While this week’s CBE Classic will showcase some of the best players and top coaches in college basketball right now, the game paid tribute to a group of dignitaries whose contributions to the game over the last 70 years Sunday night.
Christian Laettner, David Thompson and Jerry West were among those inducted to the National Collegiate Basketball Hall of Fame in Kansas City. Laettner, who is still asked about his famous jump shot to beat Kentucky in 1992, left his mark as the NCAA Tournament’s all-time leading scorer and the only player to start on four Final Four teams. During his induction speech, Laettner recalled his connection to the game and to Duke head coach Mike Krzyzewski. “I knew he was passionate about it and I wanted to be a part of it,” he said. Another of Laettner’s March records is a 21-2 record in the Big Dance, a mark that he says may not fall due to the trend of players leaving early and the overall competition that the NCAA Tournament brings. “There’s a good chance that it won’t happen because the kids want to get to the big money so fast. You never say never, though. After we repeated (in 1991-1992) everyone said ‘no one will ever repeat again,’ and Florida did it.”