Sunday, February 3, 2013

This guy could be -- just might... -- my new idol. The Times has a profile today of someone named Tom Konchalski. A high school basketball nut,

...Mr. Konchalski prepares his scouting newsletter, the HSBI Report, every three weeks on a typewriter. He does not use a computer, a cellphone or an answering machine — and he has never driven a car.

A typical day consists of hopping on the subway to a game. Often he takes trains and buses to Catholic schools in New Jersey, prep schools in New England, or really any of the powerhouses from Maine to West Virginia. 

Tuesday afternoon found him in the last row of the bleachers at George Westinghouse high school in Brooklyn, where the team was taking on the South Shore Vikings, also from Brooklyn. Mr. Konchalski watched a South Shore player, Terrence Samuel.

“He’s got good feel, makes other people better,” Mr. Konchalski murmured as he took notes on his trademark legal pad, with more than a dozen categories for each of the four players he was ranking. The well-dressed scout stood out against all the teenagers in puffy ski jackets singing along to the Nicki Minaj and Lil Wayne songs echoing in the gym. 

A longer piece about Mr. Konchalski appeared recently in New York Magazine:

He arrives at games an hour early to watch warm-ups and chat with the coaches.

On some nights, he is the only white guy in the gym. “He knows more African-Americans than Al Sharpton,” says Ed Broderick, a lawyer and fellow basketball junkie who often goes to games with him.

In 1979, Konchalski gave up his teaching job and went to work full-time as a scout, first for Howard Garfinkel, who founded HSBI, and then, after buying HSBI from Garfinkel in 1984, for himself.

“I don’t have any grand plans to conquer the world,” he says. “I go to the games I want to go to and if that can support me, fine.”

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