The way our current news cycle is constructed with social media driving competition to be first rather than thorough, not enough time was spent reflecting on the passing of legendary high school hoops scout Tom Konchalski.
He was basically the omnipotent eye in the sky, analyzing, surveying, and sizing up young players who would go on to become some of the most dynamic and culturally-influential ballers in history.
Konchalski was one of the country’s most respected high school scouts and a legendary figure in the Northeast.
He passed away on February 8th, 2021, at the age of 74. Konchalski was a resident of Forest Hills, Queens and attended the famed Archbishop Molloy High School in Queens, NY.
Tom Konchalski, the most important evaluator of HS basketball talent in America, should 100% be a Hall of Famer. He is also the last of his kind.#ESPNDaily (https://t.co/TVYn0wx8Va): pic.twitter.com/KHbTpm3K4J
— Pablo S. Torre (@PabloTorre) February 8, 2021
He graduated magna cum laude from Fordham University, and following graduation began his career as a social studies and math teacher before finding a job as a basketball scout.
He learned the game from Five-Star Camp founder Howard Garfinkel and legendary multi-sport Molloy coach Jack Curran. He did his job with grace, elegance and wielded a very strong work ethic.
Konchalski’s powerful pen and vivid mastery in describing players with descriptions so creative and precise that you could see them jump off the paper, separated him from other scouts. All of these attributes helped him become a very popular figure in the basketball community.
Always written on his typewriter, the HBSI Report was mailed 16 times a year to the over 200 subscribed college coaches.
The sacred report provided reviews and potential for 100’s of prospects. He did this without a vehicle, cell phone, computer, or answering machine, except for a six-month trial he did in 2003. Being a native New Yorker, Konchalski was always in favor of public transportation everywhere he went.
The genuineness of Konchalski oozed from him like ketchup from a bottle as soon as you met him. And yes I can say that because I experienced it first hand at the “DeMatha High School Christmas Invitational” some years ago.
He asked who I was there to see and that opened up a dialogue that I’ll never forget. He was always up high in the stands to give himself a clear view, which allowed him to really scout the talent, skillset and nuances of each and every player on his radar.
He was an encyclopedia of New York City basketball history, greeting everyone with a firm handshake, eye contact and even an inquiry, where he’d ask about the state of one’s family.
Konchalski spent 43 years evaluating basketball. Even as word got out that he was moved to hospice, the outpouring of extreme support from coaches, players, media members, scouts and reporters was and continues to be amazing.
Mike Breen gives an emotional tribute to the late Tom Konchalski pic.twitter.com/PaynswX7RL
— KNICKS ON MSG (@KnicksMSGN) February 10, 2021
Tom Konchalski was more than a local scout, he was a national treasure. He was as real a person as you’ll ever meet here in this thing called life and the game lost a “GIANT.”
We can’t so easily forget the men who helped build this billion-dollar industry. Everyone plays a part and for what he did, Konchalski is on the Mount Rushmore of hoop scouts.