If you played basketball in the tri-state area at any point over the last four decades, chances are you knew Tom Konchalski.
Konchalski was a renowned scout and talent evaluator who lived New York City, but worked all over the tri-state area, keeping notes on every high school boys basketball player you could think of — and plenty more you haven’t heard of — for his monthly newsletter, High School Basketball Illustrated.
Konchalski died Monday of cancer at 74.
The tributes have been pouring out ever since, including from University of Kentucky coach John Calipari, Iona coach Rick Pitino, and former New Haven Register sportswriter Seth Davis from CBS Sports and The Athletic.
Tom Konchalski, one of the giants of basketball and a Five Star Camp family member, has passed away. The Glider, as he was nicknamed by Howard Garfinkel, may be one of the best human beings I have ever come across in my lifetime. He was a friend to many and an enemy to none.
— John Calipari (@UKCoachCalipari) February 8, 2021
A great human being passed today. Tom Konchakski was a great friend to the basketball world. The kindest man I’ve met in my lifetime. RIP Glider
— Rick Pitino (@RealPitino) February 8, 2021
— Seth Davis (@SethDavisHoops) February 9, 2021
Rather than try to put into my own words what he meant to the basketball community, may I suggest two pieces written by Adam Zagoria, a fine journalist and a close friend of Konchalski’s, on Forbes, and NJ.com.
We had Wilbur Cross boys basketball coach Kevin Walton on the initial Courtside with Joe Morelli podcast on Monday morning before we learned about Konchalski’s death.
As I was signing off the interview, Walton interrupted wanting to mention Konchalski, who had gone into hospice care over the weekend.
“I was out at a fall league game (in the New Haven area) two years ago had (Konchalski) was there,” Walton said in the interview. I introduced myself, ‘I’m Kevin Walton, I remember you from years ago.’ He says, ‘Kevin Walton, St. Peter’s, Staten Island, Class of ‘86.’ I swear to you. I was like, ‘What?’ I wasn’t even that good.
“I wish I could get my hands on his notes. He had tremendous notes of every player you heard of and dind’t hear of. He saw the value in helping kids in their recruiting process and not wanting anything for it.”
Walton is a part of CARE (Coaches Advancement for Racial Equity) and he said the group had planned to honor him in some fashion for all that he gave to the game.
Rest in peace, Tom Konchalski.
Please go to GametimeCT.com High School Sports to read full article.