Basketball fans come and go depending on why they developed an interest. Well today is a very sad day for many of us who have grown up and older watching HS and College basketball in the tri-state area. In fact it was a time that most of us were lean and trim as we watched games in the Wheel Chair Classic at Christ The King and the Montifiore Tournament in the Bronx. We also found time to go to NYC, Westchester, and even NJ to watch HS games but more importantly watch what College Coaches showed up. It was during these great times that I met John Salvo, one of the true colorful characters who loved watching and talking the game. Big John, as many called him, lived in Eastchester NY and was a fixture at Manhattan College, St. Johns, Iona, and even Notre Dame sporting events. He always spoke in the "we" way as if he was a graduate of the schools I mentioned. "We have to get stronger" or "We might sign John Doe" was the way he talked about all the local teams.
Well Big John passed away a few days ago and will be buried today in Westchester County. Boy will he be missed! I would bet the coaches will be out in force to pay respect to John. He would love to be there just talking to all in attendance. I can still hear him saying "give me 5 minutes" or "Who is That Guy" looking at a person entering a HS gym looking like a D1 coach from somewhere in America.
If you are wondering who John was allow me to explain. He was the guy sitting down at a HS game watching a kid no one has ever heard of and calling right than and there a few D1 college buddies he had on speed dial. He was the guy who stepped out of a stretch limo at the annual Kutchers All American HS Game with a huge cigar in his mouth when that was one of the big HS all star games. He was the guy who schmoozed with all the coaches and becomes almost a pain in the butt if not for the fact he was so well liked and loved. They all knew him! I remember sitting with Big John at Madison Square Garden watching the Super Six. Roy Williams arrived to watch Dexter Strickland when John yelled to him as if he knew him well "Hello Roy." Roy Williams looks over at John and says "Hi John." Yes everyone knew John Salvo. From the young kids hooping in Bed Stuy, to the kids in Edison NJ, John was well known. It was not uncommon to hear young basketball players look at Salvo as he walked into a gym waving at various folks and say "Whats Up Salvo." All he wanted to do was have a great meal, watch a great game, Know the major players, know the kids who were being recruited and by whom, and talk recruiting with College Coaches.
At his Funeral today I am sure folks will smile as they tell John Salvo stories. Like the time it was rumored he and some buddies grabbed a Cab on a Friday and went to Notre Dame for a Saturday football game. How about his great trips to his true football school, USC. I am sure John read all the boards locally and most likely will continue to do so from Heaven. The one thing we really know for sure is John will be at the Final 4 listening to what all the coaches have to say. Hopefully he will hear that they really miss him and appreciated his energy and love for the game. Rest in peace John and continue to enjoy the game we love from the great seats you must now have.
Curry To Transfer
Seth Curry is leaving Liberty to find a better and more competitive program. Do not be stunned if he ends up at Davidson to follow his Brother. This would be an ideal situation for this kid who many of my Charlotte friends say is as good if not better than his older brother.
Another school that could get him is The University of Virginia depending on the new Head Coach, and University of NC Charlotte. This kid will play it very safe when it comes to a new basketball home.
Folks are saying it will be Kansas. WHY? OK dumb question! But I still think St. Johns is the place for him to attend and star from day 1. Lance stay home and help SJU return to the glory years.
4 words. "Go To Seton Hall" Make a wise life decision! Remember there is life after basketball.