By Kevin Askeland
Lance Stephenson of Lincoln High School in Brooklyn, N.Y., passed former Lincoln standout Sebastian Telfair on the all-time career scoring list in the state of New York last week, which got us to thinking about some of the great players that have come out of the Big Apple.
Perhaps more than any city in America, New York City is known for the amazing group of point guards it has produced over the years. Here we list the City’s top 10 points guards of all time.
One quick note, only players who eventually reached the NBA were considered, so you won’t find King Rice on this list (even if his name is a unique combination of two high schools in New York City). We’ve also only listed players who finished their playing careers at a New York City high school. So Rod Strickland, who played his senior year at Oak Hill Academy, was not listed.
The list tries to rank players by their performance at the high school level, however their college and NBA careers were also considered.
10. Larry Brown, Long Beach, Long Island
Although known for his long coaching career that includes stints with nine NBA teams, two ABA teams and three college teams, Brown was a standout player in college and in the ABA. Brown attended Long Beach High School on Long Island and played for Dean Smith at North Carolina. He played in the 1964 Olympics and joined the ABA in 1967 with the New Orleans Buccaneers. He led the Oakland Oaks to an ABA title in 1969 (along with Rick Barry and Doug Moe) and finished his career as the all-time assist leader in ABA history. As a coach, Brown is the only coach in history to lead an NBA team (Detroit) and NCAA team (Kansas) to a championship. He was elected to the Hall of Fame in 2002.
9. Nate Archibald, DeWitt Clinton, Bronx
Cut from the team as a sophomore, Archibald eventually rejoined the team at DeWitt Clinton as a junior with limited playing time. Archibald blossomed as a senior and earned all-city honors in 1966, but he didn’t have adequate grades to play immediately out of high school. After three standout seasons at University of Texas at El Paso, Archibald was picked in the 1970 draft by the Cincinnati Royals. He led the NBA in scoring (34.0) and assists (11.4) in 1973 and was named the league’s most valuable player. He was a six-time NBA all-star and was elected to the Hall of Fame in 1991.
8. Lenny Wilkens, Boys, Brooklyn
Wilkens didn’t begin playing on the varsity team at Boys High School in Brooklyn until his senior year. He played well enough during that one season to earn a scholarship to Providence where he led the team to the NIT finals. The sixth pick in the NBA draft in 1960, Wilkens joined the St. Louis Hawks and went on to nine all-star appearances. Wilkens became a coach in the NBA, winning a championship with the Seattle Sonics in 1979. He retired from coaching as the winningest coach in NBA history with 1,332 wins. He was named to the Hall of Fame in 1998.
7. Mark Jackson, Bishop Loughlin Memorial, Brooklyn
Jackson was one of the top players in the country in 1985, leading Bishop Loughlin to a state championship. He played at St. John’s where he became the university’s all-time assist leader. Drafted by his hometown New York Knicks in 1987, Jackson was the NBA rookie of the year in 1988. During his 17-year NBA career, Jackson played for seven teams and finished second on the all-time career assists list with 10,344.
6. Kenny Smith, Archbishop Molloy, Jamaica, Queens
A cousin to Kenny Anderson, Smith starred at Molloy in the early 1980s and appeared in the McDonald’s All-American game in 1983. He became a four-year starter at North Carolina and set the school record for assists. The No. 6 pick in the 1987 draft by the Sacramento Kings, Smith eventually played for six teams and won two NBA championships with the Houston Rockets.
5. Pearl Washington, Boys and Girls, Brooklyn
Washington was a legend on the playgrounds of Brooklyn and he became the No. 1 ranked player in the class of 1983 while at Boys and Girls in Brooklyn. Washington attended Syracuse University where he is still considered one of the top recruits in the school’s history. He averaged 15.6 points and 6.7 assists in three seasons with the Orangemen and was a first-team All-American as a senior. Drafted by the Washington Bullets in 1986, Washington played just 194 games in the NBA before being cut in 1989 by the Miami Heat.
4. Bob Cousy, Andrew Jackson, Cambria Heights
Cousy didn’t become a star on the hardcourt until his senior year at Andrew Jackson High School in St. Albans. He led his team to the Queens division championship and he was the leading scorer in the city. He made the all-city team and took his talents to Holy Cross in Massachusetts where he became a three-time All-American. Drafted originally by the Tri-City Blackhawks, but played his first season with the Chicago Stags. When that team folded, Red Auerbach of the Boston Celtics picked up the hometown hero. Cousy went on to earn all-NBA honors for 13 years while playing on six NBA championship teams. He was elected to the Hall of Fame in 1971.
3. Stephon Marbury, Lincoln, Brooklyn
A three-time all-state choice for the Railsplitters, Marbury was a McDonald’s All-American in 1995 and was considered one of the top five recruits in the nation. He played one year at Georgia Tech, earning third team All-American honors. He was drafted in 1996 by the Milwaukee Bucks and has played for four teams in his NBA career. In his 14-year career, Marbury has averaged 19.7 points and 7.8 assists per game.
2. Sebastian Telfair, Lincoln, Brooklyn
Telfair finished his high school career at Lincoln as the all-time leading scorer in New York with 2,785 points. The Railsplitters won three PSAL titles and one state title with Telfair leading the way. He averaged 33.2 points and 9.2 assists his senior year and was a finalist for the 2004 Naismith Award. He was selected with the 13th pick by the Portland Trailblazers in the 2004 NBA draft. He played two seasons with the Boston Celtics and was traded to the Minnesota Timberwolves in 2007.
1. Kenny Anderson, Archbishop Molloy, Jamaica, Queens
Anderson finished his career as the state’s all-time leading scorer with 2,621 points. He still ranks third all-time behind Lance Stephenson and Sebastian Telfair, both of Lincoln. A three-time all-state player, Anderson also earned Parade All-American honors for three seasons. He had two outstanding seasons at Georgia Tech before being drafted by the New Jersey Nets with the second overall pick in the 1991 draft. He played for seven teams during a 16-year NBA career.