Newspaper article The Record (Bergen County, NJ)

Former Basketball Star Rucker Is Still Playing a Big Role

Newspaper article The Record (Bergen County, NJ)

Former Basketball Star Rucker Is Still Playing a Big Role

Article excerpt

Greg Rucker played an integral role in one of the greatest upsets in Bergen County Jamboree history. Now, instead of being a teacher on the court, he has a vital role in helping to educate young children on the value of traffic safety.

Rucker grew up in Teaneck, basically spending a good deal of his spare hours competing in basketball and baseball leagues "all day and all night long."

One of his biggest influences as a youth was the legendary Lou Schwartz, who was the founder of the Teaneck Baseball Organization and president of the Teaneck Northern Little League. Schwartz, a former councilman in the town and a Navy veteran of World War II, is still going strong at 103-years-old as an important contributing member of the Teaneck Garden Club.

When Rucker started high school he decided to go to Bergen Catholic, following in his brother Rick's footsteps, who began attending the Oradell school two years earlier than Greg, in 1972.

After a freshman season in which he did not play much, Rucker transferred to St. Cecilia High School in Englewood, for his sophomore season in 1975-76. At the same time his brother also transferred in for his senior year to play under coach Ralph Passante.

During his sophomore year, Rucker mostly was on the junior varsity team while his brother was a standout for the varsity. But Rucker blossomed when he grew five inches from 6 feet 1 to 6-6 before his senior season in 1977-78, and the slim 175-pounder turned into one of the best all-around competitors and outside shooters in the county.

Bolstered by stalwarts as 6-4 center Warren Moore, sophomore guard Tommy Gallagher, senior forward Mike LaRaia, 6-5, 240-pound front courter Peter Zoch and Dwight Morrow transfer Tyrone Crooke, the Saints became a force.

In fact, St. Cecilia was able to qualify as the 16th seed for the Jamboree in 1978 and had a first-round matchup against top-seeded Bergen Catholic set for a Sunday night in mid-February at Hackensack High School. …

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