A three-sport star (basketball, football, and baseball), at New York University in the 1930s Gross is a member of the school’s Athletic Hall of Fame, and is considered one of the greatest athletes in NYU history. In 1935, Gross captained NYU when the basketball team won the Helms National Championship with a record of 19-1.
Birth and Death Dates:
An outstanding athlete, Gross joined the NYU varsity basketball team in 1933 as a sophomore center. A starter by mid-season, Sid joined senior captain Sam Potter to lead NYU to a 11-4 record on the year. That year, Gross finished fifth on the team in scoring with 65 points while appearing in 14 games.
In 1934, Gross' junior season, NYU was one of the best teams in the country, after sophomores Willie Rubenstein, Len Maidman, and Irwin Klein joined the squad. With Klein, who was also a football star, playing center, Gross moved to forward. Sid was a steady influence as NYU won its first 15 games of the season, and entered its annual year-end showdown with rival CCNY (City College of New York) with the mythical Eastern championship on the line.
City College, undefeated and the two-time defending Eastern champ, was favored entering the contest. The newspapers characterized the face-off as the most anticipated basketball game in New York City history (5,000 people attended the match, but three times that number tried to obtain tickets). The game itself was a bit of a letdown, though. NYU defeated CCNY, 24-18, to capture the Eastern title, becoming the first New York team in over twenty years to finish undefeated (16-0). Gross, who scored two points against CCNY, finished the season with a total of 107, 14th overall in the New York City Metropolitan area. The victory served notice that NYU superseded CCNY as the city's top basketball team and were both eager and ready to build upon this success in the upcoming season.
1935 proved to be one of the greatest years for any New York City team in history. Gross, who captained the Violets and returned as a starting forward, was terrific all year. With other returning starters Rubenstein, Maidman, and Klein, joined by sophomore sensation Milt Schulman, NYU got the season off to a resounding start with an important victory over Southern powerhouse Kentucky. Held at Madison Square Garden, the game was was part of a new series of doubleheaders that brought top teams from around the country to New York and helped pave the way for the growth of college basketball. For the next 16 years, the Garden served as the focal point of the college game.
In the match against Kentucky, Gross scored a foul shot in the final minute of play to give his team a 23-22 victory over the Wildcats of the Blue Grass state (Sid scored five points in the game). NYU went on to win 17 of their first 18 games prior to their finale with City College, who hoped to avenge the previous season's loss. In a tightly contested battle, Gross and Len Maidman combined for 17 of NYU's 31 points, to defeat the Beavers, 31-29 (City missed a last-second shot to tie the game). Gross finished the year with 140 points on the season (12th in the Met area). NYU had a record of 19-1 and were recognized as National Champions (the first New York City national champ since St. John's earned that distinction in 1911). Gross, who also played football and baseball, is a member of the NYU Athletic Hall of Fame.
Gross played forward and center at NYU from 1933-1935.
6'0", 170 pounds
Use links below to navigate through the basketball section of Jews In Sports.
encyclopedia of JEWS in sports, by Bernard Postal, Jesse Silver, and Roy Silver (New York: Bloch Publishing Co., 1965)
Ronald Encyclopedia of Basketball, edited by William G. Mokray (Ronald Press: 1962)
New York Times, March 13, 1933
New York Times, March 5, 1934
New York Times, March 6, 1935