Why does Gotkin,
who seems to have a comfortable income as a manufacturer of baby bonnets, spend
so many spare hours hanging around high school playgrounds and gymnasiums and
Madison Square Garden? What keeps him in the recruiting business?
"I do it just
for Frank McGuire," is Gotkin's prompt reply. "Frank treats players
like they were his own sons. He's a wonderful man."
But Gotkin has
other reasons. "My brother Java played at St. John's in 1934," he says.
"Later my cousin Hy played at St. John's. We had a real athletic
"See, I was a
good athlete, too. I used to play third base in baseball. Nobody ever hit a
grounder past me. I stopped them with my chest. I was tough. I played sandlot
football, too. And I fooled around with basketball. But I never got to college.
When I was 10 I had to start working to help the family. See, Hy and Java were
star athletes in college. I wasn't. Now, I help kids get to college.
" Frank McGuire
played with my brother Java at St. John's. Sometimes a player on the other team
would make a crack about Java's being Jewish. That's when Frank would step in.
He'd say, 'You want to make cracks about him? Make them to me first, and then
fight me first.' "
Bill Kenney and
Mike Tynberg are two other recruiters who swear by McGuire. While Kenney
recruits primarily from his apartment, Tynberg keeps busy in the gymnasiums,
usually coaching all-star tournament teams. An alumnus of North Carolina,
Tynberg claims that he has been a Tarheel scout since his graduation 16 years
"I'm on the
North Carolina payroll," Tynberg says. "So is Uncle Harry. We're listed
as assistant coaches." This is news to the treasurer's office at the
University of North Carolina. Neither Tynberg nor Gotkin is included in the
operating budget. Neither scout is mentioned as a coach, assistant or
otherwise, in North Carolina's basketball brochure.
denies that the University of North Carolina pays or even has
"official" scouts. "I do my own scouting," he said last week.
"All the people in New York are my friends. No one gets paid, but everybody
looks out for me. The whole police department looks for players for me. So do
the high school coaches and so do the Brothers at the Catholic schools. Even
the waterfront looks out for me. No one gets paid. Gotkin doesn't get paid. He
looks out for me because he's a friend of mine. Why shouldn't I get the New
York players? After all, that's my home territory."
challenging McGuire, Tynberg is quietly insistent that he does get paid.
"This stuff isn't very profitable," he says. "I get paid only about
$40 for every $50 I shell out. It can really cost you. You invite a kid to a
game at the Garden. He brings his mother, his father, his sister and his girl
friend. You have to take them to dinner and then to the game. You roll up a $65
bill for the night. I get about $50 from Carolina. I'm out $15, maybe, but it's
Tynberg can afford
to have a stoic philosophy about the expense. According to Gotkin and Kenney,
Tynberg inherited a great sum of money recently and spends as much as he
desires on recruiting. In the Flushing tournament, Tynberg entered an all-star
team and promised each member of the squad a $50 uniform. He provided 1956
station wagons to transport the players to each game and then threw in two
handsome valuable-player trophies which were much admired.