College Basketball Hall’s 2011 Class Includes Several Huge Names

Posted by Brian Goodman on February 28th, 2011

Brian Goodman is an RTC contributor.

It may not technically be March yet, but the National Collegiate Basketball Hall of Fame ushered in college basketball’s biggest month on Monday when it announced its Class of 2011. In November, the Hall will enshrine Bob Knight, Ralph Sampson, James Worthy and Chris Mullin among its class of eight inductees.

Bob Knight, now a popular commentator for ESPN, racked up a Division I record 902 wins in tenures at the helm of Army, Indiana and Texas Tech. Collecting three national championships along the way, Knight also made waves internationally, leading Team USA to Olympic gold in 1984.

One of this season’s biggest storylines is the rebirth of St. John’s basketball, so it’s fitting to hear former Redman Chris Mullin included in this year’s class. Mullin was a three-time Big East Player of the Year for Lou Carnesecca, and led his team to the Final Four in 1985 including the personal honor of the tournament’s Most Outstanding Player. The all-time leading scorer in St. John’s history, Mullin went on to a successful career in the pro ranks and was a member of the original USA Dream Team that brought home the gold in Barcelona in 1992.

2011 inductee Chris Mullin was a dominant scorer in the early days of the Big East

Seven-foot four center Ralph Sampson enjoyed a college career at Virginia that left coaches in awe. A dominant player, Sampson is a three-time Naismith College Player of the Year Award recipient and two-time Wooden Award winner. With Sampson, Virginia won the 1980 NIT and took a trip to the Final Four in 1981. Though his pro career was limited by knee troubles after being selected as the top overall pick in the 1983 draft, he remains a collegiate legend as one of the best players to ever take the court for an ACC team.

Another ACC inductee comes in the person of James Worthy. Worthy led the 1981-82 Tar Heels to the national title, averaging over 15 points per game and sealing the championship by intercepting an inadvertent pass from Georgetown’s Fred Brown. Worthy left UNC after his junior year for a prolific life in the NBA, where he collected three titles and made the all-star team seven years in a row as a member of the Lakers’ “Showtime” dynasty.

Also among the class is legendary coach Eddie Sutton. Sutton left a legacy as the first coach to take four schools (Creighton, Arkansas, Kentucky and his alma mater, Oklahoma State) to the NCAA Tournament, and lead Arkansas and Oklahoma State to a combined three Final Fours. A member of the select group of the 800-win club, Sutton accrued coach of the year honors by the barrel in the SEC, the former SWC and Big Eight and the Big 12.

Representing the Big Ten is Cazzie Russell, who led the Michigan Wolverines to three consecutive Big Ten championships from 1964-66 as well as a pair of Final Fours. Michigan’s home, Crisler Arena, is known to this day as The House that Cazzie Built.

Rounding out the class is Eddie Einhorn, who played a key role in bringing college basketball to national television in the late 50’s and early 1960’s, and Joe Vancisin, who coached Yale for 19 seasons and held the title of Executive Director National Association of Basketball Coaches for 17 years.

The Hall will enshrine its class in November in Kansas City, in conjunction with the 2011 CBE, which is slated to include Notre Dame, Georgia, Missouri and Cal.

Brian Goodman (966 Posts)

Brian Goodman a Big 12 microsite writer. You can follow him on Twitter @BSGoodman.

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