Seiden, Alan : Jews In Sports @ Virtual Museum

Seiden, Alan

Seiden, a great star at St. John's, is in not only the St. John's University Athletic Hall of Fame but also the New York City Basketball Hall of Fame. Alan was All-America in 1959, the year he captained the Redmen to the NIT championship. That season, he also won the Haggerty Award, given annually to the outstanding player in the Metropolitan New York area.

In the 1959 NIT title contest, Seidman had 21 points (13 down the stretch, as he recalls) to go with 7 rebounds and 8 assists. Joe Lapchick, the legendary coach of St. John's, presented Alan with the game ball. Basketball columnist Peter Vecsey, describing Alan's greatness recently in The New York Post (December 24, 2004), recalled that "On each and every 'ground' raid to the basket, Seidman would infuriate opponents by shouting 'And One!' regardless of whether he was actually fouled. Ask anybody who ever played against him, 30 years or so before an edgy sneaker company copyrighted that phrase, it was his sardonic signature saying." Seiden played three seasons of varsity basketball (from 1957-1959, since freshmen could not play varsity), and finished his career as one of the greatest players in school history. As of 2005, Alan remains tenth all-time in career scoring average (18.3 points per game), fifth in free throws made (464) and sixth in free throws attempted (615). His 21.9 points per game during the 1958-59 season is also tenth in school history.

Birth and Death Dates:

Career Highlights:
Alan was an outstanding guard at Jamaica High School in Queens. In 1955, when Seiden was a senior, he led his team to the PSAL title. That season, he led New York City in scoring and was compared to the great Bob Cousy. A four-year starter at Jamaica, Seiden finished his schoolboy career with 1,349 points, a PSAL record. A backcourt mate of future All-Ivy League performer Dick Rodin (who attended Columbia University), Seiden scored 101 points in the PSAL tournament, including 31 in the final against Madison High School, led by future NBA All-Star Rudy LaRusso.

After graduating from Jamaica, Seiden attended St. John's University and became one of the greatest players in school history. In 1957, the sophomore Seiden was the team's second leading scorer with 273 points and a 11.9 points per game average; he also grabbed 88 rebounds. That year, St. John's finished with a record of 14-9. In a mid-season game against St. Francis, Alan scored 29 points, which was the highest point total among St. John's players that year.

As a junior in 1958, Seiden was team co-captain and named Helms second team All-America. St. John's won their first nine games of the season and finished the regular season with a record of 16-6. Their stellar record earned them an appearance in the NIT (National Invitational Tournament), but after winning their first two games, the Redmen lost 80-56 to Dayton in the semifinals and then 84-69 to St. Bonaventure in the third place game. Seiden himself performed exceptionally, averaging 21.0 points per game in the tournament. During the season, Alan was the leading scorer for St. John's with 531 points (20.4 points per game) and 95 rebounds.

In 1959, Seiden repeated as team captain and had one of the greatest individual seasons in school history. Named Helms and NEA first team All-America, and Converse and Sporting News second team All-America, Alan led the team in scoring for the second consecutive season with 570 points (21.9 points per game). He added 102 rebounds as well, and scored a career-high 38 points in a mid-season game against Loyola (Illinois).

That year, Seiden led St. John's to a 17-7 record and a No. 17 (UPI) ranking. Invited back to the NIT, the unseeded Redmen surprised the country as they defeated Villanova, 75-67, beat St. Bonaventure 82-74, and trounced Providence 76-55 to reach the tournament final. In the championship game, Seiden scored a game-high 22 points and St. John's defeated Bradley, 76-71, in overtime to win the tournament. Alan averaged 20.0 points per game in the tournament. The New York Times in praising his performance, referred to him as "Alan Seiden, the senior without whose shooting, driving, feeding, and steadying influence, the Redmen would have been in trouble."

After graduating from St. John's, Seiden played one season of professional basketball in the American Basketball League. The new league started in 1961 and he played 21 games for the Pittsburgh Rens that year (one of his teammates was the great Connie Hawkins). Seiden scored 9.2 points per game that year and Pittsburgh finished with a record of 41-40.

New York

Career Dates:
Seiden played guard at St. John's University from 1957-1959. He then played one season in the ABL in 1961-62.

Physical description:

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encyclopedia of JEWS in sports, by Bernard Postal, Jesse Silver, and Roy Silver (New York: Bloch Publishing Co., 1965)
The Modern Encyclopedia of Basketball, edited by Zander Hollander (New York: Doubleday, 1979)
Ronald Encyclopedia of Basketball, edited by William G. Mokray (Ronald Press: 1962)
New York Times, March 20, 1955