Legendary high school scout Tom Konchalski dies at 74
Tom Konchalski spent 43 years evaluating and scouting hundreds of high school prospects.
From NBA.com News Services
Tom Konchalski, a well-respected and popular high school basketball scout, died Monday at age 74. He had battled metastatic cancer for the past two years, per the New York Post, and was moved into hospice care last week.
Konchalski had spent 43 years evaluating college basketball prospects and wrote and ran the High School Basketball Insider Report since 1979. He also took over ownership of the Five-Star Basketball Camp, which has seen NBA legends including Michael Jordan, Patrick Ewing, Dominique Wilkins, LeBron James, Chris Paul, Kevin Durant, Stephen Curry, Kyrie Irving and more participate in the camp in their high school days.
The HSBI Report was written on Konchalski’s typewriter and was mailed out 16 times a year the more than 200 college coaches who subscribed to it. It served as a scouting report, evaluation and rankings list hundreds of prospects.
“Tom just tried to help everybody,” Iona College coach Rick Pitino told the New York Post. “He was just a very humble, kind, special man. … If you asked him about a player, he would give you the mother, father, nephew, nieces, he would know every single person in the family, and he would know the connections, what you would have to do to get the kid.”
He was known to many as “The Glider” because of his ability to slip into a gym unnoticed and assess players on his trademark yellow notepad. Konchalski was also known for his incredible memory and the fact he never had a cellphone, VCR or answering machine. His detail in describing players in his HSBI was the stuff of legend as well.
Of former NBA star Jamal Mashburn, Konchalski wrote in the HBCI that Mashburn had “the body of a blacksmith and the touch of a surgeon.” Future All-NBA guard Penny Hardaway, he said “deals like Trump, dishes like Julia Child and delivers like Domino’s.” He also once said of Kenny Anderson’s college prospects: “Only the Father, Son and Holy Ghost are ahead of him.”
NBA stars Donovan Mitchell and Tobias Harris — both of whom were born and raised in New York — took to Twitter on Monday to pay homage to Konchalski, as did several other players and others in the basketball world.
Man this is so tough! Rest In Peace to a basketball legend!! Did so much for the game! I remember playing AAU and anytime you saw Tom in the gym you knew you had to go out there and do something special!! RIP TOM!! 🙏🏾 https://t.co/UfMPo5UcXU
— Donovan Mitchell (@spidadmitchell) February 8, 2021
A sad day with the news about Tom Konchalski. I can still remember the first time I met Tom after an 11U All-Star game. As he crushed my hand, he told me that I could be a great player one day. Tom was a legend to all young kids, especially in the NYC area. I remember guys on….
— Tobias Harris (@tobias31) February 9, 2021
the team asking, “what he say to you?” He had that type of impact. Year's later, at 5 star hearing him talk in front of about 500 campers saying, “Maybe 1 or 2 at this camp will make the NBA”’ words that stuck with me. The game lost a great one. Rest in Peace Tom Konchalski 🙏🏽 pic.twitter.com/B6MtHMmInd
— Tobias Harris (@tobias31) February 9, 2021
RIP Tom Konchalski 🙏🏾 Glad I was able to meet you and gain some wisdom. #Legend
— Harry Giles III (@HGiiizzle) February 8, 2021
My guy ,I love you Tom #rip friend !
— Kenny Anderson (@chibbs_1) February 8, 2021
Sad news to hear of the passing of the legendary Tom Konchalski today. The Gentleman of High School basketball, who always looked you in the eyes and had firm handshake waiting.. Just a Hall Of Fame Person!! #TheGlider #RIP https://t.co/XSl6G9AhIc
— grant hill (@realgranthill33) February 8, 2021
The Last Handshake: Remembering Legendary New York Basketball Scout Tom Konchalski https://t.co/e8mzHSlaZA
— Stu Jackson (@StuJackson32) February 8, 2021
Deeply saddened to hear about the passing of Tom Konchalski. One of the nicest & most genuine people I’ve been fortunate enough to know. RIP 🙏
— Bobby Hurley (@BobbyHurley11) February 8, 2021
Rest in Paradise Tom Konchalski!! 🙏🏾🙏🏾 It was always a pleasure seeing you before and after AAU and High School games! You will be missed! 🖤
— Nolan Smith (@NdotSmitty) February 9, 2021
Just heard of the passing of TOM KONCHALSKI a big time contributor to the game of basketball . Tom was one of the nicest ppl you can ever ever meet . May Tom RIP!
— Dick Vitale (@DickieV) February 9, 2021
— Seth Davis (@SethDavisHoops) February 9, 2021