Basketball Hall of Fame Announces 2004 Finalists

Jerry Colangelo and Johnny "Red" Kerr were each named as one of the sixteen finalists that are up for induction into the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame on September 10, 2004.

SPRINGFIELD, MA., February, 15, 2004 - Clyde Drexler, named one of the top 50 players in NBA history as a member of the Portland Trail Blazers and Houston Rockets, University of Connecticut coach Jim Calhoun, the winningest coach in New England basketball history and Lynette Woodard, the former Kansas All-America who is the all-time leading scorer in women's collegiate history, highlight the list of 16 finalists for election into the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame on September 10, 2004.

The complete list of finalists includes ten candidates from the North American Screening Committee - players Drexler, Bobby Jones, the late Gus Johnson, Bernard King and Chet Walker, coaches Calhoun, Gene Keady and Bill Sharman, contributors Jerry Colangelo and Dick Vitale. Two candidates each comprise finalists from the Women's Screening Committee - coach Harley Redin and player Woodard - International Screening Committee - players Drazen Dalipagic from the former Yugoslavia and Hortencia Marcari from Brazil - and the Veterans Screening Committee, contributor John Kerr and the late player Maurice Stokes.

The Class of 2004 will be announced on Monday, April 5 at a news conference in San Antonio, Texas, prior to the NCAA Men's Championship Game. A finalist needs 18 of 24 votes from the Honors Committee for election into the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame. Drexler and Woodard are finalists in their first year of eligibility. Calhoun, King, Vitale, Kerr, Stokes and Marcari are first-time finalists. The remaining finalists have been previously considered by the Honors Committee in past years.

JIM CALHOUN, a native of Braintree, Massachusetts, developed Northeastern University into a regional power and has revitalized the University of Connecticut into a national power. In 32 seasons as a college coach, Calhoun has won more than 665 games, best in New England history. He is one of 26 coaches in history with more than 600 wins and currently ranks eighth among active coaches. In 1999, Calhoun led UConn to the NCAA national championship over Duke, making the Huskies only the second team in New England history to capture the title. He had previously led the Huskies to the 1988 NIT title. A four-time Big East Coach of the Year selection, Calhoun has led UConn to 16 consecutive post season tournaments (11 NCAA, 5 NIT). The Huskies have appeared in the NCAA Elite Eight five times in eight years and "Sweet 16" nine times in the last 14 years. Calhoun has coached UConn to eight Big East titles and five Big East Tournament Championships. Named consensus National Coach of the Year in 1990 following a 31-6 season, Calhoun has also been named New England Coach of the Year three times and Big East Coach of the Year four times, most in conference history. While at Northeastern, Calhoun turned those Huskies into a regional power, leading the school to five NCAA Tournaments.

JERRY COLANGELO, a native of Chicago Heights, Illinois, has been involved in basketball since earning All-State selection honors at Bloom Township (IL.) High School in 1957 and then becoming an All-Conference selection at the University of Illinois in 1961 and 1962. Colangelo's professional career began in 1966 when he was named head scout and sales/promotion manager of the expansion Chicago Bulls. Two years later, in 1968, he was named general manager of the expansion Phoenix Suns. At age 28, he was the youngest general manager in professional sports. Now the CEO and Chairman of the Phoenix Suns, Colangelo has been named NBA Executive of the Year four times (1976, 1981, 1989, 1993) and oversees a club that, over the last 23 years, is the fifth winningest franchise in the NBA. During Colangelo's tenure as President and CEO of the Suns (1987-99), the club advanced to the NBA Finals in 1976 and 1993.

Under Colangelo's leadership, the Suns drafted Georgi Glouchkov of Bulgaria in 1985, making him the first player from behind the iron curtain to sign an NBA contract. In 1988, the Suns played the Utah Jazz in Japan, the first time that NBA teams played regular season games outside of North America. Colangelo is a member of the NBA's Board of Governors (1968 - present), on the NBA Expansion Committee and Chairman of the Competition and Rules Committee. He was instrumental in helping found the WNBA.

CLYDE DREXLER, a native of New Orleans, LA., enjoyed an electric collegiate career at the University of Houston where he became the only player in school history to accumulate 1,000 points, 900 rebounds and 300 steals. A first-team All-America in 1983, he led the Cougars to the 1982 and 1983 Final Four. Selected 14th in the 1983 NBA draft by the Portland Trail Blazers, Drexler was a nine-time All-Star with Portland (1983-95) and the Houston Rockets (1995-98) and upon retirement in 1998 was one of only three players in NBA history to collect 20,000 points, 6,000 rebounds and 6,000 assists. He is the leading scorer (18,040), rebounder (5,339) and steals leader (1,795) in Portland history. Selected as one of the 50 greatest players in NBA history in 1997, Drexler earned All-NBA First-Team honors in 1992, was a Second Team selection in 1988, 1991 and a Third Team choice in 1990, 1995. He led the Trail Blazers to the NBA Finals in 1990 and 1992 and won an NBA championship with the Houston Rockets in 1995. Drexler finished his career with 22,195 career points (20.4 ppg), 24th best in history. He was a member of the 1992 Dream Team that won the Gold Medal in Barcelona.

BOBBY JONES, a native of Akron, Ohio, enjoyed success at the collegiate and professional level at the University of North Carolina (1970-74), with the ABA/NBA Denver Nuggets (1974-78) and the Philadelphia 76ers (1979-1986). At UNC, Jones led the Tar Heels to a berth in the 1972 NCAA Final Four. He was a member of the silver-medal winning Olympic Team in 1972. In his final season at Chapel Hill, Jones was named a Second Team All-America by AP and UPI. Jones began his professional career as a member of the ABA's All-Rookie Team (1975), and thrived throughout his 12-year ABA/NBA career on defense. The 6-foot-9, 210 pound Jones was a two-time ABA All-Defensive Team selection and was chosen All-NBA Defensive First Team selection from 1977 to 1984. He was a Second Team choice in 1985. In 1983, Jones helped lead the 76ers to the NBA championship and also earned the NBA's Sixth Man Award. He played in four NBA All-Star Games (1977, 1978, 1981, 1982).

GUS JOHNSON, a native of Akron, Ohio was a devastating force at the power forward position. Johnson's ability to score, pass, and rebound made the Baltimore Bullets a perennial title contender from the mid 1960s to the early 1970s. Johnson, who entered the league following one year at the University of Idaho in 1963, spent nine of his 11 pro seasons with the Bullets. Nicknamed "Honeycomb" for his sweet play, Johnson was a four-time All-NBA Second Team selection (1965, '66, '70, '71), a two-time All-Defensive First Team selection (1970, '71), and was a member of the 1964 NBA All-Rookie team. With the Akron, OH, native on the roster, the Bullets reached the playoffs six times and advanced to the NBA finals in 1970-71 (4-0 loss to Milwaukee). Statistically, Johnson averaged a double-double (17.1 ppg and 12.7 rpg) in 581 career NBA games. Following his nine years with Baltimore, Johnson spent one year in Phoenix, and then joined the ABA's Indiana Pacers for the 1972-73 season. In his final year of pro basketball, Johnson's spirited play helped the Pacers win the 1973 ABA championship. The Washington Bullets retired his jersey number 25 in 1986. On April 29, 1987, Johnson passed away after being diagnosed with an inoperable brain tumor.

GENE KEADY, a native of Larned, KS., has coached 23 seasons at Purdue University, where he has won nearly 500 games and led the Boilermakers to six Big Ten Championships (1984, '87, '88, 1994-96). The winningest coach in Purdue history, Keady has coached his teams to 21 post season appearances in 23 years, including five trips to the "Sweet Sixteen" and two trips to the Elite Eight. A National Coach of the Year selection four times in his career, Keady has led Purdue to an AP top ten finish six times. Keady began his collegiate coaching career at Hutchinson Junior College where he won 80 percent of his games and led the school to five appearances in the NJCAA tournament. He was an assistant at Arkansas for four seasons before being named head coach at Western Kentucky (1978-80).

BERNARD KING, a native of Brooklyn, New York, starred at the University of Tennessee before embarking on a 14-year NBA career where he would become one of the league's most prolific scorers (19,655 points). King, who led the SEC in scoring as a sophomore, junior and senior, finished his career as Tennessee's second all-time scorer (1,962 points) in just three seasons. A Second-Team All-America in 1975 and 1976, he was the seventh overall pick in the 1977 draft by the New Jersey Nets. King would play with the Nets, Utah Jazz, Golden State Warriors, New York Knicks and Washington Bullets, enjoying his most success in New York and Washington. He was a four-time NBA All-Star (1982, 1984, 1985, 1991), a First-Team selection in 1984 and 1985, a second team choice in 1982 and third team in 1991. In the 1984-85 season he lead the NBA in scoring (32.9) and averaged 22.5 points a game in 14 seasons. He was an All-Rookie selection in (1978) and the NBA's Comeback Player of the Year (1981). He posted back-to-back 50 point games in the 1984-85 season.

BILL SHARMAN, a native of Abilene, Texas, was enshrined into the Basketball Hall of Fame as a player in 1976. He is a finalist to join John Wooden and Lenny Wilkens as members of the Hall of Fame as both a player and a coach. Sharman is the only coach in history to win a championship and be named Coach of the Year in three different leagues - with the ABL's Cleveland Pipers (1962), the ABA's Los Angeles Stars (1970, co-Coach of the Year) and Utah Stars (1971, ABA champions) and the NBA's Los Angeles Lakers (1972). In the 1972 season, Sharman led the Lakers to a 69-13 record, including an NBA record 33-game winning streak. In 11 seasons coaching in the ABL, ABA and NBA, Sharman compiled a regular season record of 509-379 and a post season record of 62-42. His combined ABA/NBA record of 466-353 is 19th best in history and his 333 NBA victories (87 with the San Francisco Warriors) is 34th best in history.

DICK VITALE, a native of Passaic, NJ., has been synonymous with college basketball for more than 20 years as the lead color announcer for ESPN. A successful coach at the high school (East Rutherford), collegiate (University of Detroit) and professional (Detroit Pistons) levels, Vitale began his broadcasting career with ESPN in 1979 and has helped make the network an integral part of college basketball's popularity. His enthusiastic, upbeat style has resulted in a lexicon of now-familiar phrases as "Get a TO," "Awesome, Baby," and "PTPer." An author of six books chronicling his love affair with basketball, Vitale was recipient of the Basketball Hall of Fame's Curt Gowdy electronic media award (1988) and won the NABC Cliff Wells Appreciation Award in 2000.

CHET WALKER, a native of Benton Harbor, MI., was a Sporting News First-Team All-America at Bradley University (196, 24.4 ppg, 12.8 rpg) and led the Braves to a 69-14 record, a mark that included two trips to the NIT and the 1960 NIT title. Walker graduated as Bradley's all-time scorer (1,975) and rebounder (1,036) and then embarked on a 13-year professional career with the Syracuse Nationals, Philadelphia 76ers and Chicago Bulls. During his NBA career, Walker averaged 18.2 ppg and 7.1 rpg. Named to the NBA's All-Rookie team in 1963, Walker was a seven-time NBA All-Star (1964, 1966, 1967, 1970, 1971, 1973, 1974). He helped lead the Philadelphia 76ers, considered one of the best teams in NBA history, to the 1967 NBA title. A member of the NBA playoffs all 13 pro seasons, Walker missed only 21 games in 13 seasons and when he retired in 1975 was only the eighth player in NBA history to play in more than 1,000 games. He retired ranked among the NBA's best in four of 10 categories, including scoring (10th, 18,831) and field goals made (9th, 6,384).

HARLEY REDIN, a native of Plainview, Texas, spent a total of 25 years coaching the men's (1948-57) and women's (1955-73) teams at Wayland Baptist. In 18 years as the women's coach, Redin's teams posted a 431-66 record, a mark that included six AAU National Championships (1956, '57, '59, '61, '70, '71), two undefeated seasons: (23-0 in 1955-56 and 29-0 in 1956-57), a 76-game winning streak from 1955-58 and 17 top-five AAU finishes. In addition to building the foundation for the winningest collegiate women's basketball program in history - Wayland Baptist entered the 2001-2002 season as the only women's team to win more than 1,000 games (1,352-356) - Redin's female players have won AlI-America recognition 65 times and 32 of those players were named to U.S. National Teams.

LYNETTE WOODARD, a native of Wichita, KS., enjoyed a phenomenal basketball career at the scholastic, collegiate and international level. She was a three-time All-State selection at Wichita North H.S., and led her school to state championships in 1975 and 1977. A national All-America in 1977, Woodard attended Kansas University where she ended her career as a four-time All-America and the leading scorer in the history of women's basketball with 3,649 points (26 ppg, 12 rpg). A four-time All-Big 8 selection, Woodard dominated the women's game, leading the nation in scoring in 1979, rebounding in 1978 and steals in 1979, 1980, 1981. Woodard was MVP of the Big 8 Tournament in 1979, 1980 and 1981, and was later named the conference Player of the Decade. She scored in double figures in 138 of 139 career games at Kansas and became the first female member of the school's athletic Hall of Fame. On the international level, Woodard was a member of the 1980 Olympic Team and co-captained the Gold Medal Olympic team in 1984. She also earned a Gold Medal at the World University Games in 1979. Woodard played international basketball in the Italian League where she led the league in scoring in 1982 and 1989 and led Eni-Chem of Priolo to the Italian national championship in 1989. Woodard earned notoriety in 1985 when she became the first female ever to play for the Harlem Globetrotters. She played two professional seasons with the WNBA's Cleveland Rockers and Detroit Shock.

DRAZEN DALIPAGIC, a native of Mostar, Yugoslavia was the premier International point guard of his era, playing for Partizan in the former Yugoslavia and in the Italian League. Dalipagic, who was named the European Player of the Year in 1977, 1978 and 1980, earned 12 medals in European, World and Olympic competition. His four medals in the World Championships (Silver, 1974; Gold, 1978; Bronze, 1982 and 1986) are FIBA records. Dalipagic won three Gold Medals in the European Championships (1973, '1975 and 1977), second in history to Hall of Famer Sergei Belov of the Soviet Union. A member of the Gold Medal winning Yugoslavian Olympic Team in 1980, the high-scoring guard averaged 33.7 points per game in seven seasons playing for Partizan during the 1986-87 season. While playing for Reyer Venice, Dalipagic set the single game scoring record with 70 points. He also scored 50 points in the 1978 European Korac Cup title game and continued his offensive prowess in Italy, playing for Reyer Venice and APU Udine. During his Italian playing career, Dalipagic scored 50 points in a game 15 times and led both the A-1 and A-2 League in scoring. He holds the Italian playoff career scoring average record, 34.7 ppg.

HORTENCIA MARCARI, a native of Potirendaba, Spain, is widely regarded as one of the finest women's players in International basketball history. As a member of the Brazillian National Team, she earned worldwide notoriety for leading the team to the 1994 Gold Medal at the prestigious World Championships. During those games, she averaged a tournament-leading 27.6 points a game. Known simply as "Hortencia," the star guard played in the 1992 Olympics (Seventh place) and the 1996 Olympics, where her team captured the Silver Medal. With the National Team, she earned a Gold Medal at the 1991 Pan-American Games, a Silver in 1987 and a bronze in 1983. Her 1983 team finished fifth in the World Championships. In addition, she has championships in four South American Games. As a member of five Brazilian professional club teams, Hortencia won nine championships in World Championship of Teams, Pan American Games of Teams, South American of Teams and National Championship competition. She was elected to the Women's Basketball Hall of Fame in 2002.

JOHNNY KERR, a native of Chicago, IL.., has contributed to basketball for more than 50 years as a player, coach, executive and broadcaster. An all-state scholastic selection at Tilden Technical School in Chicago, Kerr starred as the University of Illinois where he led the Illini to the 1952 Final Four and finished his three-year career in 1954 as the school's all-time scorer. His final season, Kerr was an All-Conference and Big 10 MVP selection. Kerr was the sixth overall pick in the 1954 draft and played professionally with the Syracuse Nationals (1954-63), Philadelphia 76ers (1963-65) and the Baltimore Bullets (1969-70). He was a member of Syracuse's 1955 championship team and earned All-Star honors in 1956, 1959 and 1963. He played in a then-record 844 consecutive games, making him one of the NBA's first iron men. In his career, Kerr scored 13,413 points and grabbed 10,930 rebounds. After his playing days, Kerr became a coach with the Chicago Bulls and Phoenix Suns. He was named NBA Coach of the Year in 1967 for his efforts in taking the expansion Bulls to the playoffs. Kerr then became an executive with the ABA's Virginia Squires and Chicago Bulls. In 1975, he joined the Bulls broadcasting team as a color commentator, a position he continues to hold.

The late MAURICE STOKES, a native of Pittsburgh, PA., had both his life and a promising basketball career cut short by a freak accident during a game in 1958, when he fell to the floor, hit his head and was knocked unconscious. The accident sent him into a coma and then permanently paralyzed him. He died at age 36, on April 6, 1970. The 6-foot-7, 235 pound Stokes was nearing the end of his third NBA season when the tragedy took place. He had been the second overall draft pick of the Rochester Royals in 1955 and was named the NBA Rookie of the Year his first season. He was a three-time All-Star (1956-57) and led the Royals in scoring and rebounding in his only three seasons. In 1956-57 he set the NBA rebounding record for a season (1,256, 17.4 rpg). For a career, Stokes averaged 16.4 ppg and 17.3 rpg. Stokes starred collegiately at St. Francis (PA) College where he averaged better than 22.0 ppg and 24.0 rpg. In 1955, he was named MVP of the NIT, the only player in history to earn such an honor from a fourth place team.

Story Courtesy the University of Illinois

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