SARATOGA COUNTY — At 4 p.m. on Sunday, May 20 at the Hilton Hotel in Troy, the Upstate New York Basketball Hall of Fame will be inducting 15 people into the basketball hall of fame. Four of the inductees are local to the Saratoga Springs area: Tim DeGregory, Carl Luciano, Dan Tallman, and Rich Johns.
Rich Johns, a long-time educator and coach at Saratoga Springs Central School District, is receiving the John Cahill Community Service Award.
“I’m honored by the induction. I’m looking forward to it. Johnny Cahill was one of the top referees in the country for years. I got the call and I sent a letter to a buddy of mine and I said, ‘I’m getting in, but not for my basketball skills,’” Johns laughed.
“I’m honored by it, community service has always meant so much to me, but to do it in this arena with so many athletes and coaches, what an honor,” Johns said.
Tim DeGregory, a former local player from Saratoga Central Catholic, now working in the IT industry, had a very successful basketball career via Spa Catholic and RPI.
“I had a pretty successful career at Spa Catholic playing basketball. I had very good seasons my junior and senior year. I went on to RPI where I played on the varsity team four years and was the leading scorer my junior and senior year of college. When I graduated, I was second on the all time scoring list,” DeGregory said, explaining some of his basketball accomplishments.
DeGregory and his wife, Brenda, have three children in the Saratoga Springs Central School District; Mira, Abby, and Andy.
“Mostly I want to thank my parents and brothers as well as various coaches, like Bob King at Spa Catholic, coach Griffin at RPI, and those that helped me along the way,” DeGregory said.
Dan Tallman is a former local player, playing at Saratoga Springs Central School District and Skidmore College.
“I was at a Spa Catholic game when Rene LeRoux had mentioned that they were going to put me in next year’s class, 2019, and then I got a call a few months later that a gentleman who was supposed to be inducted this year could no longer make it due to health reasons. So, they wanted to know if I wanted to get inducted this year,” Tallman explained.
Tallman played basketball his entire life; he was a center in high school, a forward in college, a threespot at the semi-pro level. He was also voted MVP his senior year at Saratoga Springs High School.
“My moms age is 82 and life has no guarantees. Mom would be very happy to see that, this is a proud moment for her. Without her, none of this is possible. She’s the best,” Tallman said of his mother, Mary Verns Tallman.
During college, Tallman attended Utica College his first year, then SUNY Adirondack for his sophomore year, “it’s still the best basketball year ACC ever had,” he explained.
He went back to Utica for his junior year and then finished his college career at Skidmore College under Damian Fantauzzi, his high school coach.
“He is actually the man who got me impassioned to play the game, he was my idol. I looked up to him and his word was gospel. I wanted to be just like coach,” Tallman said of Fantauzzi.
Carl Luciano has been refereeing for the last 25 years and still has plans to continue.
“I had done a Division III National Championship game back in 2013 in Atlanta, Georgia and I think Rene LeRoux was there for that and I think he’s gone to a lot of local games so throughout the years he’s seen me referee a lot of high profile games. I’ve been very fortunate to work a lot of high profile games and I’ve done a pretty good job on them. I haven’t been on ESPN for the wrong reasons,” Luciano laughed.
Luciano has been teaching second grade at Division Street School for the last 20 years and is an alumnus of Ballston Spa High School.
“It’s a great honor. Some of my former mentors are in there so it’s nice to be recognized even though I’m still currently a ref. Hopefully I still have a few years left. There are a lot of fellow referees that are just as good as me. I don’t think I’m better than any of them, I just think I’m fortunate enough to work a lot of the games that I’ve done. It takes a good person to be a referee,” Luciano said.