Former Alabama quarterback Jay Barker and past Crimson Tide basketball players Ennis Whatley and Derrick McKey will be enshrined at the 47th annual banquet of the ASHOF. Additionally, the longtime Crimson Tide Sports Network broadcaster and executive, Tom Roberts, is the recipient of the 2015 Mel Allen Media Award.
Jay Barker, a Trussville native, led the 1992 Alabama squad to a national championship as a red-shirt sophomore. As a senior in 1994, he won the Johnny Unitas Golden Arm Award and was named All-American, All-Southeastern Conference, Academic All-America, and Academic All-SEC. He was chosen as the Southeastern Conference Player of the Year. The four-year letter winner (1991-94) was selected by The Birmingham News as the SEC Offensive Player of the Year, The Nashville Banner SEC Player of the Year, and the Touchdown Club of Atlanta Collegiate Player of the Year. He played briefly in the NFL for the Green Bay Packers, New England Patriots, and Carolina Panthers. He was also a member of the Toronto Argonauts of the Canadian Football League and finished his career with the Birmingham Thunderbolts of the XFL. Barker, one of four team captains as a senior, is the winningest starting quarterback by percentage (.934, 35-2-1) in school history.
Derrick McKey, Meridian, Miss., native was named the SEC Player of the Year and second team All-America (UPI) in 1987 and third team All-America (Associated Press and NABC). The 6-10 forward, a three-year letter winner and First Team All-SEC member, led the 1986-87 team in scoring (18.6 ppg) and rebounding (7.5 rpg). Alabama finished 28-5 (16-2 SEC, first), earning the highest NCAA Tournament seed in school history, No. 2. McKey and company won the conference regular season and tournament championship along with finishing 9th in the 1987 Final Associated Press Poll. He won a Gold Medal with the U.S. National Team at the 1986 FIBA Championship.
Drafted in the first round, fourth overall by the Seattle SuperSonics in 1987, he was named to the NBA All-Rookie Team (1988). Twice he was selected to the NBA All-Defensive Second Team (1995 and 1996). He played in the NBA between 1987-2002 for the Seattle Supersonics, Indiana Pacers, and Philadelphia 76ers scoring 10,266 points (11.0 ppg), grabbing 4,387 rebounds (4.7 rpg), and tallying 2,254 assists (2.4 apg). He appeared in the 2000 NBA Finals with the Indiana Pacers against the Los Angeles Lakers.
Ennis Whatley earned NABC second team All-America, Associated Press third team All-America, and was All-SEC in 1983. The two-year letter winner is the school's all-time career assist per game average leader at 6.32 and helped lead the Crimson Tide to the SEC Tournament championship as a freshman. He led the 1981-82 team to the NCAA Tournament, finishing 24-7 (12-6 SEC, 3rd). Bama reached the Sweet Sixteen and ranked 13th in final AP Poll. In the 1982-83 season as a sophomore, the Birmingham native topped the team in points per game (15.2), free throws made (121), free throw percentage (77.1), and steals (61). He was a McDonald's All-American, Basketball Weekly All-American, Street & Smith Magazine All-American and two-time Parade Magazine All-American coming out of high school.
He entered the NBA Draft after his sophomore season and was a first-round pick, 13th overall by the Kansas City Kings but traded on that day to the Chicago Bulls. The 6-3 point guard played 10 years in the NBA for seven teams – Chicago Bulls, Washington Bullets, Atlanta Hawks, Portland Trail Blazers, Cleveland Cavaliers, Los Angeles Clippers, and San Antonio Spurs Twice, as a member of the Chicago Bulls, he had 22 assists in one game. He averaged a season high 8.3 assists per game as a rookie. His best scoring year was 1986-1987 with the Washington Bullets, appearing in 73 games and averaged 8.5 points per game. For his career, he scored 2,150 points, averaging 5.6 per game and recorded 1,754 assists, 4.6 per game. Whatley appeared with the Portland Trailblazers in the 1992 NBA Finals against the Chicago Bulls. He played on a championship team for San Miguel in the Philippines and for Lithuania’s Zalginis in the European Cup.
McKey and Whatley become the 11th and 12th former Alabama basketball men (player or coach) to earn a spot in the state's Hall of Fame. They join by fellow former players James "Lindy" Hood (class of 1990), Leon Douglas (class of 1996), T.R. Dunn (class of 1997), Jerry Harper (class of 2001), Wendell Hudson (class of 2001), Reggie King (class of 2004), Buck Johnson (class of 2007). and Robert Horry (class of 2010), while former Alabama basketball coaches Wimp Sanderson (class of 1990) and C.M. Newton (class of 1993) also have been enshrined.
In addition to the former Crimson Tide athletes being honored, broadcaster Tom Roberts will be recognized with The Mel Allen Award, which was created to honor media members in the state who have made a lifetime contribution to sports through their work as a media member. The award is named after 1974 Hall of Fame Inductee Mel Allen from Birmingham who was known as the "Voice of the New York Yankees" for two decades.
Roberts worked for WVTM NBC 13 from 1972 to 1991 as a producer, assignment editor, assistant news director, and news and sports anchor/reporter and as news director. A graduate of The University of Alabama, he started his 36-year career with The University in 1979, gathering scores for the late John Forney and Doug Layton during radio broadcasts of Crimson Tide games. In 1994 he became the VP of Broadcasting for the Alabama Sports Network. He became the Director of Broadcasting for the Crimson Tide Sports Network from 1998 until his retirement earlier this year.
(Parts of this report were provided by UA media relations.)