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Lute Olson Named Finalist for Naismith Basketball Hall of Fame
Courtesy: Arizona Athletics
Release: 04/24/2002
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Courtesy: Arizona Athletics
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April 24, 2002

SPRINGFIELD, Mass. - University of Arizona head coach Lute Olson heads a list of 14 players, coaches and contributors, and one team selected Wednesday as finalists for enshrinement into the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame. An announcement regarding the Class of 2002 is scheduled for Wednesday, June 5.

Along with Olson, the list of finalists include players Maurice Cheeks, Adrian Dantley, Earvin "Magic" Johnson, Bobby Jones, Chet Walker, James Worthy, coaches Larry Brown, Lefty Driesell, Bill Sharman, Eddie Sutton, contributors Jerry Colangelo, Junius Kellogg and Tex Winter and one team, the Harlem Globetrotters. Johnson, Colangelo, Lefty Driesell, Bill Sharman and Eddie Sutton are first time finalists, the other candidates have previously reviewed by the Honors Committee. In addition, the Harlem Globetrotters are the first team considered since 1963, the last year the Hall of Fame enshrined a team (New York Rens).

Olson, who guided the 2001-02 Wildcats to a 24-10 record, the Pac-10 Tournament championship and a berth in the NCAA Tournament's West Regional Semifinal, has now been a finalist for enshrinement in each of the last three years.

The 14 finalists and one team were selected from 57 North American candidates and are the last of four groups selected for consideration by the Honors Committee for election into the Basketball Hall of Fame. Previously, the Basketball Hall of Fame's Veterans Committee had selected coach Forrest Anderson, contributor Grady Lewis and player Earl Lloyd for consideration, the International Committee passed on Pedro Ferrandiz, Dino Meneghin and Drazen Pretrovic and the Women's Committee recommended Harley Redin, Cathy Rush and Kay Yow.

The Basketball Hall of Fame Class of 2002 will be announced on June 5, 2002 at the Biltmore Hotel in Los Angeles, CA. It will be the first opportunity to learn the identities of the new electees. "By announcing this class in Los Angeles, we are making a statement that the Basketball Hall of Fame is more than a building located in Springfield, Mass., the birthplace of basketball, but an organization that represents the best of the game from coast to coast," said John L. Doleva, President and CEO of the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame.

NORTH AMERICAN FINALISTS - PLAYERS

MAURICE CHEEKS, a native of Chicago, Illinois, enjoyed a steady, if not spectacular, 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 10 seasons. When he retired following the 1993 season, Cheeks was the NBA all-time steals leader (2,310). He currently ranks second 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). A native of Chicago, the 6-foot-1, 180-pound Cheeks starred at Du Sable High School before a solid four-year career 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, the dazzling 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 and his 23,177 career points ranked 14th all-time. As a collegiate star at Notre Dame, Dantley was virtually unstoppable. He scored 2,223 points in three seasons (25.8 PPG) and ranks second in career scoring. Dantley, a native of Washington, DC, guided the Irish to a 68-19 record and was named National Player of the Year by the USBWA following his junior season in 1975-76. He was The Sporting News First Team All-America in 1975 and 1976. He left school following his junior season and was chosen as the sixth pick in the first round of the 1976 draft by the Buffalo Braves. 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 1984 NBA Comeback Player of the Year, the year he led the league in scoring (30.6 PPG). He ranks among the top-10 in 10 Jazz categories, including third in scoring (13,635), fifth in assists (1,702) and fifth in rebounding (2,845).

EARVIN "MAGIC" JOHNSON, a native of East Lansing, Michigan, was destined for greatness from the day he stepped onto the basketball court at Lansing Everett High School until he retired from the Los Angeles Lakers, winning championships at the high school, collegiate, professional and international levels. Following his All-America scholastic career, Johnson led Michigan State to the 1979 NCAA championship in a classic battle against Indiana State's Larry Bird, a rivalry that would continue throughout the 1980s with the Los Angeles Lakers and Boston Celtics. The first overall pick in the 1979 NBA draft, Johnson was an immediate superstar, leading the Lakers to the 1980 NBA championship (the first of his five: 1980, 1982, 1985, 1987, 1988) over the Philadelphia 76ers. In the NBA Finals, the rookie played all five positions - scored 42 points -- and was named the NBA Finals MVP, the first of three selections (1980, 1982, 1987). A 12-time NBA All-Star in his 13-year career and MVP of the 1990 and 1992 games, Johnson was also named NBA MVP three times, in 1987, 1989 and 1990. He was named to the NBA's First-Team nine times and the second team once. The all-time assist (10,141) and steals (1,724) leader in Laker history, Johnson was the NBA's all-time leader in assists until the record was broken by Utah's John Stockton in 1995.

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 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).

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 leading scorer (1,975) and rebounder (1,036) and then embarked on a 13-year professional career 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).

JAMES WORTHY, a native of Gastonia, North Carolina, was one of the basketball's greatest fast-break finishers at the college and professional levels. A 6-foot-9, 225 pound power forward who could dominate with his speed and agility, Worthy starred collegiately at the University of North Carolina. He led the Tar Heels to the 1982 NCAA championship and was named MVP of the Final Four. Named Helms Foundation National Player of the Year, Worthy was selected an All-America 11 times throughout his college career by various organizations. Named one of the 50 greatest players in NBA history in 1996, Worthy played his entire 12-year professional career with the Los Angeles Lakers. He helped lead the Lakers to the 1985, 1987 and 1988 NBA championships and a total of seven NBA Finals appearances. He was named MVP of the 1988 Finals after averaging 22 PPG, 7.4 rpg and 4.4 apg. He was chosen for seven NBA All-star Games (1986-92) and is one of only seven Lakers to have his number (#42) retired.

NORTH AMERICAN FINALISTS - COACHES

LARRY BROWN, a native of Brooklyn, NY, has been a successful college and professional basketball coach for the last 29 years. He has won over 1,000 professional games in the ABA and the NBA and is the only coach in NBA history to lead six different teams to the playoffs. Brown began his coaching career in the ABA with the Carolina Cougars and then the Denver Nuggets and compiled a 229-107 ABA coaching record. He was named ABA Coach of the Year three times (1973, 1975, 1976). In the NBA, he has coached the Denver Nuggets, New Jersey Nets, San Antonio Spurs, Los Angeles Clippers, Indiana Pacers and Philadelphia 76ers. He became the 11th NBA coach to win 700 games and ranks ninth on the all-time NBA victory list entering the 2001-2002 season. In the 2001-2002 season, Brown led the Philadelphia 76ers to the NBA Finals for the first time in 18 years and was named NBA Coach of the Year. Brown also has enjoyed success in college having led the UCLA Bruins to the NCAA Championship game in 1980 and the University of Kansas Jayhawks to the 1988 NCAA Championship. He was named the 1999 USA Basketball National Coach of the Year and served as an assistant coach for the 2000 Olympic Games in Sydney, Australia. He has recorded a winning record in 25 of 28 seasons on the professional and collegiate levels.

CHARLES "LEFTY" DRIESELL, a native of Norfolk, Virginia, has compiled a 782-387 career record in more than 40 college seasons at Davidson College, University of Maryland, James Madison University and current at Georgia State University. Driesell's record is third best among active coaches and sixth best all-time. Driesell has posted twenty-two 20-win seasons and has had only two losing seasons in his career. Eighteen times his teams have captured either the regular season or conference tournament title and 21 times his teams have made the NCAA or NIT Tournament (13 NCAA, 8 NIT). He is one of only three coaches (Oklahoma State's Eddie Sutton and Georgia's Jim Harrick) to have taken four teams to the NCAA Tournament. Known for his years coaching Maryland, Driesell led the Terps to eight NCAA Tournaments was named the ACC Coach of the Year in 1975 and 1980. He has been named either a conference or state Coach of the Year eleven times. Driesell's Maryland teams finished in the final AP Top 10 eight times, his Davidson teams four times. In 1972, Maryland defeated Niagara for the NIT championship.

LUTE OLSON, a native of Maryville, North Dakota, has been a college head coach the last 29 years. He has compiled a 767-255 record coaching at Long Beach City College, Long Beach State, University of Iowa and the University of Arizona. In 1997, Olson led Arizona to the NCAA championship and led the Wildcats to the Final Four in 1988 and 1994, 1997 and 2001. Olson, who is the seventh winningest active Division I coach, holds the distinction of being one of eight coaches in college history to coach in five or more Final Fours and is one of 11 coaches who have taken two different teams to the Final Four (Arizona, 1988, 1994, 1997, 2001, Iowa, 1980). His 23 NCAA Tournament appearances are third most among active coaches and his 39 NCAA wins are third most among active coaches and sixth all-time. As head coach at Iowa, Olson led the Hawkeyes to the 1979 Big Ten championship and five consecutive trips to the NCAA Tournament. He became coach at Arizona in 1984 and in 19 seasons has compiled a 471-143 record and over the last 15 seasons has compiled the nation's best winning percentage (.805, 401-97, nearly 25 wins a season). He has led Arizona to 15 consecutive 20-win seasons and has compiled 26 winning seasons in 29 years of coaching on the NCAA Division I level. He has also led Arizona to nine Pac-10 championships. Under Olson, Arizona's 18 consecutive NCAA Tournament appearances is the longest current streak in college basketball and is second longest in NCAA history. Under Olson, Arizona has been to the NCAA Sweet 16 nine times in the last 15 years. He was been named national Coach of the Year in 1988 and 1990.

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 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.

EDDIE SUTTON, a native of Bucklin, Kansas, is a four-time national Coach of the Year (1977, 1978, 1986, 1995) and in 32 seasons coaching at the collegiate level, has compiled a 702-278 record, sixth best all-time among active coaches and 14th all-time. In his 32 seasons at the Division I level (Creighton, Arkansas, Kentucky, Oklhahoma State), Sutton has produced twenty-two 20 win seasons, two 30-win seasons and only one losing season. He has guided Arkansas (1978) and Oklahoma State (1995) to the NCAA Final Four and had five Regional Final appearances and 10 Regional Semifinal appearances. A seven-time Conference Coach of the Year selection, Sutton has led his teams to 23 NCAA appearances in 32 years, including 12 straight from 1977 to 1988 and 21 times in his last 24 years. Sutton has won conference championships in the SEC, SWC and Big Eight and was named Coach of the Year in those three conferences in addition to the Big 12. He, along with Georgia State's Lefty Driesell and Georgia's Jim Harrick, are the only coaches in NCAA history to lead four different schools to the NCAA Tournament.

NORTH AMERICAN FINALISTS - CONTRIBUTORS

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 was 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 NBA curtain to sign an NBA contract. In 1988, the Suns played the Utah Jazz in Japan, marking 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.

JUNIUS KELLOGG, a native of Haverstraw, New York, became a pioneer in wheelchair basketball after a 1954 car accident left him a paraplegic. His biggest contributions to basketball may have come in February of 1951, when he reported bribery attempts to fix games and assisted authorities in curtailing New York City's college basketball point-shaving scandals. Prior to his accident, Kellogg was a standout high school athlete at I.C. Norcom High School in Portsmouth, Virginia and at Manhattan College, where he became the first African-American to play intercollegiate basketball at the school. At Manhattan, Kellogg led the 1951 and 1952 team in scoring and was selected All-Metropolitan in 1952 and 1953. He was also a member of the College All-star Game those two seasons and elected into the Manhattan College Hall of Fame in 1979. Kellogg helped launch the National Wheelchair Basketball Association and was a paralympic gold medal winner in 1964. He won one national and four international championships playing wheelchair basketball. Kellogg passed away on Set. 16, 1998.

TEX WINTER, a native of Wellington, Texas, is in the midst of his 54th season as a coach at the Division I or professional level, the longest tenure of any active coach in college or professional basketball. Winter, the architect of the famed triangle offense, was a member of the coaching staff of the Bulls' championship teams in 1991, 1992, 1993, 1996, 1997 and 1998 and with the Los Angeles Lakers last two seasons. Winter's coaching career began as an assistant at the University of Southern California-his alma mater-and Kansas State. In 1952, Marquette hired Winter at age 28, making him the youngest major college coach in the country. In 1953, he launched a 15-year career at Kansas State, where he compiled a 265-117 record (.694) and won eight Big 8 championships. Winter was named national UPI Coach of the Year and UPI and AP rated Kansas State the number one team in the country. In 1968, Winter became coach at the University of Washington, where he compiled a 45-35 record in three seasons. He became head coach of the NBA's San Diego Rockets in 1971, and two seasons later, was back coaching at the college ranks at Northwestern University (1973-78). His final collegiate seasons were spent at California State University-Long Beach before he retired at the close of the 1983 season, the same year he served as president of the National Association of Basketball Coaches (NABC). In 1998, Winter received the John Bunn Award from the Basketball Hall of Fame for his outstanding contributions to basketball.

NORTH AMERICAN FINALISTS - TEAM

The world-famous Harlem Globetrotters were originally formed from the Wendell Phillips High School. The team played in the Negro American Legion League as the "Giles Post," and in 1927 turned professional as the Savoy Big Five under manager Dick Hudson. Later that year, promoter Abe Saperstein (Hall of Fame, 1971) bought the team and re-named it the Harlem Globetrotters. Up until the late 1930s, the Globetrotters were a serious competitive team. Starting with the acquisition of Inman Jackson, the Globetrotters began to work more light entertainment and comedic routines into their appearances, but could still play with the best of the professional teams. In 1939, the Globetrotters were runners-up to the New York Rens (Hall of Fame, 1963) in the World Professional Basketball Tournament in Chicago. The team won the tournament in 1940. After World War II, the Globetrotters became real "globetrotters," traveling the world and entertaining thousands. With players such as Geese Ausbie, Goose Tatum, 1998 Hall of Famer Marques Haynes, Curly Neal and Meadowlark Lemon, the Globetrotters quickly became ambassadors of bringing their showmanship to millions. The team has played over 20,000 games in more than 100 countries around the world.

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