Brooklyn was the best recruiter for Gerard Trapp
He lives in New Jersey now.
And that, in itself, just might be the biggest shocker.
Gerard Trapp is Brooklyn through and through.
Always has been.
His love for the borough etched his collegiate basketball career.
Make that, a Hall of Fame career.
“Basketball,” the 66-year-old Trapp told the Eagle the other day, “was always a big part of my life.”
So was the neighborhood.
“I started my basketball at Holy Name,” he said, “my coaches Mickey McNally and Gerard Conlon.”
That was Holy Name Church at 245 Prospect Park West – just a jump shot from Trapp’s home at 15 Howard Place.
The trek from Park Slope got a little longer when Trapp took his basketball skills to All Hallows High in the Bronx.
“I got really lucky,” he said, “Jimmy Casey, a history teacher at All Hallows, was also the school’s jayvee basketball coach. He lived in the neighborhood, and most of the time drove me to school.”
When Casey and Trapp didn’t ride together, it was the F train to West 4th, he remembered, and then the D train to 161st Street.
“It was the Yankee Stadium subway stop,” he said. “Just about an hour each way.”
Trapp wasn’t the only lucky one.
All Hallows got a real winner in the lanky jump shooter.
He played four years for the Gaels, was a First Team All -City selection in the New York Post and was tabbed a First- Teamer, all-Bronx-Manhattan in the Daily News.
The problems began to surface with success.
So did the scholarship offers.
“I chose Villanova, he said, “they were coming off that NCAA Championship with Howard Porter, and coach Rollie Massimino really wanted me.”
So off to Philadelphia he went – and he stayed a Villanova Wildcat for about six months.
“What can I say,?” he said, “I was young, and more than that, I was homesick. I missed Brooklyn. I missed the old neighborhood.”
It was back to square one, and Conlon – his basketball mentor at Holy Name – was there to help.
“Gerard (Conlon) took me to meet Danny Lynch in Breezy Point – The Irish Riviera,” Trapp said.
It was an easy sell.
Lynch was all St. Francis. He graduated from the college in 1938. He played on the school’s basketball team from 1934-38 – he was the team’s captain. Then he went on to become the basketball head coach at his Alma Mater from 1948-69.
In 1964 he was appointed the Athletic Director of St. St. Francis College, a post he held for 11 years, until 1975.
Did we mention Lynch holds the record for most wins by a coach – and experienced just eight losing seasons in 21 years? He recorded 283 wins in 520 games.
As for Trapp – he was homesick and the Terriers provided all the answers. Basketball. Brooklyn and brother Bobby was attending the school.
Jack Prenderville was Trapp’s first coach – 1973-74 – and it was a two-year stint.
Prenderville went 18-32 in those two seasons and was issued a copy of the home game.
“Lou Rossini was hired and he brought some real excitement to campus,” Trapp recalled. “Lou had some real success at NYU before they dropped their Division I program.”
It was Rossini who brought stability as well as credibility to the basketball program. In his very first year as a head coach with Columbia University, he guided them to a 21-1 record and an appearance in the 1951 NCAA Basketball Tournament. He compiled a 357-256 record in almost 20 years of coaching, mostly with New York University.
He led NYU to three NCAA Tournament appearances, and four National Invitational (NIT) bis in 13 seasons.
Two of his best players at NYU were Harold (Happy) Hairston and Barry Kramer, who starred on the 1963 and 1964 teams. Hairston and Kramer advanced to professional careers.
And all he did at St. Francis was produce a record of 55-48 in four seasons as head coach.
In fact, when Rossini’s Terriers finished an even 13-13 in 1975-76 it was the first non-losing season at the school since Dan Lynch went 15-8 in 1966-67.
In Trapp’s senior year, the Terriers went 16-9, and were one of the top collegiate teams in the city, with wins over arch-rivals Iona and Manhattan.
“It was all about coming back home,” he said, “it was great playing in front of family and friends.”
It certainly showed.
Trapp exploded for a season-high 34 three times that year – against Gannon, CCNY and Manhattan.
When it was all over, Gerard Trapp played 92 games for the Terriers, scored 1,434 points for a career mark of 15.6 points-per-game which placed him the school’s Hall of Fame in 1987.
He toured a year with the Washington Generals – the fawn for the Harlem Globetrotters.
“It was fun,” he said, “but the travel and losing gets to you.”
Today the financial advisor – he works with his wife Pat, a former Terriers’ cheerleader – sticks to golf. In fact, he says he recently broke 90.
“It’s safer,” he said.
Andy Furman is a Fox Sports Radio national talk show host. Previously, he was a scholastic sports columnist for the Brooklyn Eagle. He may be reached at: [email protected] Twitter: @AndyFurmanFSR
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