The Greatest Brother Act In Basketball History

February 1, 2012

Congratulations to the Stith Brothers!

The NBRPA has just received notice that on June 2nd, 2011 Sam Stith was inducted into the Catholic High School Athletic Hall of Fame of New York. On June 11th, 2011, St. Bonaventure University dedicated a mural to the Stith Brothers in the Reilly Center, home of the Bonnies.

June 11th, 2011 (The Sith Brothers Mural Dedication - A St Bonaventure Publication)

It is no exaggeration to say that the Stith Brothers transformed St. Bonaventure Basketball.

After their parents both died young, the Franciscan friars rescued Sam and Tom from the rough streets of Harlem, bringing the brothers to St. Francis Prep in Brooklyn, NY to continue their academic and basketball careers. There, Sam and Tom became stars, emerging as the best high school players in New York City. Both were hotly recruited by colleges across the country. But the friars and basketball led them to St. Bonaventure. Sam was the first African-American player ever at Bona's, and his brother followed him here one year later. The Stiths not only broke barriers, they made a good program great. From the beginning of Sam's sophmore year through the end of Tom's senior season, the Brown Indians were nationally ranked. In the 1959-60 season, the brothers combined to average an incredible 52 points per game- Sam at 20.5 and Tom at 31.5. The year culminated in a fourth-place finish in the NIT.

All together, the Stiths helped St. Bonaventure to three NIT berths and one NCAA Tournament bid. Fittingly, Sam and Tom Stith were inducted to St. Bonaventure's Athletics Hall of Fame together in 1969, and both of their numbers were retired. Tom was ultra-competitive on the floor, but humble and reserved everywhere else. Equally serious about basketball as Tom was, Sam is best known for his outgoing manner and quick-witted jokes. Sam and Tom Stith were remarkable ambassadors for their sport, but especially for St. Bonaventure University.