Wayne McCoy, a 6-foot-11 center from New York, was the next big man since Lew Alcindor. He was a native of Bayside, Queens, New York, where he enhanced his basketball skills.
McCoy was 6-foot-8 as an eighth grader, and college coaches were looking at him. Reverend Edward Visscher, who was the head coach at Long Island Lutheran, and Ernie Pflug advised McKoy to consider going to Long Island Lutheran High School in Brookville, New York. McKoy followed their advice and decided to attend Long Island Lutheran High School.
During his tenure at Lutheran, he received his first college recruitment letter before he played on the varsity team. As a junior NBA scout, I expressed interest in the big guy and became a dominant factor for Lutheran. As a senior, he led Lutheran to a 17-1 record and scored 70 points in a single game that same season.
McCoy played for the famous Riverside Church Hawks AAU program and was part of the traveling team to Europe, including a trip to the Soviet Union as a freshman in high school. In his high school career, McCoy averaged 24.9 points and 13.2 rebounds per game. He was recruited by approximately 300 colleges during his high school career. In addition, he was on the 1977 McDonald’s All-American team.
He decided to play his college basketball at St. John’s under the legendary Lou Carnesecca. He teamed up with Reggie Carter, who transferred from Hawaii. McCoy and Carter were teammates at Lutheran High School.
At St. John’s, he got off to a slow start in his freshman year. Then, as a sophomore, he led the Redmen to the 1979 Eastern Regional Finals while averaging 14.9 points and 7.7 rebounds per game. In his senior season, he was tutored by New York Knicks legend Willis Reed, who volunteered as an assistant coach at St. John’s. He became All-Big-East in 1980 and 1981, and he has 1,536 points, 824 rebounds, and 164 blocks in his career at St. John’s.
After his career at St. John’s, McCoy had a stellar career in Europe. McCoy is still a legend at Lutheran, and he put the program on the basketball map. He had some highlight moments in the 1979 NCAA tournament run and made a clutch shot against Rutgers with five seconds left. I always admire Wayne’s toughness in the paint. We honor him for his contributions to the New York City basketball community.
Photo Credit – St. John’s University