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Basketball: Cetnar helped UAlbany make transition to DI

Monday, July 14, 2014
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— Even though he was often the go-to player at every level of his successful basketball career, Todd Cetnar never dreamed of being a Hall of Famer.

Now, he’s been inducted into two different Halls of Fame in the same year.

Named to the University at Albany Athletic Hall of Fame last fall, Cetnar joined the Capital District Basketball Hall of Fame at Sunday’s sixth annual awards banquet at the Troy Hilton Garden Inn.

The 36-year-old Amsterdam High School product graduated as the all-time leader in nearly every category for the Rugged Rams in 1996. He scored 1,621 points and was also the team’s all-time leader in assists, steals and games played.

Cetnar, known for his sharp perimeter shooting as a lead guard, then became an integral part of the UAlbany program that was in the midst of elevating to the Division I level. He played three seasons of DII competition before becoming the catalyst on the Great Danes’ first DI team competing as an independent in 1999-2000.

“Nobody expected us to win a game that year,” Cetnar recalled. “But we surprised a lot of people. I think some teams took us lightly because we were an independent back then.”

Led by Cetnar, the Great Danes posted an 11-17 record in their initial Division I campaign. Cetnar was the captain of the final DII team, as well as the inaugural DI group.

With UAlbany, Cetnar finished 11th on the all-time scoring list with 1,345 points. He is still among the school’s top-10 in three-point field goals made (215, fifth), three-point field goals attempted (500, fifth), three-point field goal percentage (.391, 10th), free throws made (302, ninth), free throw percentage (.816, third) and steals (168, second).

Cetnar went on to play five years of professional basketball in Europe.

“I played in the top league in the United Kingdom,” Cetnar said. “I played for the Plymouth Raiders for the first two years, and that was my favorite time. I won a league championship with them, was named captain and was also player of the year. My wife and I still go back to Plymouth once a year to see my old friends and teammates.”

Cetnar also played for the Sutton Pumas and the Thames Valley Tigers. He ended up playing in nine countries over those five years.

After retiring in 2005, Centar became a pharmecutical representative for Daiichi Sankyo and is now a regional director for Zoll Medical supplies. He lives in Milton, Mass., where he continues to play recreation basketball twice a week.

“When I was little, I used to think about winning championships and scoring points, but I never ever thought about being inducted into a Hall of Fame,” he said. “When I got the call, I was very surprised and very excited. This is a great honor.”

Among Cetnar’s large support contingent at the dinner were his wife and his father, Rick, the former Amsterdam High School basketball coach who got Todd started in the game.

Former Siena player, head coach and athletic director Bill Kirsch, former Mont Pleasant High School and NYU standout Don Blaha, who also was a longtime coach at Notre Dame-Bishop Gibbons, and former Linton star and Syracuse player Jim Seaman were also among the headliners.

Also inducted were the late Al DeSantis, sports editor of the now defunct Union Star, former Watervliet High School and Siena women’s head coach Joe Hogan, player/referee/coach Bill Stanley from Amsterdam, former Saratoga Springs/Springfield College standout Buddy Clarke, Eric Taylor (Shaker/Cornell), Brian Larrabee (Colonie, Southern New Hampshire), Mike Van Schaick (Glens Falls, Fairfield), Bobby Sherlock (Catholic Central, Cincinnati) and top scout Tom Konchalski.

 
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