NEW YORK – Corey Stokes first heard about it from a kid on a Philadelphia playground, who asked whether he was the guy who scored 105 points in a summer-league game.
Villanova coach Jay Wright heard about it from reporters while coaching with USA Basketball, then immediately called his school’s compliance department to make sure the game was legit.
Everyone else, it seems, heard about it from a friend of a friend – or through Twitter, chat rooms, the blogosphere. Could it be true that Corey Fisher, the senior who’s spent virtually his entire career in the shadow of Scottie Reynolds, really dropped 105 points in a single game?
“I don’t know. When it was all said and done, I had 105,” Fisher said bashfully earlier this week, before his No. 7 Wildcats knocked off UCLA on Wednesday night to reach the finals of the NIT Season Tip-Off. They’ll play No. 24 Tennessee for the title tonight.
“It was at a pro-am league in the summer,” Fisher continued. “Top high school guys played, some guys in college, NBA dudes, and it was just a good tournament.”
New York City has produced plenty of playground legends, from Earl “The Goat” Manigault and Nate “Tiny” Archibald, to Ron Artest’s exploits at Dyckman Park, to the nameless, faceless players who have honed their games at Rucker Park over the years.
But it’s always been difficult to separate fact from fiction.
Box scores and accurate records are rarely kept during summer-league games, and there’s no video evidence of Fisher’s virtuoso performance. Even he can’t remember the team he was playing (it was called GymRatsNYC) or the guy who failed so miserably in guarding him.
By the time Fisher scored the final basket in his team’s 138-130 victory, he had smashed the league record of 63 points set by former Cincinnati star Kenny Satterfield. He had bettered what is thought to be the New York City summer-league record of 100, set by Fly Williams in 1978.
The performance landed Fisher a comic-book like spread in Sports Illustrated, and he’s become something of a cult icon on the same New York City playgrounds where he grew up. He still smiles when chatting about his memorable game, but he also said it’s become a burden.
“It was a good feeling, a lot of people still talk about it,” Fisher said, “but if I have a bad game, people are really telling me about it.”