Reading High point guard Alan Tyson was “my guy.” He was the player who meant everything to me. It was all or bust … Alan Tyson or nothing. When I say “my guy,” I don’t mean we were friends or I admired him or we were tight or anything like that.
I just had to beat him. Just had to or nothing else really meant anything … basketball-wise. Alan Tyson was so tough, so strong, so quick. He was chiseled, could hound on defense and was able to knock down mid-range and/or get by you.
Alan Tyson did something to me that we didn’t have a description for at the time. At least as far as I can remember. Alan Tyson “big-boyed” me. The problem I had with Alan was that he didn’t need to get to the basket to beat me. He could “stop and gather” with me on his side and it then was over. He was just too strong.
I hung tough with Alan, I really did, but when it all mattered most, and it was the biggest game of our lives up until that point … Alan Tyson SHUT ME DOWN. Can remember the details like it was yesterday: Full-house at Governor Mifflin Intermediate; Reading High 55, Holy Name 40. Steinmetz: 2-for-11 from the field.
It was the Berks County semifinal, but everyone knew it was really the Final. I love you, Ted Snyder, at Kutztown, but the winner of our game was beating you guys and you know it! Kutztown had beaten Brandywine or Fleetwood, I can’t even remember, but they were in the other division.
RHS had so many terrific point guards and Alan was one of them. Tony Bonnano, Pete Wawrzonek, Cliff Durham, Tony Jankans, Rick Binder to name some. My senior year we went into Geigle Complex (for my west coast friends … one of the greatest high school gyms in the country) and beat Reading. Alan had a stretch where he took over, though, and Terry Bickhart of the Reading Eagle wrote:
“Tyson went on a drive that would have made Mario Andretti envious.” And I remember the drive like it was yesterday because I was there, looking at the back of Tyson’s jersey. It’s now 40 years later and I still think the same thing today as I thought after my senior season: Alan Tyson should have been Player of the Year in Berks County in 1981-82. He was the best player on the best team. Case closed.
Here’s to Alan Tyson … a truly respected rival.