Weehawken loses a true legend in Anderson
Prep dominates Region 4 wrestling; McKnight signs with Tennessee State
Mar 10, 2013 | 4314 views | 0 0 comments | 7 7 recommendations | email to a friend | print
REMEMBERING ‘HARRY THE HAT’ – Weehawken basketball legend Harry Anderson, known affectionately as “Harry the Hat,” died last week at the age of 63. He is shown here in 2008 receiving his Hudson County Sports Hall of Fame award.
REMEMBERING ‘HARRY THE HAT’ – Weehawken basketball legend Harry Anderson, known affectionately as “Harry the Hat,” died last week at the age of 63. He is shown here in 2008 receiving his Hudson County Sports Hall of Fame award.

Perhaps the greatest basketball player to ever come out of Weehawken passed away last week.

Harry Anderson died way too young. He was 63 years old.

Anderson helped Weehawken win its lone HCIAA basketball championship in 1967 and helped the Indians advance to the NJSIAA Group III state title game that year.

A year later, Anderson was absolutely unconscious, averaging 30 points per game, a new county record that stood for a decade, until Danny Callandrillo of North Bergen broke it in 1978. He scored 50 in a game against Union Hill, the fourth highest single game scoring total in Hudson County history.

“Those are all great memories,”Anderson said in 2008, when he was inducted into the Hudson County Sports Hall of Fame. “There were so many great basketball players in Hudson County at that time. I was proud that the record stood for as long as it did. I was also proud of the team accomplishments, being part of the only county champion ever in Weehawken.”

And Anderson certainly loved Weehawken.

“It was a great town, a small community that was family oriented,” Anderson said. “Everyone knew each other in Weehawken. I was from the Heights section, but I could go anywhere in Weehawken and know someone. It was a great place to grow up. I’m still all about Weehawken.”

Anderson attended Jacksonville University for one year, then returned home to Weehawken and had a stellar three-year career at St. Peter’s College, scoring 984 points in three seasons.

Known as “Harry the Hat,” Anderson enjoyed some memorable moments with the Peacocks, including a 31-point game against Providence, which went to the NCAA Final Four that season and featured All-Americans Marvin Barnes and Ernie DiGregorio.

Anderson was drafted by the Pittsburgh Condors of the old ABA, had a tryout with the Atlanta Hawks of the NBA and was even invited to have a tryout with the Dallas Cowboys, even though Anderson never played organized football.

“I knew that I didn’t want to get hurt," Anderson said. “I didn't want to even try that.”

After his playing career was done, Anderson became a police officer with the Port Authority of New York/New Jersey and remained with the PA until his retirement in 1999.

“I spent my entire Port Authority career at the Holland Tunnel,” Anderson said. “So I grew up in Hudson County, played basketball in Hudson County in high school and college and worked in Hudson County my whole life. I'm truly a Hudson County guy. I have a lot of great memories of my days as a basketball player.”

And the people old enough to remember will always cherish the time they spent with “Harry the Hat,” who was a true character on and off the court. He’s legendary at St. Peter’s for showing up naked to take his basketball team picture. He will be sorely missed…

One week after dominating the NJSIAA District 16 tournament, the St. Peter’s Prep wrestling team did the same at the Region 4 tourney last weekend in West Orange.

There is no official team total kept at the eight region tourneys throughout the state, but the Marauders would have won the team crown by over 100 points in Region 4. That’s how dominant they were once again.

The Marauders are sending a record nine wrestlers to the NJSIAA state championships in Atlantic City. Six are going as Region 4 champs: Alec Kelly (106 pounds), Ryan Burkert (138), James Kellner (170), Christian Colucci (195), Armond Cox (225) and Jose Palamino (heavyweight) all won their respective weight classes at Region 4 and earned a top seed in the state tournament.

Michael Russo (113) and Connor Burkert (132) finished second while Jordan Fox (182) was third. There was a time when it was big news if the Prep sent one wrestler to the state championships. Sending nine is totally off the chart. That’s how far the Prep wrestling program has gone over the last few years.

North Bergen’s Anthony Giraldo won the Region 4 gold medal at 126 pounds, pinning Moe Farhan of Clifton in the title bout in just 23 seconds. Teammate Manny Dominguez (145) was third, earning a spot in Atlantic City.

Other locals to go to the state championships are Sean Roesing of Secaucus (runner-up at Region 4 at 160 pounds) and Union City’s Adrian Oceguera, who lost to Palamino in the finals at Region 4 for the second straight week…

Another former Lincoln football product has signed a national letter of intent to play Division I college football in the fall. Lamar McKnight, a former Hudson Reporter All-Area honoree a few years back, has signed with Tennessee State to play quarterback there. McKnight was playing at Conta Costra Junior College in California, the same school where McKnight’s Lincoln teammate Robert Butler was playing. Butler recently signed with Utah State…--Jim Hague

Jim Hague can be reached at OGSMAR@aol.com.

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