CHARLOTTE, NC -- The Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame announced today, at NBA All-Star Weekend, eight extraordinary players, four remarkable coaches, and one exceptional referee as finalists from the North American and Women’s committees to be considered for election in 2019.
This year’s list includes four first-time finalists: consensus National Collegiate Player of the Year Marques Johnson, seven-time NBA All-Star Jack Sikma, four-time NBA Defensive Player of the Year Ben Wallace, and five-time NBA All-Star Paul Westphal.
Previous finalists included again this year for consideration are the all-time winningest high school coach Leta Andrews, 28-year NBA referee Hugh Evans, two-time NBA Coach of the Year Bill Fitch, eight-time NBA All-Defensive First Team member Bobby Jones, five-time NBA All-Star Sidney Moncrief, five-time Division II National Coach of the Year Barbara Stevens, four-time National Coach of the Year Eddie Sutton, five-time WNBA All-Star Theresa Weatherspoon, and five-time NBA All-Star Chris Webber.
“To be named a Finalist for the Basketball Hall of Fame is a tremendous honor and we are proud to recognize the outstanding men and women who have impacted the game,” said Jerry Colangelo, Chairman of the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame. “We congratulate our finalists and looking forward to revealing the Class of 2019 at the NCAA Final Four in Minneapolis this spring.”
Announced in December 2017, two modifications have been made to the election process starting with the Class of 2018. Potential honorees are eligible on the ballot for Hall of Fame enshrinement after three full seasons of retirement. The second notable reform to Hall of Fame eligibility requires coaches to have coached for 25 years and reached the minimum age of 60. This allows the Honors Committee to evaluate a larger body of work for those coaches nominated. This change will take effect in 2020, allowing a grace period for coaches who are nearing Hall of Fame eligibility based on previous standards.
The complete list of 10 finalists from the North American Screening Committee includes: players Marques Johnson, Bobby Jones, Sidney Moncrief, Jack Sikma, Ben Wallace, Chris Webber and Paul Westphal; coaches Bill Fitch and Eddie Sutton; and referee Hugh Evans. The three finalists from the Women’s Screening Committee include: player Theresa Weatherspoon; and coaches Leta Andrews and Barbara Stevens.
The Class of 2019 will be announced at a press conference in Minneapolis, Minnesota at the NCAA Men’s Final Four. Enshrinees from the Direct Elect Committees are also recognized at the NCAA Men’s Final Four and include Early African-American Pioneers, International, Contributors, Veterans and the new Women Veterans. A finalist needs 18 of 24 votes from the Honors Committee for election into the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame. The Class of 2019 will be enshrined during festivities in Springfield, Massachusetts, the birthplace of basketball, September 5-7, 2019. Tickets for the various Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame Class of 2019 Enshrinement events are on sale at www.hoophall.com.
HUGH EVANS [Referee] – Evans, a native of Squire, West Virginia, was a dual sport athlete who played baseball in the San Francisco Giant’s system before serving as an NBA Official for 28 consecutive years. From 1972-2001, he officiated nearly 2,000 regular season games, 170 NBA Playoff games, 35 NBA Finals games and four NBA All-Star games. His officiating career also included the Rucker Park Summer Pro League and serving as the NBA Assistant Supervisor of Officials (2001-03). Evans has been inducted into the New York City Basketball Hall of Fame and the Hall of Fame of his alma mater, North Carolina A&T.
BILL FITCH [Coach] – Fitch, a native of Davenport, Iowa, coached in the NBA for 25 seasons, being named Coach of the Year twice (1976, 1980). In 1996, he was named to the NBA’s Ten Best Coaches of All Time. He led the Boston Celtics to a Championship (1981) and still holds the highest winning percentage in Celtics history (.738). He is the second coach in NBA history to lead a team to three straight 60-win seasons. Prior to coaching in the NBA, Fitch coached collegiately for twelve years leading North Dakota University to consecutive NCAA Division II Final Fours (1965, 1966). He was the recipient of the Chuck Daly Lifetime Achievement Award during the 2012-13 NBA season.
MARQUES JOHNSON [Player] – Johnson is a five-time NBA All-Star (1979-81, 1983, 1986) and a member of the 1978 NBA All-Rookie First Team and the 1979 All-NBA First Team. In 11 NBA seasons, he averaged 20.1 points and 7.0 rebounds per game. As a student-athlete at UCLA under the direction of Hall of Famer John Wooden, Johnson was a member of an NCAA national championship team (1975). In 1977, he was named the consensus National Collegiate Player of the Year. Johnson has been inducted into the UCLA Athletics Hall of Fame (1988) and the Collegiate Basketball Hall of Fame (2013).
BOBBY JONES [Player] - Jones is an eight-time NBA All-Defensive First Team member (1977-84) and NBA Champion with the Philadelphia 76ers (1983). He is also a four-time NBA All-Star (1977, 1978, 1981, 1982) and the recipient of the 1983 NBA Sixth Man Award. Prior to the Nuggets joining the NBA, Jones was named to the ABA All-Rookie Team (1975), ABA All-Defensive Team twice (1975, 1976) and ABA All-Star Team (1976). As a collegiate athlete, Jones led North Carolina to an NCAA Final Four (1972) and was named a consensus second team All-American (1974). In 1972, Jones represented the USA in Munich, Germany, bringing home an Olympic silver medal.
SIDNEY MONCRIEF [Player] - Moncrief is a five-time NBA All-Star (1982-1986) and two-time NBA Defensive Player of the Year (1983,1984). He earned NBA All-Defensive Team honors four times (1983-1986) and All-NBA First Team in 1983. In 11 NBA seasons with the Milwaukee Bucks and Atlanta Hawks, he averaged 15.6 points and 4.7 rebounds. He played for the University of Arkansas from 1975-79,averaging 16.9 points and 8.3 rebounds per game. Moncrief led the NCAA in field goal percentage during the 1975-76 season at .665 and earned Consensus First Team All-America in 1979.
JACK SIKMA [Player] – Sikma is a seven-time NBA All-Star (1979-85) and NBA Champion with the Seattle SuperSonics (1979). He was named to the NBA All-Rookie First Team in 1978 and is the only center in NBA history to lead the league in single-season free throw percentage at .922 (1987-88). In his 14 NBA seasons, Sikma averaged 15.6 points, 9.8 rebounds, and 3.2 assists per game. Collegiately, Sikma averaged 21.2 points and 13.1 rebounds per game at Illinois Wesleyan, leading the team to three College Conference of Illinois and Wisconsin championships. Sikma was twice named a First-Team NAIA All-American and Academic All-American (1976, 1977).
EDDIE SUTTON [Coach] - The four-time National Coach of the Year (1977, 1978, 1986, 1995) and eight-time Conference Coach of the Year (1975, 1977, 1979, 1981, 1986, 1993, 1998, 2004) is the first coach in NCAA history to lead four different schools in the NCAA Tournament. Sutton currently ranks seventh among Division I coaches in all-time victories and has recorded only one losing season in 37 years of coaching. He coached Oklahoma State University from 1991-2006 and tied the conference record for wins by a first-year coach with 24. Sutton guided his teams to three Final Fours, six Elite Eights and 12 Sweet Sixteen appearances.
BEN WALLACE [Player] - Wallace is a four-time NBA Defensive Player of the Year (2002, 2003, 2005, 2006), four-time NBA All-Star (2003-06) and NBA Champion with the Detroit Pistons (2004). He earned NBA All-Defensive Team honors five times (2002-2006) and All-NBA Second Team three times (2003, 2004, 2006), while leading the NBA in rebounds per games (2002, 2003) and blocked shots (2002). As a collegiate athlete at Virginia Union University, Wallace was a CIAA Tournament Champion and Tournament MVP in 1995 and a Division II First Team All-American in 1996.
CHRIS WEBBER [Player] - Webber is a five-time NBA All-Star (1997, 2000-2003) and the 1994 NBA Rookie of the Year. He earned All-NBA First Team honors in 2001 and All-NBA Second Team three times (1999, 2002, 2003). He led the NBA in rebounds per game during the 1998-1999 season and averaged more than 20 points per game for nine consecutive seasons (1994-2003). As a member of the “Fab Five,” Webber led University of Michigan to Final Four appearances in 1992 and 1993 and was a Unanimous First Team All-America selection in 1993. As a high school standout at Detroit Country Day School, he was named the McDonald’s All-American Game MVP, Michigan’s Mr. Basketball, and the Naismith Prep Player of the Year in 1991.
PAUL WESTPHAL [Player] – Westphal is a five-time NBA All-Star (1977-81), three-time All-NBA First Team member (1977, 1979, 1980) and NBA Champion with the Boston Celtics (1974). In his 12 NBA seasons, he averaged 15.6 points and 4.4 assists per game, including over 20 points per game for five consecutive seasons. A native of southern California, Westphal was a collegiate standout at USC, earning AP Second Team All-America (1971) and averaging over 20 points and 5 assists per game his senior year (1972). Westphal has been inducted in the USC Hall of Fame (1997), Pac-12 Hall of Honor (2008) and the Phoenix Suns Ring of Honor (1998).
Women’s Committee Finalists:
LETA ANDREWS [Coach] – Andrews coached high school basketball for over fifty years and is the all-time winningest high school coach, male or female. She has coached five high schools in Texas since 1962 and has led them to sixteen state Final Four appearances, plus a state championship in 1990. Andrews has served as Head coach of the McDonald’s All-American Game West team (2004) and Gatorade All-America team (2009). She was named the NHSCA National High School Coach of the Year (2007) and recipient of the Morgan Wootten Lifetime Achievement Award (2007). She has been inducted into the High School Basketball Hall of Fame (1995) and Women’s Basketball Hall of Fame (2010).
BARBARA STEVENS [Coach] – Coaching in the collegiate ranks for over 40 years, Stevens is the fifth coach in NCAA women’s basketball history to reach 1,000 career wins. She has been named the Russell Athletic / WBCA Division II National Coach of the Year five times (1992, 1999, 2001, 2013, 2014) and Northeast-10 Coach of the Year 15 times (1988, 1989, 1991-1993, 1996-2001, 2003, 2011, 2014, 2018). As the head coach of Bentley University since 1986, she has guided her team to 22 25-win seasons and 10 trips to the Division II Fab Four, including a national championship in 2014. Stevens has been inducted into the New England Basketball Hall of Fame (2002) and Women’s Basketball Hall of Fame (2006).
TERESA WEATHERSPOON [Player] – Weatherspoon is a five-time WNBA All-Star (1999-2003) and two-time WNBA Defensive Player of the Year (1997, 1998). Recognized as an iconic player with the New York Liberty, she was the first player to tally 1,000 points and 1,000 assists in the WNBA. Internationally, Weatherspoon is a six-time Italian League All-Star (1989-1994), two-time Russian League champion (1995,1996), and an Olympic gold medalist (1988). A native of Jasper, Texas, Weatherspoon played for Louisiana Tech University (1984-1988) where she was named to the Kodak All-America Team twice (1987, 1988). In 1988, she led her team to an NCAA Championship and was named the recipient of the Wade Trophy. Weatherspoon was inducted into the Women’s Basketball Hall of Fame in 2010.