...in the country during my Senior year at Adelphi, were both from New York, but only one played here, Barry Kramer, from Schenectady who played at NYU.
The other was Art Heyman, a kid from Manhattan who played high school hoops at Oceanside. His big rival wasn't Kramer, but Brooklyn-born Larry Brown, who played at Long Beach High School.
Although their rivalry was legendary in Nassau County scholastic sports, they became friendly off the court and having both been recruited by coaching icon Frank McGuire, each signed letters of intent to attend University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.
It was perfect... a couple of Jewish kids1 from Long Island watching each other's backs in the antebellum South while playing for one of the country's top basketball programs.
Except that Heyman's step-father2 had issues with Frank McGuire, and Heyman went instead to UNC's fiercest sports rival, Duke University, 11 miles away in Durham.
Both young men had outstanding college careers3, but it was Heyman who was the stand-out, earning UPI and AP Third-Team All American honors as a sophomore, UPI and AP Second-Team as a junior, and as a Senior, won every individual honor in sight including the AP National Player of the Year award, the ACC Player of the Year award, and the Oscar Robertson Trophy.
Both he and Kramer were unanimous first team All Americans in 1962-63... Heyman as a 6'5" forward, Kramer as a 6'4" guard... and had a memorable confrontation in the East regional semi-finals of the NCAA Tournament.
With Duke up by a basket in the final minute and Kramer driving with the ball to the basket, Heyman blocked his shot.
The ball found its way back to Kramer and as he went up again, Heyman stuffed him again.
This sequence was repeated a third time and Duke finally got control of the ball and wound up winning, 81–76. Heyman scored 22 points and grabbed 13 rebounds.
It was the most exciting four-five seconds of basketball I'd ever seen, and almost half-a-century later I'm hard-pressed to recall another such sequence.
(Yeah, there was that 1995 Reggie Miller sequence against the Knicks, but it's far too bitter to recall.)
Duke was eliminated in the semi-finals by eventual champion Loyola of Chicago, and finished third overall. Heyman was voted the NCAA Tournament's Most Outstanding Player, despite not even playing in the final.
He was the top pick overall4 in the 1963 draft, and went to the New York Knicks while Kramer was the top pick, sixth overall, of the San Francisco Warriors one year later.
(Larry Brown was selected 55th overall in 1963 by the Baltimore Bullets.)
Neither Heyman nor Kramer had productive professional careers5 and were out of the game very quickly. Ironically, both men had teammates, Jeff Mullins at Duke and Happy Hairston at NYU, who were long-time top NBA players.
Kramer is currently sitting on the State Supreme Court bench in upstate Schenectady County, and probably has the best jump shot of any sitting judge in the country.
Arthur Bruce Heyman, née Sondak, died Monday in Clermont, Florida of undetermined causes.
In his three years on the Duke varsity, he averaged 25.1 points per game while scoring 1,984 points, both school records at that time. He is one of three athletes in ACC History to have been elected unanimously to the All-ACC Men's Basketball team three times.
25 points a game without the 3-point shot – that's a real accomplishment.