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Girmindl's Ghost

A diary of Shaker High School's 2005-2006 basketball season, a retelling of Shaker's fabled 1979-1980 season, and general commentary on high school hoops, updated daily...


"I like sitting in the back row. I found that sitting against the wall is just easier on your back." -Dean Smith, on the comfort of the H-gym bleachers

Player Profiles, 1979-1980

Player Profiles, 1979-1980:

If you have information on anyone on the team (particularly the reserves) please contact me at girmindlsghost@hotmail.com . If you played on the 1979-80 team, please, please contact me for an interview. Here's the team picture, the profiles are below:


From left to right: Chuck Meehan '80, Dave LaLiberte '80, Jim Brundige '80, Joe Barker '81, Mike Mitchell '80, Tim Cain '81, Sam Perkins '80, Brain Roche '80, Jeff Tuecke '81, John Brennan '81, George Roe '81, Jim Howard '80, Brian Warner '82.

Starters

Jim Brundige '80: Reserve shooting guard on the '78-'79 team and the starting shooting guard on the '79-80 team. He averaged just under 6 points/game in '79-80, his most important probably the nine he got against Saratoga in the close-call opening round of the Shaker Invitational Tournament.

Tim Cain '81: Tim heads the list of players you should know about from 1979-80 but that you probably don't. Tim, a junior, was a starting forward on the team, but stood 6'7" and certainly would have played center had Perkins not been on the team. A strong rebounder and a nice inside player, in 1979-80 Tim was the second leading scorer for the Bison. He was also named to the All-Tournament team at the Girmindl tournament.

The following year, when Tim was a seinor, he was the leading scorer and rebounder on the team, as well as the leading scorer in section 2. He average 28.1 points/game. He was named the MVP of the Girmindl tournament after dropping 28 in the first round and 35 on Gloversville in the championship game. He led the Bison to their 3rd consecutive Suburban Council championship and a 19-1 regular season record. Seeded #1 once again in the sectionals, Shaker was upset in the second round by Albany high.

Tim went on to play Division I college basketball for Manhattan College in the MAAC conference (where Siena now plays). He was named Rookie of the year in 1981-82 and was named to the all-MAAC first or second team in each of his four years. He finished his career at Manhattan as their all-time leading scorer, averaging 17.3 ppg over his career. These numbers are still good for second place (behind Keith Bullock '92) on the all-time scoring list at Manhattan.

Tim is almost certainly the second-best player to ever wear the Shaker uniform - and that's largely the reason the 1979-80 was so dominate. Lots of schools have great players, even future NBA stars. But not many teams simultaneously have two players who go on to produce such big-time college numbers. For one year, Shaker did.

Although it is probably true that playing with Sam allowed Tim to be noticed by many more scouts than otherwise would have found him, I've always felt that his contributions to the 1979-80 team, as well as his status in Shaker sports history, have been underrated because of the massive shadow Sam produced. By all accounts, Tim was simply an incredible player, and a great person as well. Tim was inducted into the Shaker Sports Hall of Fame in the late 1980's.

Chuck Meehan '80: Starting point guard on both the '78-79 team and the '79-80 team. Averaged 7.2 points/game in '79-80, but was considered by many to be an absolute key to the offensive well-being of the team. Unfortunately, this was largely proven true when the '79-80 team finally was beaten.

Sam Perkins '80: Obviously, the star of the team. In Sam's two years at Shaker, the team was 47-2. Sam averaged 23 points, 16 rebounds, and 7 blocks his junior year and was named to the All-state 1st team after leading the Bison to a 24-1 record and an appearance in the state Final Four. That summer, Sam was the only high school player named to the U.S. Junior National team (the age limit was 19, so all the other players on the team were the best college freshmen in the country) and he played extremely well.

His senior year, Sam averaged almost 28 points/game, 19 rebounds, and 9 blocks, despite constantly being double and triple-teamed. He was once again named to the All-State 1st team after leading the Bison to a "disappointing" 23-1 record. Sam played in the McDonald's high school all-American game in April 1980, where he scored 12 points and set the still-existing record for rebounds with 24.

By most accounts, Sam was one of the top 3 big men in the country his senior year in high school. Midway through the season, the reporters even got Coach Girmindl to admit that Sam might just be the best high school player in the country. He was an absolute force at both ends of the court. On offense he combined great post moves with jumpshot range out to 20 feet. On defense, he completely clogged the lane, allowing Shaker to overplay the opposition guards. His 41 sleeve-length arms (yes, 41!) allowed him to grab almost every rebound. Any number of his top stat lines from Shaker are simply mind boggling to look at.

After a fierce recruiting battle, Sam chose to attend North Carolina. At Carolina, Sam was ACC rookie of the year, all-ACC his three upperclassmen years, and a first team All-American his senior year. Along with Michael Jordan and James Worthy, he led the Tar Heels to the national title in 1982. He left Carolina as the all-time leading rebounder, the #2 all-time leading scorer, and the #5 all-time best free-throw shooter. Sam was co-captain of the 1984 gold medal winning Olympic team, and was selected #4 in the 1984 NBA draft. Sam is considered one of the greatest college basketball players in the history of the ACC.

Sam's had a very solid NBA career. Nicknamed the "Big Smooth," he played 17 seasons and averaged 12 points/game and 6 rebounds, although his totals for his first 12 seasons - when he was a starter - are more like 14 and 8. Sam was named to the all-rookie team in 1985 and was a starter on multiple NBA finals teams, although he never won a ring. Although he always had tremendous range, Sam was able to prolong his time in the NBA by becoming an excellent 3-point shooter in the second half of his career. He was a lifetime 36% 3PT shooter, and had several year where he shot better than 40% from behind the line. Although it's doubtful Sam will make the hall

Although Sam had a tremendous career in high school, college, and the pros, most of the people who knew him personally are much more likely to tell you a story about what a quiet and kind person he was, especially in his private life off the basketball court. Despite growing up with almost every disadvantage of life you can think of, Sam was a smart, genuine, and caring person by all accounts. Since retiring from the NBA, Sam has led a very private life, focusing on his charities and business pursuits.

Jeff Tueke '81: Starting small forward on the '79-80 team and starting power forward on the '80-81 team. Jeff was a JV call-up on the '78-'79 team, making him and Tim Cain the only two players who were part of the '78-'81 dynasty that went 67-4. Jeff was an excellent player, but certainly spent his entire career in the shadow of Perkins and Cain. He averaged 8.9 points/game in '79-80, hitting for a season-high of 21 against Albany in the finals of the Shaker Invitational Tournament. One issue of legend is how tall Jeff and Tim actually were in '79-80. Everyone tends to agree that Sam was 6'9", but newspaper reports place Tim and Jeff anywhere from 6'8" and 6'6" down to 6'6" and 6'3". Jeff has confirmed for me that he is "about 6'4" and that Tim was about 6'7" Mystery solved. Jeff went on to play college ball at Divsion III Wartburg in Iowa. On 2/15/06 I conducted an interview with Jeff that will soon be posted.

Reserves

Dave LaLiberte '80:A reserve guard on both the '78-79 team and the '79-80 team. Dave was in the regular rotation of players his senior year, and averaged 3 points/game.

Joe Barker '81: A backup small-forward type player on the '79-'80 team who became the starting small forward on the '80-'81 team. Joe averaged 2.8 points/game in a limited role in '79-80.

Jim Howard '80: A reserve guard in the regular rotation in '79-80. Jim averaged just under 3 points/game.

Mike Mitchell '80: Another reserve in the regular rotation in '79-80, Mike averaged just over 3 points/game and twice hit double digits, against Scotia and against Guilderland.

Brian Roche '80: A reserve on the '79-80 team who didn't play very much. Brian averaged just under a point/game in limited action.

John Brennan '81: A junior reserve guard on the '79-80 team who didn't play very much. Averaged 1.2 points/game. Was a backup guard in the regular rotation in '80-81. A stellar baseball player, John went on to pitch for Siena College, captaining the team as an upperclassman. I conducted an interview with John on 2/13/06, which will be published shortly.

George Roe '81: A junior reserve guard on the '79-80 team who didn't play very much. George averaged just under a pont/game in limited action.

Brian Warner '82: A sophomore on the JV team who was called up to the varsity for the sectional games. Brian did not play in any games in '79-80, but was a two year starting guard on the '80-81 team and the '81-82 team.
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