A typewritten newsletter dated March 22, 1966 contains scouting reports on high school basketball players. The issue is hidden inside a thick three-ring binder that is buried in the cluttered Manhattan apartment of Howard Garfinkel. His life is basketball. He has been a scout, a coach, a creator of a summer camp and a director of clinics.
About 70 years ago, this son of a garment worker was a modest high school player. He said that he had a good two-handed set shot. Unfortunately, he didn’t have the moves. He admitted that he didn’t work at his game.
But, Garfinkel’s passion for basketball moved him in another direction, and he continues to work hard at it every day. He became a compiler of information about players, and he sent this information to college coaches. He also was the originator of what has become a staple of basketball development and recruiting—the summer camp with guest coaches and showcase games.
During the mid-1960s, Garfinkel published a magazine (High School Basketball Illustrated) that profiled players and teams in New York and northern New Jersey. An assistant coach at The Citadel obtained a copy, and he suggested that Garfinkel open a scouting service. He did, eventually, and he also opened the Five-Star Basketball Camp. For the second year of the camp, he hired a young Bobby Knight at $50 per day as his top instructor. The camp was pure basketball—teaching, coaching, playing and no nonsense—and it drew top schoolboy talent from around the country.
Clinics And All-Stars
Eight years ago, Garfinkel sold his stake in the camp. But he remains in the game he always has loved. Last year, he organized his sixth annual Clinic to End All Clinics where Division I coaches discussed strategy with coaches from other colleges and high schools. Garfinkel also is a co-founder of the New York City Basketball Hall of Fame and he evaluates city players for the selection advisory committee of the McDonald’s All-American Game.
From an early age, Garfinkel realized that his life would focus on basketball. He still types his player evaluations on an IBM typewriter. He uses his phone but will not go near the internet. He also still has his binders and the well-organized scouting reports that made him a household name in basketball long before email and ESPN.
Howard Garfinkel will continue to evaluate talent as long as he can, and he will continue to do it the old fashioned way. Read more about him at Fox Sports.