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Basketball Heroes
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Gary Schmeek
Center/forward Basketball Player in the NY State League and the Eastern League 1912-1923, served in United States Military during World War I

One of the pioneer players in the early professional basketball, Gary Schmeek seized the chance to play and get paid at the same time. He had the size and the talent as a young player in the mid 1910s to play in one of the leading pro leagues in this era. 

Gary Schmeek served 3 years in the military during World War I, then returned and played until the end of 1923. Gary Schmeek stats include 121 field goals, 120 free throws, in 46 games, averaging a very solid 7.9 points per game average. Played mostly with Eastern League teams located in Philadelphia, including Jaspers, Reading, Coatesville and Germantown. Gary Schmeek also played for awhile during the early 1920s in the New York State League, NYSL with the Utica Utes, Patterson and Schenectady. 

 

Early Basketball History


Pro Basketball Leagues 1917-1918
Basketball History

World War I was raging in Europe and threatening to expand throughout the world. Hundreds of thousands of men were entering military service, including most professional athletes. Pro basketball players were not exempted.

 

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The United States entered World War I and a shortage of athletes quickly brought an end to two basketball leagues – the Interstate Basketball League and the New York State Basketball League. The Eastern Basketball League (EBL) suspended play at the onset of the War, but then, started playing games in mid November 1917. After three weeks however, the EBL disbanded when two of its team folded due to lack of attendance caused by the War – the Greystock Greys and the Jasper Jewels, both of Philadelphia.

 

The New York State League suspended it games on February 17 1917 because all of its basketball teams played in armories which now would be used for military purposes. Its league president, Edward K Miller declared Schenectady the leagues champion.

 

1916-1917 NYSL Final Standings:

 

Schenectady 15-7… Mohawk Indians 15-8… Hudson 13-9…

Utica Utes 12-12… Lens Falls 3-6… Cohoes 5-13…

Saratoga 0-8… Note: Saratoga moved to Glens Falls during

the season. 

 

Some old scoring records we were very fortunate to locate

 

For the 1916 to 1917 season New York State League, NYSL

 

  •  Al Schuler, Utica Utes 169 points in 23 games
  • Jack Nolls, Mohawk Indians 154 points in 23 games
  • Herman Butch, Schenectady of NY 121 points in 22 games
  • Ernie Houghton, Hudson of NY 100 points in 23 games
  • John Callahan, Hudson 97 points in 23 games
  • Tim McKinstry, Hudson 83 points in 22 games
  • Pat Doyle, Mohawk 80 points in 21 games
  • Allie Brown, Utica 78 points in 23 games
  • Bill Dowd, Mohawk 67 points in 22 games
  • Charles Biggane, Cohoes of NY 62 points in16 games

 

After the end of World War I the professional basketball Leagues started up again in 1919-1920

 

Pro Basketball History by basketballhistorian.com

 

 


Chris Leonard
Pro Basketball Player of the Eastern Basketball League 1916-1923, U.S. Military during World War I

One of professional basketball pioneer players, Chris Leonard played six seasons in the Eastern League, broken up by 2 years of military service during World War I.

 

According to old manuscripts and newspapers, anyone who seen Chris Leonard play was impressed by his speed and passing. In this era of low scoring basketball games prior to the shot clock, when players mostly tried to play defense and quite often stall ball, Chris Leonard scored 310 points in 71 games, averaging 4.4 points per game.

 

Chris Leonard played for various pro teams of the Eastern Basketball League, including the Philadelphia Jaspers, Bridgeport Blue Ribbons of CT, Coatesville Coats of PA.


Open Net Play 1919
Professional Basketball History

The New York State League returned to action after a two and half year shutdown due to many players serving in the military and fans pre-occupied with the War. When play was resumed the pro league came back with more teams (10)  and a new name – the New York State Basket Ball League, NYSBBL. 

 

Note: This is about 35 years before the NBA was formed.

 

The pressing issue of the day in 1919 for management was nets or no nets.

 

Here’s the Rub

 

Five of the teams played with nets on the rims and four others planned to install them later in the season. The Schenectady fans wanted no part of watching a game with nets on the rims.

 

Here’s why!

 

In games with nets, after a score the opposing teams takes the ball from out-of-bounds. In games with no nets, after a score

it’s a live ball – meaning players from either side could rush and push to grab the loose, falling ball. A much more aggressive

style of play.


Walter Hammond
Basketball Star New York State League 1914-1923

A leading player in Pioneer Era of American Basketball played in the New York State League 1914-1923, and proudly served during World War I in the US Military.

 

A highly rated star in this time frame Wabby Hammond had a solid rookie season with Gloversville (NY) of the NY State League during 1914. He also played with Amsterdam, another New York team, before serving in the US Military, 1917-1919. After duty Walter Hammond played with Albany of NY upon returning to the NYSL. Record books note that he was one of the top returning pros from previous years. Walter Hammond averaged 5.3 points per game in 89 games, 474 points scored.

 


College Basketball History 1934
Not Much Money Here! 1934 National Coaches Games

Not Much Money Here! 1934 National Coaches Games

 

Four Colleges in Postseason prior to NCAA Tournaments

 

How Times Change!

 

Four men’s college basketball teams went to Atlanta in 1934 to play in a series of exhibition games sponsored by the National Association of Basketball Coaches. Often referred to as ‘the forerunner to the NCAA Tournament’ the money after all expenses were taken out, amounted to just $11.55 per team.


George Levis
Forward Wisconsin Basketball 1912-1916, Member Wisconsin Athletic Hall of Fame, Head Coach at Indiana University 1921, 1922.

George Levis, an early pioneer, gave a boost to the American game of basketball. In the days prior to NCAA postseason tourneys, he coached the Wisconsin Badgers to the Big Ten Crown in 1915-16 with an 11-1 record and a splendid overall record of 20-1. 

 

In 1916 George Levis led the Big Ten in scoring with 109 points In 12 games and was selected All Big Ten forward in 1915 and 1916.

 

George Levis worked in his family-owned Illinois Glass Co,where George helped design the glass backboards



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