Year of Induction: 1967
Year of Graduation: 1954
Sports: Men’s Basketball
Palazzi joined the Crusaders in the fall of 1950, but as was the policy of the time, he spent his first year playing for the freshman team. In his first varsity season, Palazzi quickly become a fan favorite, as chants of “Let’s Go, Togo” were the new standard at home games.
His first two varsity seasons swathe Crusaders reach the quarterfinals of the NIT, and the Elite Eight of the NCAA tournament. In his senior season, Palazzi --along with fellow senior Ron Perry and sophomore Tom Heinsohn --led the Crusaders to their second national championship in less than a decade, as HC won the 1954 NIT title. Palazzi was named the Tournament’s most valuable player.
Along the way, Palazzi was writing his name into the Crusader record book with great frequency. Even today, he is just one of six players in school history to have ever averaged more than 20 points (20.4) for his entire HC career. Palazzi was also a force on the boards, graduating as the school’s top all-time rebounder with 1,086 in his career. And while that particular record would stand for just two years, his total has not been reached again.
After twice earning first team All-America honors, Palazzi was drafted by the Celtics in 1954. He spent six seasons in the NBA. He returned to his alma mater in the1970s, serving as an assistant to George Blarney for eight seasons, followed by a five-year stint as the head coach of the Crusader women’s basketball team.
SEASONHIGHLIGHTS Freshman Year (1950-51): Played for the freshmen team... Led the team in scoring (24.0 ppg)... Was the team’s top scorer in 14of the 21 games. Sophomore Year (1951-52): In his first varsity season, led HC in scoring with 370 points (13.7 ppg)... He hit 15 field goals against Springfield which broke the previous school mark of 14 set by Bob Cousy....Scored more than 30 points in a game twice, including 32points against Brown which was the third highest single-game output in Crusader history at that time. Junior Year (1952-53): Scored 593 points, eclipsing Bob Cousy’s school-record mark of 582 in 1950... Smashed Cousy’s record of 36 points in a game by scoring 47 against Brown on Feb. 14... Finished 10th in the nation in scoring...Earned numerous post-season honors including first team All-American and the UNICO Italian-American player of the year. Senior Year (1953-54): Broke his own school-record for points in a season with 670 (24.8 ppg)... Earned first team All-America honorsfor the second straight year.