NEW ORLEANS — Former UCLA and NBA stars Jamaal Wilkes and Reggie Miller were among the seven new members announced Monday for the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame.
The Class of 2012 also includes coach Don Nelson, three-time national player of the year Ralph Sampson, two-time Olympic gold medalist Katrina McClain and official Hank Nichols. Also named were the All American Red Heads, the first women’s professional basketball team.
The Class of 2012 will be enshrined Sept. 7 in Springfield, Mass.
Wilkes contributed to two NCAA championships at UCLA under John Wooden and was a member of four NBA championship teams during a career with the Golden State Warriors, Lakers and Clippers.
Miller left UCLA as the school’s No. 3 career scoring leader and was a five-time NBA All-Star in a 17-year career with the Indiana Pacers.
Miller is second in the NBA all-time with 2,560 three-point baskets. He made a league-record 320 three-pointers in postseason play.
Nelson spent more than 40 years as a player, coach and general manager. He played on five NBA title teams with the Boston Celtics and, as a coach, won 250 games or more with three teams.
Sampson was a three-time national player of the year at Virginia and a two-time Wooden Award winner. Sampson was the No.1 pick by the Houston Rockets in 1983.
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Kentucky and Kansas have combined for 10 national titles and 288 NCAA tournament games. Monday’s meeting, though, was only the third time the schools faced each other in the tournament — and the first time they met in the title game.
Kansas beat Kentucky, 75-68, in a second-round game in 2007. Kentucky defeated Kansas, 92-88, in a second-round game in 1999.
Kentucky plays in Rupp Arena, named after Adolph Rupp. Kansas plays in F.C. “Phog” Allen Fieldhouse.
Rupp, who led Kentucky to four national titles, was a native of Halstead, Kan. He was a Kansas graduate who played for Allen in 1923.
Kentucky entered Monday’s game with seven national titles. The first was 1948, when the Wildcats defeated Baylor, in New York. The most valuable player was Kentucky’s Alex Groza, who also earned the award in 1949 when the Wildcats repeated as champions.
Kentucky also won titles in 1951, 1958, 1978, 1996 and 1998. Kentucky’s last title team was coached by Tubby Smith. The MVP was Jeff Sheppard.
Kansas’ first NCAA title came in 1952, when the Jayhawks defeated St. John’s in Seattle. The MVP was Kansas star Clyde Lovellette.
Darius Miller is a rarity these days at Kentucky. He’s a senior. Miller played his last game only because he exhausted his eligibility.
So many players have left Kentucky early for the NBA that Miller has played with 40 teammates.
“I’ve had a lot of fun,” Miller said this week. “I’ve learned a lot from those guys and I still talk to them to this day. A majority of them have been texting me throughout the tournament, congratulating me, talking to me. I look at them like brothers.”