Updated: Oct 19, 2021
The Albany Patroons are one of the more famous non-NBA basketball teams, aside from the exotic Harlem Globetrotters and the fictional Flint Tropics. The team has been around since the early 80s, winning three total championships, with two of them coming in the contested CBA. Additionally, they have one of the coolest arena names in all of sports, playing at The Armory. While they are now in The Basketball League, many people don’t know about the historic alumni that the Patroons boast. From coaches going to the NBA, to college stars to European winners, many claim roots in Albany, New York, and, more specifically, The Armory. Here are the Top Ten Most Notable Albany Patroons Alumni.
10. Albert King
Albert King had a rather decorated career at Maryland. Coming out of high school, and after winning the title of Mr. Basketball in New York, King was a higher-rated recruit than even Magic Johnson. He chose to play close to home in Maryland for the Terrapins. King was selected All-ACC, All-American, and even won the ACC Player of the Year in 1980. He earned the tenth overall pick and was chosen by the New Jersey Nets, where he could remain close to home. In his second year in the league, he averaged 17 points. After about 3 seasons in the NBA, King decided to move on. After stints in Italy and Israel, King found himself back in New York, this time playing in the Armory. Once he won the CBA Newcomer of the Year, he decided to return to the NBA and joined the Washington Bullets. His Bullets career was short-lived, and he retired shortly after.
9. Dave Magley
We couldn’t keep this man off of the list. Dropping 24 against one of the GOATs? This feat, alone, puts him on the list. In high school, Magley won the elusive Mr. Basketball award in the basketball state of Indiana. While attending Kansas, he was honored with All Big-Eight First Team his senior year, in 1982. After a successful college career, Magley was drafted by the Cleveland Cavaliers. One season later, Magley packed his things and moved to Albany where he played for a year. Shortly after, his playing career ended. Since then, Magley has been President/Commissioner of multiple basketball leagues and is now the President of the new and growing TBL, the league in which the Albany Patroons currently find themselves.
8. George Karl
George Karl had a successful career playing for the Tar Heels of North Carolina. Making the 2nd team All-ACC team twice, he also finished as a first-teamer his senior year. He earned a fourth-round selection in the NBA draft by the Knicks but played his entire NBA career in San Antonio. Karl then began his coaching career in San Antonio as an assistant. Following this, he joined the CBA and coached the Montana Golden Nuggets. He had two total seasons in Albany, starting in 1988, and then 1990, with the season in between being in Madrid. A year later, he would finally begin his NBA coaching career for good, winning the Coach of the Year award in 2013 with the Denver Nuggets.
7. Jamario Moon
One of our younger choices for the list, Jamario Moon left Meridian Community College in 2000. Although he went undrafted, he was carving himself a nice D-League basketball career. He bounced around a bit and even found himself on the Harlem Globetrotters for a season. In 2005, he found himself in the CBA, playing for the Albany Patroons. He gave it another shot in the D-League, but then ended up back in Albany. After that season, Moon went to the NBA. Moon spent five years in the NBA, participating in All-Star Weekend, and finishing third in the dunk contest behind Dwight Howard and Gerald Green in 2008. After a few years of the D-League and international exposure, Moon finished his career in Albany after the 2017-2018 season.
6. Terry Stotts
Terry Stotts attended Oklahoma, where he was honored with an appearance on the All Big-Eight team. Though Terry was drafted, he wasn’t able to score himself a successful career playing in the NBA. He had some good seasons in Europe before hanging it up, totaling about eleven total playing years. Immediately after, Stotts was offered his first coaching job: an assistant coaching position for the Albany Patroons. He stayed there for a year, then left for another job, before joining the ranks of NBA coaches. His first head coaching gig was for the Atlanta Hawks in 2002, which lasted two seasons. A few years later, Stotts found himself an NBA Champion, as an assistant coach for the Dallas Mavericks. Right after, he was offered a head coach position for the Portland Trail Blazers, where he has been since 2012. Stotts, now, perennially leads the Trail Blazers to the NBA Playoffs.
5. Scott Brooks
After attending three different colleges in the 80s and getting his #12 retired at UC Irvine, Brooks went undrafted in the 1987 NBA Draft. Scott Brooks began his career with Albany, playing there for a season. After a year in the World Basketball League and after Albany, Brooks was able to build himself a ten-year career in the NBA, winning the finals in 1994 with the Houston Rockets. After his playing days were over, he landed a coaching career. In 2007, he was an Assistant for the Seattle SuperSonics. The following year, he was promoted to the position of Head Coach of what had turned into the Oklahoma City Thunder. He had a good career at the helm of the Thunder, winning Coach of the Year in 2010, and leading them to a Finals appearance in 2012. Brooks was let go in 2015, and after taking a year off, he is now at the helm for the Washington Wizards.
4. Mario Elie
Mario Elie was not a superstar coming out of high school. In fact, he did not even attend a Division 1 school. He, instead, went off to American International, where he was able to earn a spot on the draft board in 1985, albeit, in the seventh round. However, while he was drafted, Elie did not find a role in the NBA for a few years. He played a few years overseas, and then for the Patroons from 1989-1990. Immediately after the Patroons, he was able to land himself a spot on the 76ers. He bounced around a couple of times, before finding a home on the Houston Rockets in 1993. After having a sensational playoffs wherein he hit the game-winning three pointer against the Suns in 1995 now known as the “Kiss of Death”, Elie earned a spot on the starting roster for the NBA Finals. In this role, Elie helped the Rockets to their second straight Finals victory.
3. Michael Ray Richardson
Michael Ray Richardson was highly touted coming out of the University of Montana. There, he was a three-time All Big-Sky First Team award winner. He was drafted fourth overall as a point guard by the New York Knicks. He had a solid first few years. In just his second year in the league, he became the third player ever to lead the league in steals and assists. Richardson would accumulate four all-star game appearances in his career, as well as, two-time All-Defensive First Team honors. Michael Ray Richardson had an incredibly unfortunate end to his NBA career after being banned in 1986 for repeated drug offenses. The following year, he found himself playing in Albany. He, then, had quite a successful career overseas, specifically in France, before returning to Albany as a coach. He eventually left this position in 2007 to pursue other options.
2. Rick Carlisle
Rick Carlise earns the number two spot on our list. Selected in the third round in 1984 by the Boston Celtics, he won a championship in 1986; he lost the year before and the year after with Larry Bird by his side. After the 1986-1987 season, Carlisle moved down the road, in Albany to play for the Patroons. A short-lived stint with the Patroons and he was back in the NBA. However, his NBA playing career didn’t last long. Carlisle’s coaching is the reason he is this high on this list. Rick Carlisle is one of the better coaches we have in the NBA today, no question. He had successful stretches in Detroit and Indiana between 2001 and 2007, winning coach of the year for the Pistons in 2002. He, then, earned himself another head coaching job in Dallas, under owner Mark Cuban. Since 2008, he has made the playoffs in eight of his twelve seasons, winning a ring in 2011 with Dallas wherein they beat the “Big 3” of Miami.
1. Phil Jackson
To me, there is no other alum for the top spot on our list. Phil Jackson is highly regarded as one of the best coaches in NBA history, however, he began as a player. He proved himself as a winner during the NBA Finals in 1970 and 1973 with the Knicks, granted, he was sitting out with an injury during the first title run. Jackson retired from the New Jersey Nets a few years later. His first head coaching job was for the Albany Patroons in 1982. He lasted for four seasons, through 1987, taking the CBA championship in his second year and winning the Coach of the Year award the year after. Jackson coached in Puerto Rico throughout his stint with the Patroons, before getting an assistant job for the Chicago Bulls in 1987. In 1989, he was offered the head coaching position. The rest, as they say, is history. Jackson led the Bulls to six NBA Championships, and then, later, brought the Los Angeles Lakers to five championships all of this was done while working with some of the best basketball players to ever play, including, Kobe Bryant and Michael Jordan.
HONERABLE MENTION: Derrick Chievous
Derrick Chievous played his college ball at Missouri, earning Second and Third All-America honors from the United Press and the Associated Press respectively, even getting his #3 retired at his alma mater, as well as a Missouri Sports Hall of Fame induction. Derrick then played some NBA hoops before joining the Patroons in 1991. After an Albany season, Derrick made his career elsewhere, even playing for and winning a championship with the Philippine dynasty the San Miguel Beermen in 1992 before bouncing around other places.
Based on my basketball knowledge, Phil Jackson was a coach like none other. Leading a team to ELEVEN championships is pretty amazing. All in all, as you can see, the Albany Patroons of The Basketball League have some truly great alumni. With that being said, I know I probably missed some, so feel free to reach out to me on Twitter @noah_arendsen, or reach out to any of the Globally Ballin' social media pages, we’d love to hear from you!
This piece was written by Noah Arendsen, a common contributor for Globally Ballin.
For more from this writer, be sure to follow him on twitter @noah_arendsen