Stith Brothers, Crawford Scholarship Fund To Be Established
Facebook Photo Gallery of the Tournament
HARLEM, N.Y. – Tom Stith may be gone, but his legend lives on.
The Harlem playground where St. Bonaventure greats Tom and Sam Stith honed their basketball talents hosted the first Tom Stith Memorial Basketball Tournament earlier this month. Proceeds from the event are expected to be used to establish diversity scholarship funds at St. Bonaventure and St. Francis Prep, the Queens high school that Tom and Sam attended in the late 1950s.
The scholarship fund at St. Bonaventure will be named in honor of Tom Stith, Sam Stith and former Bonnies teammate Fred Crawford (pictured, left to right). Total money raised from the initial tournament is not yet known.
Brother Robert Kent, the alumni director at St. Francis Prep, made a presentation to the Stith family during tournament festivities. Crawford and former St. Bonaventure women's player and assistant coach Priscilla Edwards also attended the event.
"It was a beautiful weekend," Sam Stith said. "It worked out nice … in memory of the big fella. We're very happy. We're still on a high. I went to the cemetery the next day to tell the big fella what had happened."
The tournament for high school, junior high school and girls teams was sponsored by Citibank and run by the Each One Teach One organization, a non-profit youth developmental and mentoring program which Sam Stith has been associated with for 27 years. The tournament is expected to be an annual event, and plans are in the works for two or three other fundraising events throughout the year.
Tom Stith, who passed away in June 2010, remains a St. Bonaventure icon. A consensus All-American in 1960 and 1961, Stith helped vault the Bonnies into the national spotlight. Together, Tom and Sam Stith led SBU to three NIT berths and an NCAA Tournament bid over four years (1957-1961). The brothers, who were inducted into St. Bonaventure's Athletics Hall of Fame in 1969, went on to play for their hometown New York Knicks.
Crawford, who ranks seventh on the SBU all-time scoring list with 1,738 points, went on to play for five NBA teams following his graduation in 1963. He was also inducted along with the Stith brothers into St. Bonaventure's Athletics Hall of Fame in 1969.