhet McNeil hit a trey for Sonday. But Jefferson matched it and then hit the gamer.
Gary Berbir led the winners with 21, and Lenny Cooke had 18. Molloys Sundiata Gaines led all scores with 34 for Sonday.
In another encounter, Cooke had 51 in an 88-81 win over the Connecticut talent.
Another big offensive display was had by the LPAC Knights Moses Gonzalez, who hit for 40 in a 103-62 win over the Blue Chips.
Gonzalez, who attends Walton but is ineligible, had 45 and 38 in earlier appearances .
The Aviation standout had 18 in a 76-67 win over Huntington and 19 in a 64-60 win against the Flatbush Boys Club.
Loughlins Curtis Sumpter, who is headed for Villanova, had 28 as the Long Island Panthers crushed Huntington, 96-55.
Aime aims high
Holy Cross dropped two of its first three grid games, but Woody Aime was still the leading rusher in the CHSFL with 478 yards, 159.3 a game. He is also No. 1 in all-purpose yards with 201 an outing.
Grid games this week have Christ the King hosting Bishop Kellenberg on Saturday night (7 p.m.) at St. Johns.
That afternoon, Holy Cross plays Xaverian at Erasmus Field at 2:30. Its St. Francis Prep vs. Cardinal Hayes at 1 p.m. on Sunday at St. Johns.