Saturday, October 3, 2015

Hastings Hoops Legend Eyeballing Triumphant Return

Now in his 40s, legendary Hastings Hall of Fame point guard Lewis Lefkowitz assures you he's "still got it."

Lefkowitz, enshrined in the Hall of Fame four years ago, says he's still got the handle on a string.

 He can still light up a gym, scoring in bunches and barreling to the rim on 20-somethings.

 The energy and the high-scoring motor, which enabled him to eclipse the 1,000-point milestone at Hastings High is still there, Lefkowitz said.

"Right now I'm just trying to get an agent and go overseas," said Lefkowitz, a 1987 Hastings graduate who averaged 23 points and shot a scalding 96 percent from the free throw line his senior season.

"I train three hours a day and I take everyday like it's my last day on this planet. I didn't hire one of these certified trainers to work me out because most of those guys suck. Most of them never played in high school or if they did play in high school, they made a minimal impact. Until this day, no high school team on the planet can stop me when they full court press me."

Lefkowitz starred at Elizabeth City State University, a Division-II program in North Carolina. At ECSU, Lefkowitz scored 1,143 points and shot 58.7 percent from the field.

"At the time, we were a Division-II team with a lot of Division-I opponents," said Lefkowitz. "We went up against Virginia Union with (former NY Knicks bruiser) Charles Oakley. We played against Yale with (former NBA veteran) Chris Dudley."

Lefkowitz said if a professional career over the waters doesn't pan out, he plans on running full time basketball camps and clinics in the Fort Lauderdale, Fla. area.

Known as "Lew Ice" in his hoops heyday, Lefkowitz' basketball journey is rather unheard of.

 He reclassified as a junior, spending the year in Florida rather than attending school.

 Remembered by former teammates as a maximum-level trash talker and relentless motor-mouth, few could ever match Lefkowitz' high-wired intensity.

"The level of basketball today is embarassing," said Lefkowitz.

 "Our team (under NYS Hall of Fame head coach John Costello) would trounce most of these Westchester teams by 50-60 points. The level of play is down throughout Westchester County. Anybody can make a team when your Daddy is the coach."

During his late-1980s era at Hastings, Lefkowitz always seemed more content to quarterback the offense.

 Lefkowitz possessed a flashy, flamboyant game, busting out behind-the-back passes and left handed shovel passes in traffic. With never ending trash talk and a willingness to get in anyone's face, Lefkowitz' cocksure attitude may have been his best attribute.

"Lew had the best handle of anyone I ever played with," explained former teammate Keith Fagan, a Hall of Fame receiver/quarterback at Division-III Western New England College (Mass.) during a 2013 interview.

"I literally don't remember him ever having a turnover. The only time he lost the ball was when a teammate couldn't handle his pass or never expected it because it seemed it would have been impossible for Lew to get him the ball, but he somehow did."

Fagan said Lefkowitz performed bigger in high-magnitude performances.

"We played Hamilton, which had three Division-I bound players at the time and Lew Ice killed them," Fagan said.

"Both games were in the 90s..the 90s! We lost both games, but Lew Ice had over 30 in each."

"People want to deter me because of my age, but they don't realize I played college ball at CCNY at age 28-29 and was just getting started," Lefkowitz said.

"I can still kill all of these guys and the competition is only getting worse. All these kids are so soft. (Manhattan College guard) Shane Richards and (Tampa Bay Bucs Guard and Hastings native) Ali Marpet are the exception."

If Lefkowitz was so gifted, why didn't he play at the Division-I level?

"I still have letters from Miami, Providence, Iona, and big schools," said Lefkowitz.

"My SATs were really bad, back then you needed at least an 800 I think. I scored less."

Lefkowitz said ECSU was a better choice than several Division-I suitors, given the strength of schedule and the conference.

"Marist and Wagner were horrible D-1 at the time," Lefkowitz said.

"CIAA had guys like Oakley, former Celtics star Sam Jones at N.C. Central, Cleo Hill at Winston-Salem State. Even back in the day, there were guys like Earl Lloyd out of West Virginia State. It was a no joke conference, equivalent to D-I."