Tom Stith, a prolific scoring small forward who led St. Bonaventure to its first NCAA tournament berth in 1961 and later played for the Knicks, died after a lengthy battle with cancer and kidney problems. He was 71.
Stith died Sunday at a Long Island hospital, his daughter, Karin Stith, said Tuesday.
Born in Virginia, Stith and his family relocated to New York, where he became a high school star at St. Francis Prep before turning the Bonnies into a powerhouse a half-century ago. He is regarded as the Bonnies' second-best player behind Bob Lanier.
From 1958 to 1961, Stith led the Bonnies to a combined 65-12 record and three postseason berths, including two NIT appearances.
At 6-foot-5, he had "a silky smooth" playing style with a near-perfect lefthanded scoring touch, and was regarded as one of the top high school players to ever come out of the city.