Brooklyn Boro

Carlton Screen was great back then — he might be even better now

January 24, 2022 Andy Furman
Erasmus Hall High School has a glamorous facade. Eagle photo by Lore Croghan
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The best.

They were the best –ever.

We’re talking the 1965 Public Schools Athletic League (PSAL) City Champion Erasmus Hall High School basketball team.

Make that the 22-0 PSAL City Champs – and you’ll get no argument from one of the key cogs of that unit – Carlton Screen.

“We were,” he told the Eagle, “The best team ever. We defied any defense against us.”

They did.

They defeated Boys High and then DeWitt Clinton for the city crown in Madison Square Garden.

“In fact,” Screen remembered, “we beat Boys three times that season. That was unheard of back then.”

That Flying Dutchmen team was loaded – Coak Cannon, Robert E. Lee, Oliver Shannon, Barnet Shulman and George Thompson.

Thompson led the club with 22 points-a-game, followed by Shannon with 16 and Canon with 13.

Screen claims he dished out some 20 assists-per-game.

“Our seniors all ended up playing D-1 college basketball and George (Thompson) played in the NBA,” said Screen who averaged a shade under 16 per-game that magical season.

So, who was the best player on that title team?

“You could have picked anyone from one through nine,” Screen said. “But we knew we’d be good from the jump. We played together in the schoolyards all summer. We went from Flatbush to Bed-Stuy to Red Hook and challenged all comers.”

Screen remembers. 

“It was a big deal to be on a high school basketball team,” he said.

Flatbush was where Carlton Screen put up his roots.

“I started low,” he laughed, “from 255 to 265 to 682 Flatbush Avenue. Those places were home for me.”

And today, he hasn’t strayed far from his roots – Flatbush.

“Its kinda crazy,” said the kid who continued his basketball at Manhattan Community College before falling in love and getting married.

It was 1992, he recalled. “I was working at a carpet company, had a week off and walked over to Caton Park and saw some kids playing basketball.

“They were pretty good,” he offered, “but they lacked discipline.”

Carlton Screen decided it was time to give back to his community.

“I went to the director of the tournament that was at Caton Park that day,” he said, “I wanted to help out. I wanted a showcase for these kids on Saturdays and Sundays from 9 am till noon.”

It was the start of the Flatbush Youth Association (FYA) – nothing more than a dream of Carlton Screen’s turned into a reality.

The FYA provides Brooklyn youth with free basketball coaching, mentoring and life skills activities as well as homework assistance.

Carlton Screen – the Founder – has opened doors to new opportunities for hundreds of Brooklyn boys and girls ages six to 19.

“We started the program at Walt Whitman Junior High School,” Screen said, “just down the block from Erasmus High. “We moved to P.S. 6, right next door to Erasmus, and then we incorporated an elementary school.”

The program is now set at P.S. 92, with a playground and summer camps, Screen says.

“We can’t use the indoor gym right now because of the pandemic,” he said. “We’ve trained and coached children and young adults in basketball and life skills for more than 25 years. Our children come from diverse backgrounds, though many are from single-parent homes and homes which are economically disadvantaged. Our goal is to help them in their educational endeavors, become better athletes and to prepare them in becoming good citizens.”

Carlton Screen helped prepare Erasmus Hall High School to a PSAL City basketball title in 1965.

That same season, as a pitcher and outfielder, he helped prepare The Flying Dutchmen to a PSAL baseball title.

“He was a better baseball player, than basketball,” teammate Barnet Shulman once said.

Screen led his Erasmus baseball team in all categories. “I won my own games,” he said, “and my greatest thrill was playing in both Yankee Stadium as well as Shea Stadium.”

Screen credits Don Brister, his baseball coach for the Bonnie Rockets.

These days, the kids at The Flatbush Youth Association are giving credit to Carlton Screen.

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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