'The only honest man in the gym' | Zagsblog
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Adam Zagoria covers basketball at all levels. He is the author of two books and an award-winning journalist whose articles have appeared in ESPN The Magazine, SLAM, Sheridan Hoops, Sports Illustrated, Basketball Times and in newspapers nationwide.
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Saturday / July 24.
  • ‘The only honest man in the gym’

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    If you are any kind of a basketball junkie, you must read this tremendous piece of reporting and writing by Kevin Armstrong of SI.com on Tom Konchalski.

    Dubbed “the only honest man in the gym” by hoops writer John Feinstein, Konchalski, 63, is as constant a fixture in metropolitan area gyms as baskets and backboards.

    Kevin spent about a year working on this story and the research shows. He has tremendous detail on Tom’s background and influences and even went inside the inner sanctum that is Tom’s Forest Hills apartment.

    Konchalski has no cell phone, answering machine or computer. He has banged out his annual reports on the same typewriter for 25 years. Yes, a typewriter, as seen in this photo taken by Armstrong.

    Twitter, Google and Blogs are foreign concepts to him. I once showed him my blog and he looked at it with a bemused look on his face and said it was “all beyond him.”

    Still, Tom has joined the 21st century somewhat by agreeing to come into the SNY studio for periodic video interviews on recruits, such as the above piece from July in which he gives spot-on takes on JayVaughn Pinkston (Villanova), Kyrie Irving (Duke), Tobias Harris (Tennessee), Devon Collier (Oregon State) and Doron Lamb (uncommitted).

    Every time I call him for a comment on a player, he is steadfastly honest in his appraisal and if he has nothing positive to say, he says he doesn’t want to be quoted. Yet more often than not, he will break out a detailed, encylopedic appraisal of the player in question.

    Famous for his one-liners, Tom has delivered these gems in the time I’ve known him:

    On Rutgers’ Greg Echenique: “He’s a mountain masquerading as a man.”

    On Pinkston: “He has the body of blacksmith, the touch of a surgeon.”

    On Seton Hall commit Fuquan Edwin: “He scores like we breathe.”

    Tom has been a mentor and inspiration to a younger generation of basketball writers, and I’m proud to call him my friend.


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    Adam Zagoria is a Basketball Insider who covers basketball at all levels. A contributor to The New York Times and SportsNet New York (SNY), he is also the author of two books and is an award-winning journalist and filmmaker. His articles have appeared in ESPN The Magazine, SLAM, Sheridan Hoops, Basketball Times and in newspapers nationwide. He also won an Emmy award for his work on the SNY mini-documentary on Syracuse guard Tyus Battle. A veteran Ultimate Frisbee player, he has competed in numerous National and World Championships and, perhaps more importantly, his teams won the Westchester Summer League (WSL) championships in 2011 and 2013. He lives in Manhattan with his wife and children.