Often times on the blog I mention John Jay High School down on seventh avenue.
I tried being a student there three different times; that has to be a record, right? As you know, it never worked out.
I also mention many of the basketball players from our neighborhood that suited up for the Indians. We also had a ton of kids from the neighborhood attend school there. Remember the freshmen and sophomores went from twelve non to five and the juniors and seniors went in the morning. Cool system, right?
Guys like John Corrar, Patty Byrnes (best rebounder I have ever seen in the Summer League) and my guy Jackie Ryan. Did you know Jimmy Fallon’s cousin Kevin played for Jay? He was a heck of a player too.
One afternoon while chatting with my friend Carl he mentioned that John Jay produced an NBA player; his name used to be Donald Smith. Now I know Joe Pepitone went there but I don’t ever recall an NBA player coming through.
I was like, “huh”?
Donald Smith played for John Jay before he went on to Iowa State to play his college ball and then had a ten-year career (1968-1978) in the NBA playing for seven different clubs. Played for Houston and Seattle twice.
Smith changed his name to Zaid Abdul-Aziz during his NBA days.
I’m not sure which neighborhood he lived in as a kid. Anyone remember?