Tripucka grew up in Bloomfield, New Jersey and was a three-year starter from 1974-1977 for the Bloomfield High School boy's basketball team. Twice named to first team all-state. In three varsity seasons, he scored 2,278 points, including 1,045 during his senior campaign. His jersey number 42 was retired by Bloomfield High School.
In 2000, the Star-Ledger named Tripucka the "New Jersey Boy's Basketball Player of the Century".
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