New-York Historical Society's Bill Shannon Dictionary of New York Sports

Category Archives: Basketball

Richie Adubato


Richie Adubato (Pro basketball.  Born, East Orange, NJ, Nov. 23, 1937.)  A former head coach for three N.B.A. teams, Richard Adam Adubato was to lead the Liberty to the W.N.B.A. final three times in four years.  On Dec. 9, 1998, Adubato was hired by the Liberty, succeeding Nancy Darsch, who coached the team during its first two seasons.  In his first year, the Liberty won the Eastern Conference and made the W.N.B.A. final, losing to Houston, two games to one.  In 2000 and 2002, Adubato again coached the Liberty into the final, only to lose to Houston and then Los Angeles.  After a 7-9 start in 2004, he was fired and replaced by assistant Pat Coyle.  Adubato was 100-78 (.562) in the regular season and 14-13 in the playoffs during his Liberty tenure.  Previously, he had been an N.B.A. head coach at Detroit (1979-80), Dallas (1989-92), and Orlando (1996-97).  Adubato was an N.B.A. assistant for five teams, including the Knicks (1982-86).  He brought a record of nearly 40 years of coaching to the job, including a six-year stint at the now-defunct Upsala College in East Orange, N.J. (1972-78, 100-62) and 19 years in the N.B.A.  Adubato was a star athlete from 1956-59 at William Paterson College (Wayne, N.J.), where he captained the basketball team and the baseball team as the first baseman on the Pioneers’ 1959 N.A.I.A. national champions.  He was also a highly-successful basketball coach at Our Lady of the Valley H.S. in New Jersey.  He coached for 18 seasons in New Jersey high schools, where he was 290-85.  He later coached Washington in the W.N.B.A.

John Andariese


John Andariese (Basketball.  Born, Brooklyn, NY, Aug. 19, 1938.)  As a senior, John Andariese was captain of Fordham’s 1959-60 basketball squad, earning all-Met honors after scoring 339 points (13.0 per game) for the Rams, who had gone to the N.I.T. the two previous years.  But Andariese became familiar to two generations of New York basketball fans as a color commentator starting in 1972.  That year, he began the first of four stints as a Knicks radio analyst, interspersed with trips to the television side.  He was abruptly suspended in the midst of a West Coast Knicks trip Mar. 28, 2000, for what he admitted was misuse of his employee tickets to home games, but returned the next season.  Andariese was also a television analyst for college basketball (ESPN, NBC, WWOR Channel 9 and CBS) and for 12 years (1986-98) on Knicks telecasts.

Ron Artest


Ron Artest (College basketball.  Born, Queensbridge, NY, Nov. 13, 1979.)  Although on his way to becoming one of the top 10 career scorers at St. John’s, Ronald William Artest decided to turn pro after his sophomore season.  Artest was then selected in the first round of the N.B.A. draft by Chicago (16th pick overall).  A 6’6”, 240-pound forward, he had been the third-best scorer on Fran Fraschilla’s last Red Storm team in 1997-98 (22-10) with 372 points in 32 games (11.6 points per game) and improved to 535 points in 37 games (14.5) under Mike Jarvis for the 1998-99 team that finished 28-9 and made the N.C.A.A. Regional final.  He finished his St. John’s career with 907 points in 69 games (13.1) and 433 rebounds (6.3).

John Azary


John Azary (College basketball.  Born, The Bronx, NY, Oct. 14, 1929; died, Washington, DC, Sept. 15, 1981.)  The son of Hungarian immigrants who became naturalized U.S. citizens, John D. Azary became the first Columbia player to score over 1,000 points in a three-year varsity career.  Azary was a strong 6’3”, 200 pounds who played forward but liked to move in the pivot area with the ball.  He also had a good outside touch from up to 25 feet.  As a junior in 1949-50, Azary set a school record with 423 points (14.6 average), surpassing Walter Budko’s 381 (1947-48).  The team finished 22-7.  At Commerce H.S., Azary captained a team that won 20 games before losing in the P.S.A.L. semifinal.  In 1950-51, he virtually duplicated that performance as captain of a Columbia team that was 22-0 in the regular season (12-0 as E.I.B.L. champion) but lost to Illinois, 79-71, at Madison Square Garden in the first round of the N.C.A.A. tournament.  He finished his career with 1,015 points (14.1 per game) and was the 1951 Haggerty Award winner as the area’s best collegiate player.

Johnny Bach


Johnny Bach (College basketball.  Born, Brooklyn, NY, July 10, 1924.)  Following a career as a college player at Rochester, Brown, and Fordham, interrupted by military service in World War II, John William Bach became Fordham’s head basketball coach in 1950.  His first five teams were 93-39 and his overall record for 18 seasons (1950-68) was 263-193.  Bach sent five Rams teams to the N.I.T.  He then coached 11 seasons at Penn State (1968-79), where he was 122-121 before going to the N.B.A.  At Golden State, Bach was 95-172 in parts of four seasons (1980, 1983-86).  He was also a long-time N.B.A. assistant coach, most notably with the Chicago Bulls, where he assisted Phil Jackson’s six N.B.A. champions.

James Bailey


James Bailey (College basketball.  Born, Boston, MA, May 27, 1957.)  A lanky freshman on the Rutgers team that was 31-0 going into the national semifinals in 1976, James L. Bailey went on to become the school’s third 2,000-point scorer.  Bailey averaged only 8.5 points per game on the 1975-76 team but came into his own as a sophomore with 468 points in 28 games (16.7 per game).  He finished his career with 2,034 points (16.7) and 1,047 rebounds (second-best in Scarlet Knights history).  At 6’9”, 220 pounds, Bailey was a first-round pick by Seattle (sixth overall) in the 1979 N.B.A. draft.  He had a 10-year N.B.A. career (561 games) that included a stint with the Knicks in 1984-85 and two tours with the Nets.

Kevin Bannon


Kevin Bannon (College basketball.  Born, Verona, NJ, June 11, 1957.)  On Apr. 3, 1997, Kevin Brian Bannon was named head basketball coach at Rutgers, ending a search that included some reported rejections of the position by other candidates.  However, Bannon injected some new life into a program that had been struggling since entering the Big East Conference.  His first year, Rutgers was 11-16, but each of the next two years, the Scarlet Knights earned N.I.T. bids.  Bannon played at St. Peter’s in Jersey City, N.J., and began coaching there as an assistant (1979-81).  His first head coaching post was at Trenton State (1982-89, 145-48) and he then moved to Rider (1989-97, 131-103).  He was succeeded as coach by Gary Waters in 2001 after compiling a 59-60 record for four seasons.

Dick Barnett


Dick Barnett (Pro basketball.  Born, Gary, IN, Oct. 2, 1936.)  During a more than eight-year career with the Knickerbockers, Dick Barnett earned the nickname “Fall Back, Baby” for his fire-and-retreat style of shooting. He also earned the respect of N.B.A. opponents for his accuracy, as he piled up 9,442 points (a 15.6-points-per-game average) in 604 regular-season games over the period from 1965-73, when he was a major contributor to two world championship teams, and another that made the N.B.A. final.  Barnett has the distinction of being one of the few athletes ever to play for clubs run by George Steinbrenner and Ned Irish.  After he began his pro career with the Syracuse Nationals in the N.B.A., Barnett jumped to the new American Basketball League started by Abe Saperstein, famed founder of the Harlem Globetrotters.  The team he played for in the A.B.L. was the Cleveland Pipers, who happened to be owned by Steinbrenner.  Barnett returned to the N.B.A. in 1962 after one season in the A.B.L., joining the Los Angeles Lakers.  The Knicks acquired him from the Lakers on Oct. 15, 1965, in a trade for forward Bob Boozer.  Barnett exploded for 23.1 points per game in his first season with the Knicks as the club began the upward climb that was to lead to the N.B.A. championship in 1970.  During the 19-game playoff drive to the title that year, Barnett averaged 16.9 points per game as the Knicks won their first world championship. He also played a valuable role on the 1973 team that gave the Knicks their second N.B.A. crown before retiring.  Barnett subsequently began graduate studies and earned a doctorate in education from Fordham.

Pete Barry


Pete Barry (Pro basketball.  Born, New York, NY, Nov. 16, 1896; died, New York, NY, Aug. 29, 1968.)  Joining the Original Celtics when they were formed in 1914, John Barry played with some of the finest talent in the formative years of pro basketball.  Barry was the only member of the first Celtics to move to the reorganized team in 1918.  He helped form the strongest team of the era with Nat Holman, Dutch Dehnert, Johnny Beckman, and Joe Lapchick.  In 1928, the Celtics were 40-9 in the American League.  After the season, the Celtics were broken up and Barry (along with Lapchick and Dehnert) went to Cleveland, winning two more championships.  In the 1930s, the Celtics were recreated (under the sponsorship of radio singer Kate Smith) and toured until Nov. 1941.

Rick Barry


Rick Barry (Pro basketball.  Born, Elizabeth, NJ, Mar. 28, 1944.)  In Aug. 1970, the New York Nets acquired their first superstar from the Virginia Squires, Richard Francis Dennis Barry.  Barry lived up to his advance billing, finishing second in the league in scoring both of his seasons with the Nets and leading the team to the A.B.A. final in 1972.  He averaged 29.4 points per game in 59 games in 1970-71 and 31.5 in 80 games in 1971-72.  In the championship series against Indiana, Barry scored 189 points in six games (31.5), including 44 in Game 3 (May 12, 1972), a loss at Nassau Coliseum.  Though he scored “only” 26 in the fourth game, 10 came in the fourth quarter, helping the Nets to a 110-105 victory that tied the series at two games each, but the Pacers won the next two games and the title.  After the season, Barry returned to the N.B.A., ending his four-year A.B.A. sojourn.

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The Bill Shannon Biographical Dictionary of New York Sports is an open database of sports biographies maintained by Jordan Sprechman and Marty Appel. We welcome public and scholarly contributions and suggestions.

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