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Jackson, Mullin, Vitale among Hall of Fame finalists

LAS VEGAS -- Phil Jackson, Chris Mullin and Dick Vitale led
the list of 15 finalists for induction into the Basketball Hall of
Fame announced during the NBA's All-Star weekend Friday.

They were joined by former players Adrian Dantley and Richie
Guerin; coaches Roy Williams, Eddie Sutton and Bob Hurley Sr.;
owner Bill Davidson; and the 1966 Texas Western NCAA championship
team.

Referee Mendy Rudolph, Yugoslavian coach Mirko Novosel, Spanish
coach Pedro Ferrandiz and former U.S. women's basketball coaches
Van Chancellor and Harley Redin also were selected by the four
screening committees that nominate finalists.

A 24-person committee will vote on the final selection, with the
potential enshrinees needing 18 votes to enter the Hall of Fame.
The 2007 class will be announced April 2 at the Final Four in
Atlanta, with the induction ceremonies in Springfield, Mass., on
Sept. 7.

Mullin, a former St. John's star, was a five-time All-Star
during 16 NBA seasons with Golden State and Indiana, scoring 17,911
points while emerging as one of the league's best shooters. Now the
Warriors' head of basketball operations, he also played in two
Olympics.

"It would be the ultimate to get in, but it's even a thrill to
be voted on," said Mullin, the three-time Big East player of the
year. "I've been the recipient of such good things in my
basketball career. I feel like I had great timing, and I've been
helped by a great number of people."

Jackson is the most successful coach of his generation, winning
nine NBA championships with the Chicago Bulls and Los Angeles
Lakers. A former forward with the New York Knicks, he is in his
second stint with the Lakers after winning six titles with the
Michael Jordan-led Bulls.

Vitale parlayed his brief stint as an NBA coach into a career as
perhaps the most recognizable broadcaster in basketball history.
The ESPN analyst is a beloved figure in the sport, with legions of
fans at every major NCAA arena.

Dantley was an undersized power forward who played for seven
teams and became one of the NBA's most unlikely high-scoring stars.
He spent seven of his 15 seasons with the Utah Jazz, carrying the
once-moribund franchise with a scoring average that never dropped
below 26 points.

Williams led Kansas for 15 seasons before moving to North
Carolina, where he led his alma mater to the 2005 national title.
Sutton retired last season after leading Arkansas, Kentucky and
Oklahoma State to a 798-315 record.

Texas Western's 1966 team coached by Don Haskins won the NCAA
title with a starting lineup featuring five black players -- a
groundbreaking first in collegiate athletics. The team was the
subject of a 2006 movie, "Glory Road."

Earl Monroe, David Thompson, Dominique Wilkins and Moses Malone
were among the Hall of Famers in attendance at a Las Vegas casino
to announce the finalists.

"It's a great class with a lot of talent in a lot of different
directions," Wilkins said. "I'd be glad to welcome anybody in
this class into the Hall."