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On the night of the Holy Name Foundation Dinner-Dance.  My main man Jimmy Maloney…

UPDATED: Tuesday Nov. 30, 2010

After staring at this blog entry (just a habit I have) I couldn’t help but recall back in the day, the young man standing along-side me in the picture above.

At the time of the original post, so many thoughts were racing through my head about Jimmy Maloney. Honestly, I didn’t know where to start?

You can say I had ‘writer’s block’. But not in a negative way.

Jimmy, if you know him, is a GREAT dude! I don’t think anyone ever had a bad word to say about him.

Even though he attended Xaverian High School. Even though he is a few years younger than me.  Even though he was a way better basketball player than me. I owe it to him to throw up a few thoughts on the kid who grew up right off the corner of Prospect avenue and 10th avenue.

The first time I recall seeing Jimmy, he was a little kid, maybe 5 or 6 years old.  His late dad, Jim would bring him up to Bishop Ford on Sunday’s when the Father’s Guild sports program would play their home basketball games.  Jimmy’s dad was another great dude. He died at the age of 39.  Jim gave me a chance at coaching.  He always had words of encouragement for this 16-year-old coach.  Often times, there were adults in the neighborhood reaching out trying to help me, but of course, being the ignorant teen I was, I wouldn’t listen to them.

Jimmy always had a basketball in his hands (sounds familiar, huh?)  He’d run out on the court and toss-up shot after shot.  He’d dribble around the court while there was a break in the action.  He’d shoot on the side baskets too. Isn’t that we all did as little kids? But Jimmy was different, he took his talents to the highest level. He was committed to becoming the best basketball player he could become.

At Xaverian High School Jimmy was one of the top players in New York City.  Like someone pointed out to me in a recent e-mail, “Jimmy was one of the most fundamentally sound players to come out of our neighborhood”.

I couldn’t agree more.

He played point guard and was great at making teammates better. He was a born leader on the floor. He displayed toughness, courage and most of all, was a leader.

After playing for the Clippers, he went on to play at Colgate University located in Hamilton, New York where he teamed up with Adonal Foyle (he’s the 6’10” guy who turned down Duke and Syracuse. Foyle was a first round draft pick in 1997 by the Golden State Warriors and spent 12 seasons in the league).

Lacing his grips up for the Raiders, Jimmy had the chance of a lifetime to play in the NCAA men’s basketball tournament where he played against Kansas as a junior and UConn the following year.

“Nobody will remember us playing Lafayette or Lehigh, but losing to Kansas will stay with me all my life.” he said. (NY Times. March 14, 1996)

Against the Jayhawks in a 1995 first round tournament game, Colgate lost 82-68; Jimmy got the chance to match up with future pro Jacque Vaughn. In that game Jimmy handed out 10 assists.

The following season Jimmy made it back to the tournament; this time losing to the Huskies 68-59. Before the NCAA tournament, Jimmy led the Raiders to 3 straight Patriot League Tournament wins and was named all-tournament.

Sharing the ball was a great attribute in his game. During his last two years for Colgate, Jimmy led the Raiders in assists; he is currently 9th on the all-time career leader list in Colgate history. And who said Holy Name players don’t play defense? Jimmy led his team in steals in 1996.

I composed this entry a few days ago, I regret not taking the time to write about a wonderful person from our neighborhood.  A kid who was well-liked and well-mannered.  A kid who made  something of himself despite the passing of his dad when he was so young.

Matter of fact, if I had a vote or even a say in who should be nominated for next year’s ‘Holy Name Foundation’ Dinner-Dance induction, Jimmy would be at the top of my list!

-Steve

Hoops135@hotmail.com