Pitino, Payton headline Hall of Fame inductees
Atlanta, GA (Sports Network) - Rick Pitino and Gary Payton are among this year's inductees for the Basketball Hall of Fame.
Pitino, who guided Louisville in the NCAA Tournament men's championship game Monday, and Payton, a nine-time NBA All-Star, are joined in the Class of 2013 by Jerry Tarkanian, Guy Lewis, Bernard King, Dawn Staley and Sylvia Hatchell.
Enshrinement ceremonies are set for Sept. 8 in Springfield, Mass.
Also inducted will be five directly-elected members previously announced in February. 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.
"The Class of 2013 is one of the most distinguished groups that the Hall of Fame has ever inducted at one time," said Jerry Colangelo, chairman of the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame Board. "These individuals span decades of the game and have impacted the sport on every level."
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 on Monday became the first coach to win a title at two different schools when his Cardinals beat Michigan.
"Pretty special distraction," said Pitino on Monday morning at the Hall of
Fame news conference. "You're mind races with so many people that have a part in this."
Pitino has now reached the Final Four seven times (1987, 1993, 1996, 1997, 2005, 2012 and 2013) and has won more than 600 games in his collegiate career. He also held two stints as an NBA head coach with the New York Knicks and Boston Celtics, leading the Knicks to a pair of playoff appearances.
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.
"When I started playing basketball in the NBA, I just wanted to be a guy in the NBA doing something," said Payton on Monday. "When I started getting better I never believed I would be in the Hall of Fame. I never thought I'd be at this level right now."
Prior to his NBA career, Payton was Sports Illustrated's National Player of the Year in 1990 while at Oregon State. He still holds the school records for points, assists and steals.
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.
"You get a call about the Hall of Fame, it's real exciting," said Tarkanian. "It's been a real exciting time for me."
Lewis led his alma mater, 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.
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.
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.
"I'm still shocked and in awe of this tremendous honor," said Staley.
Hatchell became the second women's college coach to reach 900 career wins earlier this year 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 title.
Among the finalists not elected this year were Tim Hardaway, Mitch Richmond, Tom Heinsohn, Maurice Cheeks and Spencer Haywood. Heinsohn, a Hall of Fame inductee as a player in 1986, was a finalist as a coach.
A finalist needed 18 of 24 votes from the Honors Committee for election into the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame.
04/08 13:26:17 ET