What's a "legit tweener" if it's not Boy George? Do you, or any of your friends, have "low major muscle"? Or "? feet"? Does your "j border on pure"? What does "HM if reverts to soph" mean? Is Kansas-bound Danny Manning really "the greatest swingman since Benny Goodman"? Does Syracuse-bound Michael Brown really "score like we breathe"? And can Georgia Tech-bound Duane Ferrell really "say hello to God 3 times a quarter"?
The answers—and much, much more!—can be found in the collected works of Howard Garfinkel and Bill Cronauer. Until June Garfinkel edited and wrote the HSBI Report, while Cronauer produces the B/C Scouting Service, the most widely read of the newsletters that evaluate high school basketball talent for college recruiters.
Garfinkel started HSBI in 1964. It sold for 50� an issue in those days. Garf has only one of the original books left, and he says, "I wouldn't sell it for a million dollars." Though Garf's evaluations are restricted to Eastern players, the service became nationally known. Today about 200 subscribers pay $250 a year for HSBI, now run by Tom Konchalski, which is published monthly from September to June.
Cronauer began the irregularly issued B/C (for Bill Cronauer) Scouting Service in 1968 with about 28 subscribers; he now has some 600 paying $200, $300 if they want junior college evaluations as well. That's an estimated gross of $150,000. He has more clients than Garfinkel because his service is national and is purchased by colleges across the country.
A reliable estimate of Cronauer's profit on the service is $100,000. "I make far more on my service than on my camps," he says. His partner in the camp business, Bill Bolton, publishes his own service, called Basketball's Recruiting Profiles, a guide in which recruiters can find out such things as a potential recruit's favorite food and best friend, and a coach's shoe size.
Garf is more guarded about his personal finances, though he says he had an income of about $50,000 in 1983, including proceeds from his camp and the scouting service. Until two months ago Garfinkel and Konchalski had split the HSBI profits, but now that Garf has acceded to NCAA rules and sold his share, Konchalski is the sole owner. "I was going to leave it to Tom in my will, anyway," says Garfinkel. Many refuse to believe, however, that the unmistakable Garfinkel prose will be absent from HSBI. Prose like:
"Kid's the biggest sleeper since Rip Van Winkle" or "...more tools than the Watergate burglars." A shot blocker has "more rejects than the Harvard Law School." A penetrating guard "gets into the paint like Picasso." Garf's major talent is discovering backcourt men. Heck, he's discovered more guards than..."than Buckingham Palace," he says.
Of Cronauer's work, Garfinkel says, "You can't do a national service and be accurate. But I'll say this: The volume of work Bill Cronauer does is mind-boggling. I don't know how he does it." Cronauer says it's easy. One only has to be on the phone 22 hours a day, 52 weeks a year. "Of course, I can't see all the players I rate," he says. "But I see a lot of them. And there's not a player anywhere that I can't find out about with one phone call."
Being wrong about a player, in Cronauer's view, is just part of the game. "I'm bothered by it for about five seconds," he says, "then I forget about it and go on." Garfinkel? "I'm wrong on a kid," says the Garf, "and I don't sleep for a week."
Different as the men and their services are, Cronauer and Garf could have graduated from the same creative writing school, one that teaches things like "legit tweener" (a player who's excellent, or "legitimate," but too big to be a guard and too small to be a forward). "HM if reverts to soph" denotes a player who will be good at a leading university, a "High Major," if he plays as he did as a high school sophomore. Cronauer once wrote of a player: "Won't make 'em forget Corky Withrow here." Corky Withrow? Surely Cronauer has HM esoterica muscle.