Celebrating basketball's past and futureReal old schoolCousy's style of play arguably led to a string of great players, including Julius Erving, Magic Johnson and Michael Jordan, as "new school values" flourished. But there are a few places where fundamentals, conditioning and above all else winning are still stressed. Such a place is St. Anthony's High School in Jersey City, New Jersey. There you'll find one of the legends of high school basketball, Bob Hurley, no doubt modestly sweeping the floor of the gym. New Jersey sports writer Adrian Wojnarowski spent the 2003-2004 season following the St. Anthony Friars; his resulting book is The Miracle of St. Anthony.
Hurley has won about 90 percent of his games and several championships over his years at St. Anthony's. Hurley (the father of '90s Duke guard Bobby Hurley) has always done it his way: yelling, screaming and pushing. His St. Anthony team is well prepared and always ready to accept a challenge in short, a reflection of the coach and it has worked. What makes the story a miracle is what Hurley has to work with. His players come with large quantities of inner-city baggage, such as broken homes, poverty and crime. Plus, the school itself is barely surviving from year to year. This really is an old school; at St. Anthony's, the science labs don't have much equipment and the furnace has seen better days. Hurley is one of the main reasons the school can even stay open. He is in demand at clinics and puts on an annual golf tournament, with the proceeds going to the school.
Wojnarowski obviously put in plenty of time around the program, and he gives thorough profiles of everyone involved. But Hurley is the person you'll remember, a Bobby Knight-like figure who is one of the greatest teachers of his time. The "miracle" of St. Anthony might help push Hurley into the Basketball Hall of Fame in the near future.