CJ, Coach, Rambis and me, no kidding: honorable mentions of all time Bay Area and Palo Alto prep hoops legends

Gunn coach, Cubberley player and 2006 California coach of the year, Hans Delannoy, posing in front of Charles Johnson monument, Redwood City, California, February, 2015

Gunn coach, Cubberley player and 2006 California coach of the year, Hans Delannoy, posing in front of Charles Johnson monument, Redwood City, California, February, 2015

Hans Delannoy and I it seems like just yesterday — March 25, 2015 — were discussing an all time Palo Alto All City team, maybe five groups of five or 25 deep, and maybe a top 20 all Gunn team — which I thought would generate up to 100 names of honorable mention or nominees, and thinking back to a visit to the San Mateo County slash Peninsula Sports Hall of Fame recently (in Redwood City, the old court hours). Yeah it was yesterday.

So today I was psyched, if a bit provoked, that the Chronicle had an all time Bay Area hoops team, by Vic Tafur and a so-called panel of experts.

The Chron listed 10 players and an honorable mention of another 19 names, or 29 total. For example, they have Kurt Rambis as a two-time CCS champ for Cupertino High in 1975 and 1976 and second team, or top 10, all time, among 3 of the 10 from South Bay or Peninsula, and seven of the 29 from this region.

Kurt Rambis

Kurt Rambis

Hans texted me some names he hoped were included.

I posted to the Chron 11 more names, including my teammate Kent Lockhart (obviously I have a bias). I would say it’s hard to list 13 all time in Bay Area without generating 100 candidates.

I would think in all time Palo Alto, 25 names, there would be about 16 from Paly, five from Gunn and four from Cub.

I happened to run into Peter Diepenbrock — who I recall from Dick Dibiaso’s Stanford camp back in 1978 or so — also just yesterday and maybe could follow up with him to see if he could offer, for Plastic Alto, a quick and non-definitive top 10 Diepenbrock players — the All-Diep Team. He’d certainly be represented on all Palo Alto team beyond Jeremy Lin. Or we’ll see. (He’s also by the way in the All San Mateo County slash All Peninsula for playing days at Burlingame plus coaching not just Jeremy at Paly. It’s interesting that the year we 1981 and 1980 Titans had a reunion 25 year, that Hans was California Coach of the Year for San Ramon Valley lady Wolves beating Berkeley in North Coast Final and Diepenbrock won state and Boys coach of the year statewide for Paly).

Off the top of my head a list of top Gunn players all time would include, as nominees: Lockhart, Vaughn Manns, Danny Brown, Mike Gulevitch, Peter Jordan, Kyle Perricone, Niel Brennan, Gus Brennan, Alex Fernandez Gil, David Riley, Carl Gooch, Akira Tana, Keith Peters, Bob Pritchett, Griffin Bonini, Colin Bonini, Brian Dibiaso, Derek Leith, Jason Olaine (more for his prowess in jazz I admit, but he said he played and I believe him), Keith Mackey (as league MVP frosh-soph), Tony Bower, Andy Hargadon, Jerry Chang, Omar something from the team that won the junior league title circa 2000, Chris Russell. That’s 25, to start. Maybe people would come up with equal number from eras I missed seeing. Danny McCallister. Lamont McCallister, whose brothers think was removed from a game when he got to 39 points, to protect Lockhart’s 42 ten years earlier. Dick Supan.

(And for myself I alternate between admitting I am probably the worst varsity player in Gunn history, or claiming that I know I am no worse than 2nd worst because I claim to be better than a certain 1980 champ reserve. Put it this way: I am barely in the top 100 teams which is funny because Gunn is celebrating 50 classes and years. There are probably not 500 players all time. I was barely second team all Gunn in 1980-1981; I could rank all time as a sportswriter, perhaps).

People like Hans, John Reid, Keith Peters would have a better view on this. Tom Jacoubowsky the recent era. John Spalding also has a book on 100 Years of Sport in Santa Clara County and is considered the CCS historian.

My neighbor Nick Peterson who played with Rich Kelley at Woodside but Little League here suggested going thru the lists of all league players (SCVAL, SCVAL De Anza and SPAL) to get lists of candidates.

Here is my post to the Chron site, on All Bay area, or I was arguing for inclusion honorable mention for more Peninsula guys:

Mike Norman of Saint Francis.
It’s sort of an inconsistency that you mention Bill Russell but also claim that he does not make “honorable mention”. Of course he does.

It’s hard to limit this to 29 and not 99, so how about two-time all NorCal and current Raiders football coach Jack DelRio?

Palo Alto has “the three L’s”, Lin, Kent Lockhart and Jungle Jim Loscutoff. Senator Ron Wyden.

There’s sort of an undercount of Peninsula players.
Troy Tulowitzki of Fremont of Sunnyvale, more of a diamond great, but people do talk about his buzzer-beater. (Less so, Barry Bonds of Serra). Lockhart was two-time CCS player of the Year for Gunn of Palo Alto, later on coach Don Haskins list of all time great UTEP Miners, drafted by NBA Knicks, played for Cazzie Russell and Phil Jackson in CBA, first team All -Australia and actually coached Andrew Bogut down under.

John Paye, state champion and two-sport Stanford star, for Menlo.

The Ogdens. Jim Harbaugh.

Again, if you mention Frank Robinson in the article, that’s an honorable mention for hoops as well.

Rich Kelley of Woodside High (Stanford, NBA Jazz).

jump ball Rich Kelley and Mark Weiss, fall, 2014

jump ball Rich Kelley and Mark Weiss, fall, 2014

Or, how about Jacque Robinson of San Jose High, played football for Washington Huskies but fathered Nate the Great Robinson of the Knicks.

I’d love to harvest some names from the 1940s and 1950s which means Paly. The old gym, the Pit, has information for champions teams in those eras. But I’d like to delegate wholesale the task of finding the top 50 or so Paly players. Maybe David Feldman would be good at this. (And he’d be nominated certainly, played for Tufts. So indirectly I am nominating David Feldman for the larger all time Bay Area prep hoops greats! If only to explain why I failed to stop him on three consecutive possessions frosh-soph-jayvee summer league me a rising junior, 1980).

I told Hans yesterday that I’ve scored more than 10,000 buckets in people’s driveways but that lone field goal versus Buchser of Santa Clara in 1981.

edit to add: not sure where I get this, but Bob Portman of SI:
A 6’5″ shooter from San Francisco, Portman’s offensive skills at St. Ignatius in northern California were legendary.
-Tom Gibbs, Awalt ’64 I met briefly at Gunn-Bellarmine game and Don Yarkin says he is an all time great, would probably want to confirm that with the Spalding book or other sources. Sussing that got me to this 1976 footage of Rambis:

On following Monday: The Chron ran a part of my post, which I had forwarded to the writer plus this bit:
My two cents. I think my brother, Nick Vanos, warranted an honorable mention. But then again, if Bill Russell didn’t make the cut, I guess I shouldn’t complain.
Annette Vanos,
San Mateo
I never played against Vanos but I recall his teammate the guard Jerry Glessing at Stanford camp; I remember seeing Vanos in high school more than once at the 49ers games, him wearing a t-shirt that said “6′ 10″ ” or ” 7′ “

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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1 Response to CJ, Coach, Rambis and me, no kidding: honorable mentions of all time Bay Area and Palo Alto prep hoops legends

  1. Chris Rogers says:


    Good morning! My name is Chris Rogers and I am the editor for bayareasportsstars.com. This site founded by myself and John Spalding that chronicles the history of Bay Area high schools making up the Bay Area from 1891 until now. I was one of the panel of “so called experts” selecting the top all-time basketball players from the Bay Area for the Chron. I came across your blog and also saw the email you sent to Vic Tafur. I also want to mention that sadly John Spaulding passed away about three years ago now. He would have been a natural for the panel. I have been watching prep hoops since 1970 when I attended Amador Valley High. I knew that whomever was nominated that several (or many) great prep players would be left off. After all we are talking about hundreds, if not thousands of great hoop stars over the years. John kept incredible records of games/players he saw over the years, dating back into the 30’s which I inherited. When I did my selections I looked at the players from a historians point of view, not as a basketball expert. Needless to say there was some disagreements among the panelists! While I respect Jason Kidd and Gary Payton, their knowledge only goes back to the 80’s when they played. They probably never heard of Paly star Jungle Jim Loscutoff. There really is no definitive team in my opinion. The eras were too different and the changes too many. That with the fact that those who played in the 30-40’s may not have any living witnesses to their play. So I tried real hard to include those early stars (Hank Luisetti/Jim Pollard) but to many they can only think back a few seasons. I’d like to encourage you to check out bayareasportsstars.com and let me know what you think as it includes all sports. I try and be as accurate and inclusive as possible, but there are ground rules for inclusion, still it lists over 45,000 names. We know we have missed many and the site is always changing for the better! Also, if you send me your e-mail I will send you my All-Time list with a much longer honorable mention list.

    Take Care,

    Chris Rogers

    Thanks, for the comment, Chris. I met John in 2006 when in honor of the 25th anniversary of the Gunn championship years (1980 and 1981 seasons), I bought two copies of his 100 years book and several teammates signed them and sent messages to Kent Lockhart (who none of us have seen in about 20 years) and also for Hans, our coach. I may have also met him circa 1975 at the baseball card swaps that I attended and he was, I believe, a mainstay. I did not know until just now, reading his obituary, that he was also the assistant to three San Jose mayors.

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