Holy Cross basketball owes an
enormous debt to Union City, N.J., as it produced not only Togo
Palazzi, but the man who just two years later would replace him as
the top scorer and rebounder in Crusader history - Tom
A graduate of St. Michael’s High School, Heinsohn, like Palazzi before him, spent his first year at HC leading the freshman team in scoring.
As a sophomore, Heinsohn was the final piece of the puzzle which led the Crusaders to the 1954 NIT Championship.
During the NIT Championship season, Heinsohn scored 444 points - the most-ever by a Crusader first-year varsity player. He was considered by many to be the nation’s top sophomore -- especially after scoring 45 points in the three NIT victories.
His junior and senior seasons were as dominant as any player in school history. He earned first-team All-America honors in both years, and was named the Sugar Bowl MVP as a junior.
He crossed the 1,000 career point plateau after just two years. He scored a school-record 740 points as a senior, passing Bob Cousy to become the Crusaders’ all-time leading scorer with 1789 points, despite playing just 81 career games.But while his scoring records have been surpassed, Heinsohn still reigns as the school’s greatest rebounder. He still holds the school marks for rebounds in a game, season and career. His 42 rebounds against Boston College as a senior is still 11 rebounds beyond the next highest Crusader total. His 569 rebounds that same season are nearly 150 more than any HC player before or since. And only two other Crusaders have ever exceeded 1,000 career rebounds -- but nether were even within 150 of Heinsohn’s career mark of 1,254. All this in just three years.
He was then chosen in the first round of the NBA draft by the Celtics in 1956. He was the 1957 NBA Rookie of the Year, and played on eight NBA Championship teams with the Celtics, and then coached the team to two more titles in the 1970’s. He was inducted into the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame in 1986.
Freshman Year (1952-53): Played for the freshmen team, leading the squad in scoring (17.6 ppg).
Sophomore Year (1953-54): Set a new HC scoring mark (444 points) for a first-year varsity player... His 10.7 rebounds per game were second only to senior co-captain Togo Palazzi... Was chosen to the All-Sugar Bowl team in his first month of varsity action, and capped his season by being named to the All-NIT team as he helped the Crusaders to the national championship.
Junior Year (1954-55): Led the team in scoring, rebounding, and assists en route to a first team All-America season... His 605 points were the second highest single-season total in school history.
Senior Year (1955-56): Set a new HC single-season scoring record with 740 points (27.4 ppg) and his scoring average was the 4th highest in the nation... Earned first team All-America honors... Served as team captain... Became the first Crusader in history to top the 50-point mark in a game (51 vs. BC).