Newspaper article Charleston Gazette Mail

COLLEGE BASKETBALL ; Wilkins Headlines Latest College Hoops Hall of Fame Class

Newspaper article Charleston Gazette Mail

COLLEGE BASKETBALL ; Wilkins Headlines Latest College Hoops Hall of Fame Class

Article excerpt

KANSAS CITY, Mo. - Dominique Wilkins still doesn't know how Hugh Durham got him out of North Carolina. He was recruited by every school in the state, the perennial powers and the up-and-coming programs, and wound up following Durham to Georgia. Together, the tall and talented forward and the small and humble coach built a powerhouse program at a school with little basketball success.

And together, they were enshrined in the Collegiate Basketball Hall of Fame on Friday.

"This is really special for me in many ways, Wilkins said, turning to face Durham seated alongside him, "because how many times do you get to go into the Hall of Fame with your coach? I love this guy.

Wilkins and Durham were joined in this year's class by the late Bob Boozer, a star in the 1950s at Kansas State; Doug Collins, who played at Illinois State before a long career as an NBA player and coach; DePaul star Mark Aguirre; longtime college coach Mike Montgomery; former La Salle standout Lionel Simmons; and Jamaal Wilkes, who was part of the dominant UCLA teams of the early 1970s.

They spent time mingling at the College Basketball Experience in downtown Kansas City, some of them meeting for the first time, before a Friday night ceremony. They also spent time swapping stories and reminiscing.

"I don't know if I liked Coach Durham when I was a player. He was tough, Wilkins said with a smile. "But what he taught me was how to be a young man first, a basketball player second. Being a basketball player is easy if you can perfect being a young man.

Naturally, Durham deferred to one of his brightest stars.

"Most of the time if you're successful, he said, "it's because you have people around you that want you to be successful. You have to have players to win.

Wilkins and Durham certainly won together, leading the Bulldogs to unprecedented heights, but they also won separately. Wilkins went on to become a nine-time All-Star in the NBA while Durham retired as the career wins leader at Georgia, Florida State and Jacksonville.

The relationship between player and coach was an underlining theme to the 11th class.

Montgomery talked about the players who helped make Stanford a perennial NCAA Tournament team, and the dozens more who helped him turn around programs at Montana and California. …

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