SportsHigh SchoolBoys Basketball
Manhasset coach George Bruns has fond memories of Coliseum
- Bruns played there with the ABA Nets in the 1972-73 season and now is returning with the Indians, who are competing for the Long Island/Southeast Regional Class A championship.
By Roger Rubin
Updated March 9, 2019 3:50 AM
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The rise of the Manhasset boys basketball team has been one of the feel-good stories on Long Island this season. Having improved from 9-10 a year ago to 19-3, and having won only their second Nassau title in 22 years, the Indians — led by 73-year-old coach George Bruns — will face Wyandanch on Sunday night at NYCB Live’s Nassau Coliseum in the Long Island/ Southeast Regional Class A championship game.
For Bruns, walking into Long Island’s basketball cathedral will be filled with nostalgia and memories. It will be the first time he’s been in the building for a basketball event in more than 45 years.
The Coliseum, you see, was home for the most exciting time in his basketball life: when he played for the 1972-73 New York Nets of the ABA, coached by Lou Carnesecca.
“Things happen in funny ways, but I expect that it will jog a lot of great memories for me,” Bruns said during an interview at the Floral Park home he and his wife, Elene, have shared since 1970. “I wasn’t there long but, for my time in basketball, it was great times.”
What has paved Bruns’ road back to the Coliseum is a scrappy team of overachievers who dedicated themselves to making the most of this season in the wake of last season’s disappointment. The Indians competed together in summer leagues at Hofstra, in Hicksville and in Hempstead and bought into Bruns’ vision for what it would take to be winners.
“They are one of those teams where the whole is greater than the sum of their parts,” he said. “I am proud of them, but they should be proud of themselves . . . They find a way to win on the day they play.”
Long road to Coliseum
It was a much more circuitous route to the Coliseum the first time. Bruns was the late-blooming, fundamentally sound point guard at the since-repurposed St. Augustine Diocesan High School in his native Brooklyn. He was a walk-on at Manhattan College and ultimately improved into a starter who would, as a senior, make the 1966 all-Metropolitan team.
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Bruns, George [MC1966]