The long and rich 120-year history of New York City’s Public School Athletic League basketball has produced some of the game’s most illustrious and decorated players, including Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Famers John Isaacs (Textile High School), Bob Cousy (Andrew Jackson), Lenny Wilkens (Boys High), Connie Hawkins (Boys High), Nate “Tiny” Archibald (DeWitt Clinton) and Bernard King (Fort Hamilton); in addition to some of the NBA’s most talented players of their time period, such as Rod Strickland (Truman) and Stephon Marbury (Lincoln).
Ray Haskins is also from that lineage. The current PSAL commissioner was a standout at Boys High—now Boys & Girls High—before a stellar career at HBCU Shaw University. Haskins subsequently had successful head coaching stints at Alexander Hamilton, winning the 1981 city championship, and Long Island University in Brooklyn, leading the then-Blackbirds to an NCAA tournament berth in 1997.
Haskins will now closely watch the next generation of rising NYC public school players battle for the 2023 titles, highlighted by the Boys AA Division, which begin their playoffs next Monday. One championship was already decided on Valentine’s Day when Metro-Brooklyn Democracy Academy defeated Mott Haven Campus 66-56 at York College in the Multiple Pathways A Division final. Head coach Joe Zollo’s squad ended their league-schedule unblemished at 14-0.
The AA Division has the No. 1 overall seed Eagle Academy for Young Men in the Bronx trying to become the first team from the borough to win a city title since Wings Academy in 2015. Head coach Roosevelt Byers’ group earned their second straight Bronx Borough Championship on Saturday with a 74-57 victory over Wings. Yet, until proven otherwise, Brooklyn still reigns supreme.
A team from Brooklyn has seized 12 of the past 14 championships—five by Abraham Lincoln, three by South Shore, three by Boys & Girls, and one by Jefferson. South Shore has built a recent dynasty, taking the past three. They edged Jefferson 67-65 in the Brooklyn Borough Championship to garner the tournament’s No. 2 seed.
Despite the loss, No. 4 Jefferson, which reached the borough final by besting Eagle Academy Brooklyn 83-80 on a buzzer-beating 3-pointer in the semifinals, is arguably the best team in the PSAL and will have a chip on their shoulder entering the playoffs. That mindset could find them hoisting the championship trophy when all is said and done. No. 3 seed Eagle Brooklyn, which lost to South Shore 77-52 in the city championship game last March at the Barclays Center, is also formidable and built to win the title.
Benjamin Cardozo and Murry Bergtraum enter the playoffs as the Queens and Manhattan Borough champs respectivly.
I will never forgive the PSAL for cancelation of the 1966 tournament . A travesty , which developed when Layfayette HS refused to play against Boys High in Bed Stuyvesant . In honor of BLACK HISTORY month this story needs to be told .
GREAT JOB BY A HOMEGROWN LEGEND OF THE BLACKTOP , COACH RAY HASKINS !!!! I DONT BELIEVE COACH KNEW THAT HIS ROAD WOULD END UP IN SPRINGFIELD , MASS , BUT I DO KNOW HE HAS ENJOYED THE JOURNEY , CAUSE HE ACTED OUT OF THE LOVE FOR HIS COMMUNITY ! IN ESSENCE , HE WAS “A VILLAGE ELDER” RAISING BOYS N GIRLS TO BE PRODUCTIVE MEN AND WOMEN !! KUDOS TO COACH HASKINS !!!!!
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