Pittsburgh Basketball Hall of Fame honors Class of 2023



by Genea L. Webb

For New Pittsburgh Courier

The energy in the room was palatable as many of the region’s premier basketball players were inducted into the Pittsburgh Basketball Hall of Fame Class of 2023. The event was held, Feb. 3, at the Chartiers Country Club.

“I’m ecstatic to be inducted. It’s remarkable to be honored for your God-given skills. You can’t beat it,” explained Donald Yates, who graduated from Uniontown High School and the University of Minnesota. “I am happy and pleased to be inducted into the Hall of Fame. You never know when your blessings are going to come, I’m proud to be a part of this group and make my teammates proud of me. Without my team, family and friends, I wouldn’t be here today.”

Yates helped lead the Uniontown Red Raiders to a state championship in 1962. In that game, Yates scored 22 points.

In all, 18 players were inducted into the 2023 class. In addition to Yates, the inductees were: Valley High School and Robert Morris University’s Mark McCloud; Jeannette High School and West Virginia University’s Sidney Bostick; New Brighton High School and Kansas State’s  Hal Bentley; South Hills High School and Point Park University’s Larry Anderson; Aliquippa High School and DePaul’s Marvin Woods (who was not in attendance, but was represented by his sister); Clairton High School and Murray State’s James “Stew” Johnson; Avonworth High School and University of Virginia’s Don Bonner; Bishop Boyle High School and Duquesne University’s Ruben Montanez; Aliquippa High School and Iowa State’s Chad Calabria; South Hills Catholic Academy and Cornell’s Hank South; Bishop Canevin High School and Duquesne University’s Jack Wojdowski; Farrell High School and Pitt’s Brian Generalovich; Blackhawk High School and Ohio State’s Brandon Fuss-Cheatham; Belle Vernon and Robert Morris’ Tom Parks; Allegheny’s Mike Williams; Sto-Rox’s Larry Young; and the University of Pittsburgh’s Larry Harris.

Each inductee was given an award with their name inscribed and given time to speak to the audience.

“I love sports because they are fun to play and and they teach you life lessons you can use. I came to appreciate the game of basketball because it teaches you discipline,” explained Hal Bentley. He played guard and averaged 25 points during his senior year. He was the leading scorer in the WPIAL Championship in 1988. “From a young age, all of my relatives played basketball and I followed them around. I couldn’t wait ‘til I was old enough to start playing. It’s a great honor to be recognized for achievements.”

Inductee Sidney Bostick agreed with Bentley. “I began playing basketball because my two younger brothers also played,” Bostick said. “I also played football. Basketball was something I picked up. I started playing in my junior year of high school. I just played to be playing. It was a fun game and I enjoyed playing. When I got the call for this award, I thought it was a hoax. I’m truly honored and surprised to be among the best players in Pittsburgh.”

James “Stew” Johnson saw the induction into the Pittsburgh Basketball Club Hall of Fame as one of the best honors of his career.

“I was always in the mood and ready to play basketball. Clairton was a small town but it had a sports culture,” Johnson said. “Basketball has pretty much been life. I thank the PBC for this honor and especially with the group of people (with whom) I was inducted.”

Johnson, who has been living in Sweden for the last 30 years, played 76 games at Murray State and played his entire professional basketball career in the ABA.

McCloud was a three-year starter at Robert Morris University. He played in the 1983 NCAA Tournament at the school, a team that advanced to the second round. “I can’t thank John (Giammarco, Pittsburgh Basketball Club director) enough for this award. I’m honored, humbled and blessed to be a part of this class,” McCloud said.

Anderson attributes his love for the game of basketball to the court that was located across from his home.

“I was 10 years old when I started playing,” Anderson said. “I would go to the court after school and rain or shine I would be there every day. My parents knew I was there and and they didn’t have to worry about where I was,” Anderson said. “I am grateful to be given this award and be inducted into the Hall of Fame.”

Giammarco founded the Pittsburgh Basketball Club in 1994. “This is the greatest collection of basketball talent that we’ve put under one roof,” he said. “This is basketball royalty. It’s an honor. Every February I look out and see new faces. Years ago, I listened to the radio and it made me love this game. It is beyond my wildest to have you all here and I thank all of you.”







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