Nov. 16, 2007
The man who made the skyhook into an art form, the "Founding Fathers" and a former Major League Baseball most valuable player are among 12 former coaches and players to be honored at induction ceremonies for the National Collegiate Basketball Hall of Fame on Sunday, November 18.
The ceremony will be held at the new College Basketball Experience (CBE) in Kansas City, Mo. The CBE, which will cover more than 40,000 square feet on two floors and will provide a fun, memorable and multi-faceted interactive experience for fans, shares a common lobby with the new Sprint Center Arena and is the home of the National Collegiate Basketball Hall of Fame.
UCLA's Kareem Abdul Jabbar, one of basketball's most talented and recognizable figures with his trademark skyhook, will be recognized as a member of the National Collegiate Basketball Hall of Fame's founding class. The former UCLA star and two-time national player of the year helped the Bruins to a record of 88-2 and three straight NCAA championships. He retired from the NBA as the league's all-time leader in nine statistical categories, including points scored. He was inducted into the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame in 1995.
UCLA standout Bill Walton will introduce Abdul-Jabbar during the enshrinement ceremonies. The UCLA basketball team, which has reached the semifinals of the CBE Classic, will attend the pre-ceremony reception.
Other players to be inducted include Dick Groat, a two-time All-America basketball player at Duke University in 1951 and 1952, who went on to star in major league baseball and was the National League's most valuable player in 1962 with the Pittsburgh Pirates; three-time Tennessee State All-America Dick Barnett, who won two National Basketball Association (NBA) titles with the New York Knicks; and Notre Dame star Austin Carr, the 1971 national player of the year, who averaged 41.3 points in NCAA tournament games and holds five tournament records.
The coaches to be inducted include Missouri's Norm Stewart, who guided the Tigers for 32 seasons, including 16 NCAA tourney berths and eight regular season Big 8 championships; Guy Lewis, the University of Houston coach who led his teams to five Final Four berths and championship games in 1983 and 1984; and Charles "Lefty" Driesell, who coached four different teams to 786 wins over his 41 seasons as a head coach and led all four programs to the NCAA championship tournament.
Vic Bubas, who has been credited with pioneering the art of recruiting while head coach at Duke University, will be inducted as a contributor. Bubas also served as chairman of the NCAA men's basketball tournament committee and was the Sun Belt Conference's first commissioner, a post he held for 14 years.
Coaches Forrest "Phog" Allen, John McLendon, Adolph Rupp and Henry Iba, the "Founding Fathers" of college basketball, will also be recognized and remembered as members of the hall's founding class.
Allen, whose efforts led to the formation of the NABC, coached for 48 seasons, including 39 at Kansas, and is the oldest coach, at 66, to win a NCAA championship. He was also instrumental in having basketball accepted as an Olympic sport.
McLendon was one of college basketball's leading ambassadors and was instrumental in integrating the game. He was the first coach to guide a team to three consecutive national championships, as his Tennessee State team won NAIA titles in 1957, 1958 and 1959.
Rupp, the "Baron of the Bluegrass", coached the University of Kentucky to five NCAA championships and won 27 Southeastern Conference titles. Rupp's 876 career victories was the benchmark for college coaches.
Iba's teams at Oklahoma A&M (State) won NCAA championships in 1945 and 1946 and he coached the United States men's Olympic team to two gold medals. An innovator in basketball, his swinging gate defense has been widely used throughout the years.
The founding class of the National Collegiate Basketball Hall of Fame includes all of the coaches, players and contributors who have been inducted into the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame in Springfield, Mass.
In November, 2006, the inaugural class of the National Collegiate Basketball Hall of Fame, all founding class members, included John Wooden, national player of the Year at Purdue and legendary coach at UCLA; former University of North Carolina coach Dean Smith, who entered the 2006-07 season as the all-time leader in career wins; Cincinnati's Oscar Robertson, generally regarded as the game greatest all-around player; consummate defender and team player Bill Russell, who led San Francisco to back-to-back NCAA championships; and Dr. James Naismith, the inventor of the great game of basketball.