PROFILE OF A LEGEND: THE STITH BROTHERS
Oct. 11, 2005
ST. BONAVENTURE, N.Y. - Over 3,000 points. All-America awards. NBA careers. Retired uniform numbers. Hall of Fame honors.
These are among the many accolades earned by the Stith brothers, Tom '61 and Sam '60, over their distinguished careers at St. Bonaventure. This weekend, the Stith brothers will again be side-by-side on campus for the Legends Celebration, which will be held at the Reilly Center starting at 5 p.m.
The most well-known duo in St. Bonaventure lore, the New York City natives helped boost Bonaventure basketball into the national spotlight.
Sam, the older of the two by a year, was a defensive catalyst, helping to initiate the team's zone defense. He also was a complete player who scored 1,112 career points and grabbed 620 rebounds.
Tom earned his place in St. Bonaventure lore with a smooth athleticism and a hook shot that few, if any, could copy.
The younger Stith blossomed into a prolific scorer and was the Bonnies' first consensus All-American. Among his many All-America awards were back-to-back honors by the Associated Press in 1960 and 1961. Tom set the all-time scoring record at St. Bonaventure with 2,052 points over his three years. That total has been surpassed three times, but twice it was by men who played four seasons. Tom still holds the St. Bonaventure record for field goals in a season with 327 and scoring average for a season at an amazing 31.5 points per game.
The 1959-60 season was perhaps the most magical for the Stiths. They combined to average an incredible 52 points per game - Sam at 20.5 and Tom at 31.5. The year culminated in St. Bonaventure's fourth place finish in the NIT.
Together, the Stiths helped St. Bonaventure to three NIT berths and one NCAA Tournament bid over a four year span.
After graduation, the Stith brothers remained together, playing for their hometown New York Knicks in 1961-62. Tom, in fact, was the second player chosen in the 1961 NBA Draft. Sam and Tom Stith were inducted to St. Bonaventure's Athletics Hall of Fame in 1969.
Over 40 men's basketball alumni will return to the Reilly Center for an evening of nostalgia and fun. Alumni from across six decades of St. Bonaventure basketball are scheduled to participate.
The Legends Celebration will include meet-and-greet & autograph sessions with the Stiths and all alumni and current players. There will be entertainment for fans of all ages, too, with a variety of children's games, an extensive display of memorabilia and video footage from Bonnies basketball history. Current and former players will also participate in promotions with fans including a parent-child contest. There will also be a St. Bonaventure student contest for the chance to win $5,000. An alumni game will be played at 7 p.m. There is no charge for admission, but fans will be asked for a donation at the door. All proceeds will go to the ReHabilitation Center.