Brothers Ray and Gary Aboff will be inducted to the Yeshiva High School Alumni Basketball Association (YABA) Hall of Fame on May 18, at Congregation Keter Torah in Teaneck.
Ray Aboff starred for JEC in the early ‘60s when they first gained entry into the Metropolitan Jewish Basketball League. After first playing for the MTA varsity team in his freshman year, and playing in the league finals in Madison Square Garden, he transferred to JEC at the beginning of his sophomore year.
The JEC varsity applied for admission into the league for the 1962—1963 season. Most of the league coaches believed JEC should first field a JV team. Jack Aboff, Ray’s father and the JEC coach, insisted that JEC play in the senior league immediately.
Led by sophomore Ray Aboff, JEC went on to defeat league powerhouses MTA and HILI in their first year. The JEC basketball program was “off and running” as was Ray’s highly successful basketball career.
Ray played in the league all-star game all three years that he started varsity at JEC. Ray became a prolific scorer in both the yeshiva league and New Jersey’s private school league. Ray scored a JEC and county record, 62 points against New Jersey powerhouse Rutgers Prep, in his junior year, eventually amassing a total of 1,740 points in his three varsity seasons at the JEC. At the time, it was also the record for career points in Union County, New Jersey.
Upon graduation Ray went on to play basketball for the legendary Red Sarachek at Yeshiva University. He started all four seasons. At an undersized 6 foot 3 inches tall, Ray battled much taller opposing centers and power forwards all four years of his career. After graduating Yeshiva University, Ray returned to coach JEC varsity basketball to two playoff appearances in his two years coaching.
Gary Aboff was a part of league and/or playoff championships all four years of his career.
He graduated the fifth all time leading scorer in New Jersey state history.
After graduating JEC in 1974, Gary Aboff became the starting small forward for the best ever Brandeis University freshmen team (1974-1975).
Gary was the starting shooting guard and defensive specialist his junior and senior years at Brandeis.
Brandeis went to the New England Division 3 championships two years in a row, finishing second in Gary’s junior year and first his senior year.
Gary was a member of the Brandeis team that almost pulled off, what would have been at the time, one of the greatest upsets in college basketball history. In 1977, Brandeis took top Division I team, Memphis State, to the wire on Memphis’s home court.
Gary Aboff had opportunities to continue his basketball career in Israel but chose to continue his education, receiving a master’s degree at Yale University.
Ray and Gary credit their father, Jack Aboff (a’h), a legendary athlete in his own right, with their basketball success. Jack Aboff was the driving force behind JEC’s entry into the yeshiva league over 50 years ago. He coached and taught his boys about basketball and living an Orthodox lifestyle in a secular world. Before there was a yeshiva in Elizabeth, New Jersey, Jack Aboff started at Jefferson High School (today’s Elizabeth High School) in numerous sports. He refused to play on Shabbat so the coaches scheduled games during the week to accommodate his observance. Jack Aboff is a member of the Elizabeth Basketball Hall of Fame. The Aboffs are proud to be inducted into YABA’s Hall of Fame following in their father’s footsteps.