Reports: Wilkins, Dumars, Auriemma elected to Hall
Dominique Wilkins is finally headed to the Naismith Basketball Hall of Fame, and Charles Barkley will go in right behind him.
The two former NBA superstars reportedly will be joined by Connecticut women's coach Geno Auriemma and Detroit Pistons president Joe Dumars.
Two people with knowledge of the situation told The Atlanta Journal-Constitution on Friday that Wilkins, in his second year of eligibility, has learned of his election to the Hall of Fame and will be in Indianapolis for a formal announcement during the NCAA Final Four on Monday.
"Well, I can't talk about it," Wilkins told the newspaper. "Basically, they had told me when I was [named] one of the finalists that if I make it, mum's the word."
However, Wilkins did confirm to the Journal-Constitution that he would be in Indianapolis.
"Two SEC teams in the Final Four -- I've got to be there," he told the paper.
Barkley, selected in 1996 as one the NBA's 50 greatest players, also has been voted in, ESPN's Stephen A. Smith reported Saturday. Dumars, who played 14 seasons for the Pistons, will join his peers, a team source told the Detroit Free Press for Saturday's editions.
Several Connecticut newspapers also have reported that Auriemma will be a part of the class of 2006.
In his 17-year NBA career, Wilkins scored 26,668 points, averaging 24.8 points per game, and played in nine All-Star games. Wilkins is the leading scorer in Hawks history and played in Atlanta from 1982 until February 1994, when he was traded to the Clippers. He ended his playing career in 1999.
He is in his second year of eligibility and won two NBA championships as a shooting guard with the Pistons, and another title in 2004 as their president of basketball operations. He was MVP of the 1989 NBA Finals, and helped Detroit repeat the following season.
Dumars averaged 16.1 points and 4.5 assists and was an All-Star six times during an eight-year stretch in the 1990s. He was first-team all-defense four times. In 1996, he won the NBA's first sportsmanship award and its trophy was later named for him.
The 18th pick overall out of McNeese State came to the Pistons as a skinny, unknown shooting guard in 1985, and became a humble star known as "Joe D."
Dumars became Detroit's vice president of player personnel in 1999 and took over as president of basketball operations a year later.
He started to build a championship-caliber team by trading Grant Hill, who wanted to leave, to Orlando for Ben Wallace and Chucky Atkins. He later traded for Rasheed Wallace and Richard Hamilton, signed Chauncey Billups, drafted Tayshaun Prince and put them together with Wallace to create perhaps the league's best starting lineup.
The Pistons are an NBA-best 58-14, their fifth straight year with 50-plus victories, and they will break the franchise record for wins if they are better than .500 over the final 10 games. Detroit has advanced to the finals the past two seasons and the Eastern Conference finals the previous three years.
Since arriving 21 years ago, Auriemma has turned Connecticut from a small regional program into a national powerhouse, leading the Huskies to five NCAA titles. Their five straight trips to the Final Four from 2000-04 is a record.
It's just one more big honor for Auriemma this year. He will be inducted into the women's Hall of Fame in Knoxville, Tenn., later this month.
Auriemma's September induction in Springfield marks the second consecutive honor for the school. Men's coach Jim Calhoun, winner of two NCAA titles, was enshrined in 2004.
Other finalists are: Adrian Dantley, whose 23,177 career points rank 18th in NBA history; three-time national college Player of the Year Ralph Sampson; Big East founder Dave Gavitt; former Purdue coach Gene Keady; ESPN college basketball analyst Dick Vitale; seven-time NBA all-star Chet Walker; Dallas GM and coach Don Nelson, a former player who is under consideration as a coach; Van Chancellor, who coached the Houston Comets to four straight WNBA titles; former Spanish coach Pedro Ferrandiz; Sandro Gamba, a former Italian star player and coach; John Isaacs, who played for the first all-black National Basketball League team in 1949; and the late Ben Kerner, who owned the St. Louis Hawks.
Induction ceremonies for the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame will be Sept. 7-9 in Springfield, Mass.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.
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