Men's College Basketball
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           === Payton, Pitino headline finalists for Hall of Fame ===
 
 Houston,  TX (Sports  Network) -  Gary Payton  and Rick  Pitino were  among 12
 finalists announced Friday for the 2013 class of the Basketball Hall of Fame.
 
 Payton,  a  nine-time NBA  All-Star, joined Tim  Hardaway, Mitch Richmond, Tom
 Heinsohn, Sylvia Hatchell and Dawn Staley as first-time finalists.
 
 Pitino, a six-time NCAA Final Four coach, is a finalist for the second year in
 a  row.  Maurice Cheeks,  Spencer Haywood,  Bernard King,  Guy Lewis and Jerry
 Tarkanian are also returning to the ballot for election.
 
 "We  are proud to share an incredible group of finalists for the Class of 2013
 --  a  distinct list  of coaches  and players  who excelled  at many levels of
 basketball,"   said   Jerry  Colangelo,  chairman  of  the  Naismith  Memorial
 Basketball  Hall of  Fame Board of Governors. "It will be a difficult decision
 for  the  Honors  Committee  to  select the  final  class  members  from  this
 prestigious group of individuals, each of whom has given so much to the game."
 
 The  2013 Hall  of Fame  class will  be announced  Monday, April  8 at  a news
 conference  prior  to the NCAA  Tournament men's national championship game in
 Atlanta.
 
 A  finalist needs  18 of 24 votes  from the Honors Committee for election into
 the  Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame. Induction ceremonies will take
 place Sunday, September 8 in Springfield, Mass.
 
 Payton,  in addition to his nine All-Star Game selections, was a nine-time NBA
 All-Defensive  Team  selection and 1996 Defensive  Player of the Year during a
 17-year  career with  Seattle, Milwaukee,  the  Lakers, Boston  and Miami.  He
 averaged  16.3  points and ended  his career  ranked fourth all-time in steals
 with  2,445  and eight  in assists  with 8,966. A  two-time Olympic gold medal
 winner (1996 and 2000), Payton won an NBA championship with the Heat in 2006.
 
 Pitino  is  the only coach  in men's college  basketball history to lead three
 different  schools to  the NCAA Final Four, doing so with Providence, Kentucky
 and  Louisville.  He led Kentucky  to the  1996 national championship and then
 reached  the title game again with the Wildcats the following year. He has won
 more  than 600  games in his collegiate  career and reached the Final Four six
 different  times  (1987, 1993,  1996, 1997,  2005 and  2012) while leading his
 teams  to  20 postseason appearances.  He also held two  stints as an NBA head
 coach  with the New  York Knicks and Boston Celtics, leading the Knicks to two
 playoff appearances.
 
 Hardaway  was a  five-time NBA All-Star during his 13-year career from 1989-90
 through  2002-03 with  Golden State,  Miami,  Dallas, Denver  and Indiana.  He
 averaged  17.7  points and ranks 13th  in NBA history with 1,542 3-point field
 goals.  An All-NBA  First-Team selection in 1997, Hardaway was a member of the
 gold-medal  winning 2000 U.S.  Olympic team and was the 1989 WAC Player of the
 Year at UTEP.
 
 Richmond  was a six-time  NBA All-Star and the league's top rookie in 1989. He
 also  played  for Sacramento, Washington  and the  Lakers in a 14-year career,
 winning an NBA title with the Lakers in 2002, and averaged more than 21 points
 per game for 10 consecutive seasons.
 
 Heinsohn,  a Hall of Fame inductee as a player in 1986, is now a finalist as a
 coach.  He guided the  Celtics to the NBA title in 1974 and '76, earning Coach
 of the Year honors in 1973 during his tenure from 1969-78.
 
 Hatchell  and Staley are women's committee finalists. Hatchell recently became
 the  second  women's college  coach to reach  900 career wins  and is the only
 coach  in history  to win  national  championships at  three different  levels
 (AIAW,  NAIA and  NCAA). Since taking over at the University of North Carolina
 in  1986, she  has led  the Tar  Heels to  three NCAA  Final Fours,  eight ACC
 championships and the 1994 national championship.
 
 Staley  is among the most decorated players in women's basketball history -- a
 three-time  Olympic  gold medal  winner (1996, 2000  and 2004), five-time WNBA
 All-Star  and two-time  national college Player of the Year (1991-92). She led
 Virginia  to three  Final Fours  and still  holds the  NCAA career  record for
 steals with 454.
 
 Cheeks  finished his  15-year pro stint with 7,392 assists. He was a four-time
 All-Star  who helped  the 76ers to the 1983  NBA title, and has gone on to NBA
 coaching  stints with  Portland and  Philadelphia. At  his retirement,  he was
 fifth on the NBA's career list in both assists and steals with 2,310.
 
 Haywood  was  a four-time NBA  All-Star and averaged  over 20 points six times
 during  his career. He won an Olympic gold medal in 1968 and was the ABA's top
 rookie  in 1969 before moving on to the NBA the following year, winning an NBA
 title with the Lakers in 1980.
 
 King  was  a four-time  NBA All-Star  and a  two-time NBA First-Team selection
 during  a  15-year career that included  stints with the New Jersey Nets, Utah
 Jazz,  Golden State  Warriors,  New  York Knicks  and  Washington Bullets.  He
 averaged  more than 22  points per game and was the NBA Comeback Player of the
 Year in 1981.
 
 Lewis  led  the University  of Houston  to five  Final Four appearances (1967,
 1968,  1982,  1983 and 1984) and  nearly 600 wins  during his 30 years as head
 coach.  He won national Coach of the Year honors in 1968 and 1983, and coached
 29  future  NBA players, including  current Hall  of Famers Elvin Hayes, Clyde
 Drexler and Hakeem Olajuwon.
 
 Tarkanian  led UNLV,  Fresno State and Long Beach State to the NCAA Tournament
 during  a  lengthy career that  included four Final  Fours and a 1990 national
 championship  with UNLV.  A four-time national coach of the year, he also owns
 the highest winning percentage at the junior college level at .891.
 
 Also announced Friday were five directly-elected members of the Class of 2013.
 They  include  Roger Brown, voted  in from the American Basketball Association
 (ABA) Committee, Richie Guerin from the Veterans Committee, Oscar Schmidt from
 the International Committee, Russ Granik from the Contributors Direct Election
 Committee  and Edwin  B. Henderson  from the  Early African  American Pioneers
 Committee.
 
 This marks the third year of the direct elect process.
 
 02/15 13:54:26 ET

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