SPRINGFIELD, MA, February, 20, 2005 – Jim Calhoun, coach of 2004 NCAA Champion University of Connecticut, Syracuse coach Jim Boeheim, who led his team to the 2003 Championship, and former NBA All-Stars Joe Dumars and Dominique Wilkins highlight a list of 16 individuals named as Finalists for election into the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame Class of 2005. The announcement was made today in Denver, CO, site of the 2005 NBA All-Star game, by Hall of Fame President & CEO John L. Doleva.
The complete list of finalists includes ten candidates from the North American Screening Committee – players Maurice Cheeks, Adrian Dantley, Dumars, Dennis Johnson, Bernard King, Chet Walker and Wilkins, coaches Boeheim and Calhoun, and contributor Hubie Brown. Two candidates each comprise finalists from the Women’s Screening Committee – coaches Van Chancellor and Sue Gunter – International Screening Committee – Italian coach Sandro Gamba and player Hortencia Marcari from Brazil – and the Veterans Screening Committee - player John Issacs and contributor John Kerr.
The Class of 2005 will be announced on Monday, April 5 at a news conference in Saint Louis, MO 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. Chancellor, Dumars, Gunter and Wilkins are Finalists in their first year of consideration by their respective Screening Committees. Calhoun, King, Johnson, Kerr, Walker, Marcari, Dantley and Cheeks have been named Finalists previously.
NORTH AMERICAN FINALISTS
JIM BOEHEIM, a native of Lyons, New York, has led the Syracuse Orangemen since 1976, amassing over 650 wins including a victory over Kansas in the 2003 NCAA Championship game, eight Big East regular season championships, three Big East Tournament titles, 23 NCAA Tournament appearances, four NIT invitations and three Final Four appearances (1987, 1996, 2003). Before becoming head coach of the Orangemen, Boeheim starred as a player for Syracuse (1963-66), co-captaining the 1965-66 squad with Hall of Famer Dave Bing. Now in his 29th season, Boeheim is the winningest coach in Big East history and has been named Big East Coach of the Year three times (1984, 1991, 2000), and has won 20 or more games in 26 seasons.
HUBIE BROWN, born in Hazelton, Pennsylvania, has a basketball resume that touches virtually every aspect of the game. Well known for his career as an NBA head coach (Atlanta 1976-1981, New York 1982-1987, Memphis (2002-2004) and TV analyst (TNT/TBS, CBS and USA Network), Brown has also coached at the high school and college level (assistant at Duke from 1968-1972 and William & Mary in 1967 & 1968), was an NBA assistant coach for the Milwaukee Bucks from 1972-1974 and was the head coach for the ABA’s Kentucky Colonels (1974-1976), winning an ABA championship in 1975. Brown was named NBA Coach of the Year twice (1978, 2004), and 8 former assistants have gone on to become head coaches in the NBA. Brown has traveled extensively as an ambassador of basketball, hosting hundreds of clinics for thousands of fans and coaches worldwide.
JIM CALHOUN, a native of Braintree, Massachusetts, has helped define New England basketball, developing Northeastern University into a regional power and engineering the University of Connecticut program into a national powerhouse. In 33 seasons as a college coach, Calhoun has won more than 680 games, best in New England history. Calhoun is one of only two coaches (Mike Krzyzewski, Duke) to win multiple NCAA Championships since the tournament expanded to 64 teams in 1985, defeating Duke to win the 1999 crown and Georgia Tech to win the NCAA Championship in 2004. He had previously led the Huskies to the 1988 NIT title in only his second season at UConn, and has gone on to capture eight Big East regular season titles and six Big East Tournament championships. A four-time Big East Coach of the Year selection (most in conference history), Calhoun has led UConn to 17 consecutive post season tournaments (12 NCAA, 5 NIT) and was named consensus National Coach of the Year in 1990.
MAURICE CHEEKS, a native of Chicago, Illinois, enjoyed a steady 15-year professional career, 11 of those spent with the Philadelphia 76ers. Cheeks was known for his courtmanship and speed, especially on the defensive side. A four-time NBA All-Defensive First Team selection (1983-86), Cheeks led the 76ers in assists 11 straight seasons (6,212 total) and in steals (1,942) in each of his first ten seasons. When he retired following the 1993 season, Cheeks was the NBA’s all-time steals leader (2,310). He currently ranks third in steals and sixth in assists (7,392). A member of Philadelphia’s 1983 NBA championship team, Cheeks was named to four NBA All-Star teams (1983, 1986-88). Now the Head Coach of the Portland Trailblazers, the 6-foot-1, the 180-pound Cheeks starred at Du Sable High School before enrolling at West Texas State (1974-78), where he was a two-time Lone Star Conference selection.
ADRIAN DANTLEY, a native of Washington, D.C., was one of the most prolific scorers in NBA history. He had a stellar 15-year NBA career with seven different teams (Buffalo Braves, Indiana Pacers, Los Angeles Lakers, Utah Jazz, Detroit Pistons, Dallas Maverick and Milwaukee Bucks), the majority of the time spent with the Jazz (1979-86). At all levels, Dantley enjoyed success – as a scholastic All-America player at DeMatha Catholic High School (Md.), as a collegian at Notre Dame (1973-76), as the leading scorer (19.3 ppg) of the Gold Medal 1976 Olympic Team and as a professional where he was Rookie of the Year in 1977. His 23,177 career points ranks 16th all-time in the NBA. He scored 2,223 points in three seasons (25.8 PPG) at Notre Dame, ranks second in Irish career scoring and was made The Sporting News First Team All-America list in 1975 and 1976. In all but four seasons as a professional, Dantley averaged 20 points or better, including topping the 30-point mark four straight years (1981-84). The six-time NBA All-Star (1980-82, 1984-86) was named NBA Comeback Player of the Year in 1984, the year he led the league in scoring (30.6 PPG).
JOE DUMARS, a native of Shreveport, Louisiana, played his entire pro career for the Detroit Pistons, becoming a key component of the squad that went on to win back-to-back NBA Championships (1989 & 1990). After being drafted by the Pistons out of McNeese State, he immediately made a name for himself as a defensive stopper and steady offensive performer in the NBA by being named an NBA All-Rookie Selection (1986). His defensive skills were honored by being named to the NBA All-Defensive First Team 4 times (1989, 1990, 1992, 1993), and his overall play was rewarded by being named a six-time NBA All-Star, and the MVP of the 1989 NBA Finals. Dumars is currently the President of Basketball Operations for the Detroit Pistons, credited for assembling the team which won the 2004 NBA Finals title.
DENNIS JOHNSON, a native of San Pedro, California, developed a reputation as a defensive specialist and a player who possessed an uncanny ability to hit clutch jump shots and rise to the occasion in big games. Johnson logged 14 NBA seasons with the Seattle SuperSonics (1976-80), Phoenix Suns (1980-83) and the Boston Celtics (1983-90). He was a member of two NBA championship teams in Boston (1984 and 1986) and a third in Seattle (1979), the year he was named the NBA Finals MVP. The 6-foot-4, 202 pound Johnson played on NBA teams that compiled a 753-395 record (.656 winning percentage), and earned seven division championships. A defensive wizard, Johnson was named to nine NBA All-Defensive Teams, second only to Hall of Famer Kareem Abdul-Jabbar. Johnson, who played in five NBA All-Star games, is one of 16 NBA players to score 15,000 points and dish out 5,000 assists. He averaged 14.1 ppg for a career; 17.3 ppg in the playoffs. As a collegian, Johnson played at both Harbor Junior College and Pepperdine University.
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 for three seasons, finished his career as Tennessee’s second all-time scorer (1,962 points). 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. He was a four-time NBA All-Star (1982, 1984, 1985, 1991), in the 1984-85 season led the NBA in scoring (32.9) and averaged 22.5 points a game in 14 seasons. He was an All-Rookie selection (1978) and the NBA’s Comeback Player of the Year (1981). He posted back-to-back 50 point games in the 1984-85 season.
CHET WALKER, a native of Benton Harbor, Michigan, was a Sporting News First-Team All-America at Bradley University 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. 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.
DOMINIQUE WILKINS was born in Paris, France before coming to the United States and becoming a Parade High School All-American, collegiate star at the University of Georgia and an NBA All-Star known for his amazing offensive power and high-flying above the rim game. During his career with the Atlanta Hawks (1982-1993), LA Clippers (1993-94), Boston Celtics (1994-95), San Antonio Spurs (1996-97) and Orlando Magic (1998-99), Wilkins was a nine-time NBA All-Star (1986-1994), a two-time NBA Slam Dunk Champion and named to the All-NBA first team in 1986. Wilkins is one of only three Atlanta Hawks to have his jersey (21) retired, and his incredible dunks and aerial acrobatics earned him the nickname “The Human Highlight Film”.
VAN CHANCELLOR, a native of Louisville, Mississippi, led the Houston Comets to four straight WNBA Championships (1997-2000) and won 439 games as the head Women’s coach at Ole Miss (1978-1997). Chancellor coached the undefeated United States Gold Medal team at the 2004 Olympic Games, and has a spotless 38-0 record in international competition. In leading the Comets, Chancellor has been named WNBA coach of the year three times (1997, 1998, 1999). In addition, the 1998 Comets hold the record for the highest winning percentage in the history of NBA and WNBA basketball (27-3, .900 winning percentage). Chancellor was named SEC Coach of the Year three times (1987, 1990, 1992).
SUE GUNTER, a Walnut Grove, Mississippi native, coached Louisiana State University for 22 seasons (1982-2004) and spent 16 seasons at Stephen F. Austin (1964-1980) after beginning her coaching career at Middle Tennessee State (1962-1964). She stands as the third winningest coach in women’s NCAA history with 708 wins, and led LSU to 14 NCAA tournament berths, including one Final Four appearance. Gunter also coached the 1980 U.S. Olympic Team and was an assistant on the silver medal winning 1976 squad. Gunter was elected to the Women’s Basketball Hall of Fame in 2000. Gunter was twice named SEC’s Coach of the Year (1997, 1999), and won an NIT title in 1985.
SANDRO GAMBA, a native of Milan, Italy, has coached in Europe for over 30 years, including Italian Division I professional league teams Simmenthal (1965-73), Ignis (1973-77), Turin (1977-1980) and the Italian National Team (1979-1992). Gamba has coached four Italian Olympic teams (1980, 1984, 1988, 1992), and led the 1980 squad to a silver medal. His Italian professional teams have won five Italian League championships, a European Championship, a Champions Cup and Cup of Cups title. In addition, his national squads have captured a gold medal at the 1983 European Championship and a silver in 1981.
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 led 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 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. 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.
JOHN ISSACS, a High School standout from New York City, was a pioneer in professional basketball, playing with many touring teams including the New York Rens (1936-41), leading the Rens to a 112-7 record and the World Professional Basketball Tournament Championship in 1939. Issacs and Hall of Famer William “Pop” Gates are credited for introducing the “motion offense” to basketball, and “Boy Wonder”, as he was known, went on to join the Dayton Rens in 1948, becoming a member of the first all-black team to play in the National Basketball League. Issacs has been honored as a member of the NYC Basketball Hall of Fame and Harlem Professionals Hall of Fame, among others.
JOHNNY KERR, a native of Chicago, Illinois, 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 at 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.