The Lockhart Loo (proposed)

Seale Park playground, Palo Alto

Not sure how concert promoter and City Council candidate overlap but all of a sudden I have a bug in my bonnet (or a wire in my amp, a ballot in my box) about wanting to have Seale Park in Palo Alto renamed in whole or in part for my former Gunn teammate Kent Lockhart. (Maybe it was because I compared watching last Monday’s City Council meeting to being a Butler Bulldogs fan, they of the 12 for 64 shooting mess).

So here is a photo of the basketball court at Henry W. Seale Park (formerly known as Stockton Park) in Palo Alto. The PAHA calls it a “multipurpose bowl with basketball hoop.” It is quite near to 3134 Greer, where Kent lived from 7th grade on, and where he and Jerry Chang, and Mark House, famously (at least, according to Kristin Huckshorn of the San Jose Mercury News) would in the driveway bounce the basketball for hours on end, and where, not entirely incidentally, Lockhart helped his mother Marlinda Fitzgerald design and install a very unique surviving garden, itself fit for either PAPAC attention or Steve Staiger’s files as an arts landmark.  Kent later said that carrying and placing the 50-pound boulders, which supposedly came from San Simeon with the direct permission of William Randolph Hearst, was equivalent to putting in that many hours in the weight room. When they weren’t in the drive way, they were often around the corner at the single hoop at Seale Park; Kent and I re-lived those days in a shootaround in 1988, the year he was MVP of the SF Pro Am league that also featured NBA’s Scooter Barry and Lester Conner.

Seale Park, formerly Stockton Park until 1982 and named currently for a large land-holder who was part of the founding of Palo Alto and died in 1888, is getting some sprucing up; a sign says that the new restrooms were to be finished in March, 2011. I left a voice mail last week with Holly Boyd of the City hoping to find out, at the very least, whether there would be a re-dedication ceremony (apparently there was one in 2000). Although these matters are better first vetted via Roger Smith, Greg Betts or Annette Glanckoph, I did mention in my voice mail for the City engineer something about wanting to dedicate the new bathrooms “for a famous Palo Altan.”

Lockhart (who I reference below in “Koons and Lockhart” led Gunn to two SCVAL basketball titles in 1980 and 1981 and was also the Central Coast Section player of the year (and an honorable mention Street and Smith’s All-America).

At University of Texas El Paso (UTEP) he set a school record for most wins and most games in a four year career, for a team that was ranked as high as national top ten and was featured in Sports Illustrated (he played with Dave Feitl, Luster Goodwin and Jeep Jackson, and against John Stockton and Karl Malone). In the 1985 NBA draft he was selected by the New York Knicks, as the 119th player chosen overall, but broke his arm and missed the cut. After time in the CBA (playing for Cazzie Russell and Phil Jackson), he signed to play pro ball in Australia, where he was first team All Australia (a continent of 3 million square miles and at the time about 15 million people, as in he was among the top five players among that many people), and continued coaching and playing for about 20 more seasons at various levels. (He coached Andrew Bogut, for instance). He teaches art at a secondary school near Melbourne and makes sculpture. His mother sold 3134 Greer in 2007 and now lives Down Under with Kent.

If not merely for his acumen, Kent was reknowned for his citizenship, and could be honored for such. When Cubberley and Gunn merged, somewhat contentiously, he led a basketball program whose success and fortune was an amazing balm.  A very atypical sports star in demeaner, he befriended everyone from janitors to other playground legends (moving past Seale Park court, he also frequented Burgess Park in Menlo Park, and Gunn Gym — now named for Bob Bow — was the sight for pickup games and workouts featuring area players like Mike Norman of St. Francis and Santa Clara U fame; there was no Paye’s Place, but ask John Paye or Jim Harbaugh for that matter where Kent Lockhart would rank among competitors and sportsman they have encountered on any court or pitch).

Kent Lockhart would have peed here?

I can imagine, beyond a park ceremony, a coaching clinic — Lockhart stresses defense that started with the Hans Delannoy-Bud Presley line and included the Don Haskins-Bobby Knight-Tim Floyd lines — I would also love to see a pow wow among the top three Palo Alto prep players of all time: Lockhart, Jeremy Lin (of Paly, Harvard and NBA Golden State Warriors fame) and “Jungle Jim” Loscutoff, who played for several Boston Celtics championship teams, a Paly grad. Maybe Ron Wyden could join them in a game of “hunch”. Kent was also teammate in Australia one season with future Obama cabinet member Secretary of Education Arnie Duncan, the former Harvard star. (Kent recalls him for being a heady player, left-handed and slightly pigeon-toed).

Or maybe the court could be known as “Three L” for Lockhart, Lin and Loscutoff (referencing Alfred Hitchcock’s now ubiquitous joke about the Christmas alphabet and the Scott Turow novel about Harvard Law — it all fits together, in “Plastic Alto” logic at least).

I think we could pledge some money to defray ex post facto the $100,000 from public coffers already spent on the new “room 100”, my generation of athletes, I mean. We could be enhancing the ceremony already in planning (and I am also drawing on having had a great time rubbing elbows with City movers and shakers at the Scott Meadow Greer Park ceremony earlier this spring).

Edit to add, May 2: I am polling some of my former teammates to see if there is a consensus over whether this is worth pursuing, or have we basked in a nostalgic (and in my case mostly reflected) light long enough. I did find this short (5 minute) clip from one of Kent’s UTEP games, in 1984. (There is another video that, uncharacteristically, has him in the center of a brawl). For me, having missed all his college games, the touches at 3:20, 3:25, 4:20, a deflection at 4:34, a steal at 4;59 and even a missed 16-footer at 5:10 are all somewhat satisfying. I wonder if there is a way to access the Gunn-St. Ignatious CCS game at Maples, in 1981, from Gill Cable San Jose.

edit to add, September 3, 2011: I spoke to Hans Delannoy yesterday and mentioned this idea to him. What spurred the call was that a local paper mentioned the passing of a Menlo Park and former Sequioia High athlete named Bob “Big Pete” Peterson who played in the NBA, for the New York Knicks and was said to be one of only five San Mateo County athletes who made that show. The others being: Nick Vanos, of Hillsdale, Santa Clara Univerersity and The Suns, Charles Johnson, Charles Loughry and Rich Kelley. I recalled that Vanos would wear a t-shirt that said “6′ 10″ ” as in he was tired of people asking him how tall he was. Hans was not familiar with “Big Pete” but had anecdotes and observations about the other four, or played with or against (Rich Kelley), or coached with or against.  We considered whether Loscutoff could be included in this list on the strength of the fact that Paly was in SPAL at the time, ie he played in San Mateo County.

This link shows the Cubberley High School Catamount newspaper coverage of the SPAL playoffs from 1970 and confirms that Hans Delannoy played against Rich Kelley. It said that Hans was held to only 2 points in that tilt, missed a desperation shot at the buzzer, but had 375 points and a 15.7 ppg average during the season.

edit to add, November 1, 2012: I feel a connection to the NBA and the Warriors in that my teammate Kent Lockhart coached new Warriors center Andrew Bogut, in Australia. Monty Poole reports today for the Merc on the big man’s impact.


About markweiss86

Mark Weiss, founder of Plastic Alto blog, is a concert promoter and artist manager in Palo Alto, as Earthwise Productions, with background as journalist, advertising copywriter, book store returns desk, college radio producer, city council and commissions candidate, high school basketball player, and blogger; he also sang in local choir, fronts an Allen Ginsberg tribute Beat Hotel Rm 32 Reads 'Howl' and owns a couple musical instruments he cannot play
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18 Responses to The Lockhart Loo (proposed)

  1. giordun says:

    Great, insightful read. I’m a Gunn student and I unofficially covered Gunn basketball this season and my friend was able to dig up something on Kent Lockhart. I was actually called in to an assistant principal’s office in the middle of my calculus class and he just talked to me about Kent Lockhart for ten minutes. I never found anything else on Kent Lockhart until you commented on my blog and I am glad I found my way into reading this post. Who would have thought Gunn was this close to producing an NBA player?

    • markweiss86 says:

      Actually, I think Palo Alto library, especially if Steve Staiger is there, would have a file from the old Palo Alto Times/Peninsula Times Tribune that would have dozens of articles and photos of Kent Lockhart. I have my clippings somewhere, plus a recent letter from Kent and a resume of his career. The fact that he holds the UTEP record for most games played says something: if you make it into the NCAA tournament (he did, twice, I think), you end up playing more games than if you are not a winner. What is also remarkable about his UTEP career is that he was drafted by the NBA even though he averaged less than 10 points per game: he was a defensive standout. He is probably the shortest player (6′ 5″) to be drafted with such a low ppg; compared to a 7 foot shot blocking machine. Although he didn’t play in the NBA, he continued to elevate his game for five or six more years, as evidenced by being first team All Australia. Also, keep in mind the NBA had fewer franchises then. It might be slightly easier to make the NBA as Jeremy Lin did today. (although definitely they are comparable players; I wouldn’t argue that Lock is better than Lin, just equivalent. Peter Jordan, the Gunn scoring leader, is not far behind. It would be fun to make three all-time Gunn teams, or three all time Palo Alto Citywide teams: Hans Delannoy would have to be consulted).

      • markweiss86 says:

        Who was the knicks first rounder that year? Number one overall and Knick great Patrick Ewing. Who was Jeremy Lin drafted with? Oh yeah, no one. JK still love you Jeremy although looks like Gunn beats Paly for once?
        well put, young man!!!

  2. Mark Weiss says:
    In 2006, ten former Gunn basketball players from the 1980 and 1981 had a reunion of “that championship season(s)”. Gunn’s Tom Jacoubowsky thought the event would show current players that there was no glass ceiling preventing the Titans from beating Paly or winning league. Sure enough, two seasons later Gunn did win league again, finally, and Tom emailed all of us thanking us for our minor (hermetic) role.
    I watched about 10 games during that period and enjoyed meetings some of the families like the Brennans, the Jordans, the Perricones and Kevin Johnson, who also hosted a group of us alumni at Pizza Chicago.

  3. Mark Weiss says:

    Doesn’t mention Lockhart, but here is a story about Arne Duncan in Australia, where he met his wife, it says:

  4. Pingback: PA(tch): or, PA!!! | Plastic Alto with Mark Weiss

  5. Mo'moshe Weiss says:

    i made a little chap book with this info, for eric, and then bored Reeves with the story so here goes:

    She comes in colors. She’s like a rainbow. This Stones lyric I truly believe is about the mother of my high school basketball teammate Kent Lockhart, Marlinda Fitzgerald. Marlinda was a go-go dancer in LA in the days of the Stones pre-Altamont. They moved to NorCal — marlinda and Kent — in about 1974; he went on to become a high school All America, first team All-WAC for UTEP, drafted by the Knicks in the NBA draft, then went to Australia and was first team all Australia ( and a teammate of future U.S Secretary of Education Arnie Duncan who Kent described recently as “heady” — natch, dude went to Harvard — “left-handed” and “slightly pigeon-toed”) and then became a high school art teacher (as well as a coach, for example for Andrew Bogut of the Milwaukee Bucks). Not that his hoops credentials add any particular credibility to his story, but why would they lie?

    The story is that Marlinda was invited to a fancy party but she had to wear this outfit made of little tiny mirrors — maybe they were glued to her skin or just a body suit. And people were I guess tripping on something. So when she made her entrance they shined a spot on her and the little mirrors all refracted — that’s why she was like a rainbow — the writer – keith mick whoever, not muddy waters we presume — was describing the chick with the mirrors outfit or his drug experience.

    She also has a story about borrowing tons and tons of boulders from William Randolph Hearst from San Simeon – and he was on horseback — and she ended up using these on her garden at 3134 Greer Road in Palo Alto – Lockhart claims that he, as a teenager had to move and place all these boulders, bigger than basketball, weighing up to 100 pounds each, and that was equivalent to so many hours in the gym weight room. He was a fiercesome specimen – this was way before the era of doping I mean steroids. He probably benched about 350 and he was about 180 to 200 pounds himself, about 6 foot 4. I recall he showed me the spot on is arm where the rim would him him — he could jump six or seven inches above the rim, so that the rim would come to about halfway between palm and elbow and he had just been named MVP of the SF Pro Am league – this was 1988 or so — at Kezar near what is now Amoeba Records — and he said “when I get my leap to HERE” (pointing about halfway between that spot and the elbow — like if he added another inch or two of vertical leap – he was probably around 25 to 30 inches already I would guesss — “they will HAVE TO take me” meaning let him sign a free agent contract. Although he played for Phil Jackson and Cazzie Russell in the US minor leagues and legendary coach Don Harris I mean Don Haskins at UTEP — in his book on “Glory Days” and the first all black national champions Haskins lists Lockhart among his greats all time — and Lock is among the three top players in Palo Alto history, with Jeremy Lin of Palo Alto High who had a cup of green tea with the Warriors recently – the NBA has more teams now than in 1985 — and “Jungle Jim” Luscutoff, another Paly High guy – we, Kent and I, he of the 1700 plus career points and me of a grand total of 4 varsity points – went to Gunn High, the “red and black” — Paly wore or wears green — he never got another look from the NBA and loves it in Australia. He makes folk sculpture reptiles that i am dying to get my hands on one. When Sports Illustrated wrote about the 1984-1985 UTEP team — they were four or top five in the country – they never actually mentioned Kent Lockhart’s position (small forward, shooting guard, 3 or 2 if you follow hoops parlance) but they mentioned Marlinda’s go-go dancing (but not the song) and show one of Kent’s canvasses, rather Klee-esque. After being Pro Am MVP but before opting for Down Under I, being an advertising copywriter haunting North Beach shops, suggested to Kent that he sent little promotional posters of himself — not unlike Eric’s little doodle of the footballer – they call it “gridiron” in Melbourne – Dandenong actually, he works for the Murdoch School named for the mother of the media baron–speaking of Mothers (or in this case “Mother——–s”– I suggested he draw some chickens and say “YOU NEED A 2-GUARD WHO CAN REALLY DRAW FOWLS”. Marlinda said “Listen to him” (meaning me) and “They are not like us” meaning, in this case, if I understand or understood, although it sounded bonkers to Kent maybe I — the Ivy Grad — was right, and it would work.

    That’s my story.

    Mark Weiss

    how much for your “She’s Like a Rainbow” drawing. I mean special price for me?

  6. Justine Heavilon says:

    Dear Mark,
    Careful how you talk about Marlinda Fitzgerald! I first met her when she was 14. We shared a lover. We rode bareback horses through the orange groves of Simi Valley. Later, I visited her in her Mt. Tem home, where she lived with her husband Keith–Kent’s dad. She has always identified herself as an artist, as was her mother, and son Kent. Art has been her theme throughout her life, including gardens and all things outdoors. She was tall, and breathtaking beautiful, with long blond wavy hair. Men were drawn through a crowd to her beauty and electric energy.
    On another note, I have a friend who lives in Palo Alto. Her son recently graduated from Gunn, and is now at the U. of Oregon (where I live).
    I’d love any news on Marlinda. Thanks, Justine

    • markweiss86 says:

      Duly noted. This post is supposed to be about basketball. I do believe the Rolling Stones wrote about Marlinda, but realize the story is hard to verify. I still wonder if Lockhart would have made it in the NBA if he took my advice to send a promotional package to all the teams — the agents were not as prevalent in those days. And there were fewer teams. Kent was too modest to talk himself up.

      But given the fact that Kent has done so well in Australia, I don’t think he is bitter about not playing in the NBA. Since I wrote this post, Jeremy Lin has moved up in the world, into the upper stratosphere of basketball gods — anybody who has his night on a Friday Night at Madison Square Garden is on a whole ‘nuther level — so the concept of the “Three L’s” of Palo Alto is a little lopsided now. I noticed that the man who drafted Kent for the Knicks, Hubie Green, was a color commentator for some of Jeremy’s breakout games.

      I doubt that Kent including some of his art work would have made him any more attractive to the NBA. I suggested he send a picture of a chicken and the horrible pun “You need a 2-guard who can really draw fowls”. The scene I am recalling Marlinda was suggesting to Kent that he might promote himself the way I am suggesting generally but there was no consensus that the art would help.

      My understanding is that Marlinda eventually joined Kent down in Melbourne area. The house on Greer she was renting out eventually sold in 2004 or 2005.

  7. Jerry Chang says:

    Here is a link to youtube video of Kent Lockhart last High School Game: (CCS Title game 1981)

    Originally recorded on Betamax 30 years ago, I finally converted this to DVD just recently.

    • markweiss86 says:

      thanks, jerry. maybe they should name the park Lockhart Chang for your role in making history here…

      • Jerry Chang says:

        Thanks Mark. I am so glad to be part of that awesome team at Gunn. Kent and I made each other better by practicing long hours in front of his house and the local gyms like Burgess and Roble gym (Stanford). It was hard to get a shot off when we played one on one but helped with develop my quick release. I had to guard him with a Tennis Racquet to have any chance to block his shot.

        Great Memories ….

  8. I knew Kent in the UTEP art department. He was a very cool guy. He was integral to the Miner teams of the era! Very creative guy!

    • markweiss86 says:

      Arguably Kent Lockhart is an artist who plays or played basketball as much as an athlete who was creative, and makes and teaches art.

      In my early thirties I started to change such that today I am much more interested in the arts than sports — notwithstanding the fact that today I am writing a nostalgic post about my baseball card collection AND organizing my day around catching Stanford-Dayton in the NCAA March Madness Sweet Sixteen.

      What kind of art do you do, Mr. Austexcal? (and it would be cool if you could break down what that handle means — for a second there I thought Kent himself had finally come out of the cold to join us in cyberspace and Austexcal is a code for “australia” “texas” and “california”.

      • Nah. nothing that cool. Didn’t mean to mislead you and I defintely don’t have the colorful language abilities of Kent. I work as a graphic artist. I live in Austin and my last name begins with C… Last time I ran into Kent was at UTEP a couple of years after his college playing career. We just chit chatted a bit. During our time at UTEP, they had a wonderful art department…so along with his family background, no doubt he is doing some interesting stuff.. He should have been on the Knick roster ahead of a handful of players they had back then. I’m sure he felt the same way.

      • Justine Heavilon says:

        Well I’m not part of the old gang…but, I knew Kent as a toddler. I was friends with his mother Marlinda. As far as I know they both live in New Zealand. Marlinda is still an artist/sculptor. I’m not sure what Kent is doing. Justine Heavilon

        On Thu, Mar 27, 2014 at 11:47 PM, Plastic Alto with Mark Weiss wrote:

        > austexcal (@austexcal) commented: “Nah. nothing that cool. Didn’t mean > to mislead you and I defintely don’t have the colorful language abilities > of Kent. I work as a graphic artist. I live in Austin and my last name > begins with C… Last time I ran into Kent was at UTEP a couple of years ” >

    • Steven Yellen says:

      Hi Austexcal
      Steve Yellen ( 915-300-5970) here in El Paso. I loved the great Kent Lockhart but wanted to ask you if know any contact information for another UTEP art student Marcello Carbonell. He was from Buenos Aries originally and did all my family portraits and need to hire him again! Thx!!

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