I started attending Amsterdam High School basketball games during the final couple of games of Tim Kolodziej’s legendary career in 1964. I don’t think I missed an AHS home hoops game for the next eight years. It was in the fall of 1965 that I first remember seeing today’s Amsterdam Birthday Celebrant play. What I remember most about him was that John Favorito was a class act on the court, a tall, very talented center who played clean and hard on both offense and defense from buzzer to buzzer. He was just a junior that year but you could tell he knew how to play the game. He knew how to put the ball in the basket, averaging 12 points per contest that season and then 15 during his final year wearing the purple & gold.
He got most of his points close to the hoop but he also had a very nice shooting touch from the outside. The best part of his game however was his rebounding. He was ferociously good on the boards. If you wanted to teach your son or daughter how to box out an opponent on a rebound, a video of Favorito doing it against a much taller Sidney Edwards of Linton or Philip Schuyler’s Horne brothers would make the perfect teaching tool. I couldn’t find any season stats on rebounding from back then but it was not unusual for Favorito to pull down 20 in a game. He was a double-double machine long before double-doubles became a coveted stat. This guy made every area all-star team his senior season.
He continued playing basketball in college at Bridgeport and eventually became a director of a Winning Edge basketball program in Massachusetts. One thing I’m certain of is that when kids left one of his camps, they were better rebounders than they were when they arrived. John is retired now and living with his wife Felicia in South Carolina. I believe he’s heading north in the next few days and plans to attend the Bert DeRose Tribute being put on by the Amsterdam Waterfront Foundation on August 17th at Riverlink Park.