KANSAS CITY -- Former Indiana University men's basketball All-American and current Pacers Vice President of Communications and FOX Sports Indiana broadcaster Quinn Buckner, who helped lead the Hoosiers to a perfect season and the 1976 NCAA Championship, is one of five former college basketball standouts in the 2015 induction class of the National Collegiate Basketball Hall of Fame. The National Collegiate Basketball Hall of Fame was established in 2006 and Buckner is the fourth former IU player to be inducted, joining Branch McCracken, Walt Bellamy and Isiah Thomas, who were honored in 2006. IU Coaches Bob Knight and Everett Dean also were inducted in 2006.
It's quite an honor. There's no question about it," Buckner said. "But you don't do things like this unless you have a great support system, which I've had."
Buckner joins Kansas State's Rolando Blackman, Ohio State's John Havlicek, Long Beach State's Ed Ratleff and North Carolina's Charlie Scott as the headline players in the National Collegiate Basketball Hall of Fame's induction class of 2015. Joining them for the 10th enshrinement ceremony are legendary coaches Don Donoher of Dayton, C. Felton "Zip" Gayles of Langston and Lou Henson, who coached at Hardin-Simmons, New Mexico State and Illinois.
The Class of 2015 will be inducted into the National Collegiate Basketball Hall of Fame Friday, November 20, 2015, at the Arvest Bank Theatre at the Midland in Kansas City as part of a three-day celebration of college basketball. Tickets will be available to the general public online beginning August 1, 2015. For more information, follow @CBHOF on Twitter or visit www.collegebasketballhalloffame.com.
The National Collegiate Basketball Hall of Fame is located in the College Basketball Experience (CBE), a world-class entertainment facility adjacent to Kansas City's Sprint Center, which will serve as the venue of the annual CBE Hall of Fame Classic. The annual four-team tournament will take place at the end of the enshrinement weekend on November 23-24 and will feature Kansas State, Missouri, North Carolina and Northwestern. Tickets for the Classic will be available through www.axs.com and www.cbehalloffameclassic.com, as well as by phone at 1-888-929-7849 or in person at the Sprint Center box office starting Friday, March 20.
Kansas State's Rolando Blackman was the Big-8 Player of the Year in 1980 and a three-time first-team All-Conference selection. Also the Big 8 Defensive Player of the Year three times, Blackman went on to play 13 seasons in the NBA with the Dallas Mavericks and New York Knicks and earn four All-Star selections.
A three-year captain at Indiana for Coach Bob Knight, Quinn Buckner was a key member of IU's 1975-76 NCAA Championship team, which is the last team to go unbeaten throughout an entire season and post-season. He is one of only three players to win a title at the high school, college, NBA and Olympic level, joining Jerry Lucas and Magic Johnson.
"I played with very smart and terrific teammates," Buckner explained, "And that's what this is more about. This is about Indiana University and the team that we played on. This is not about an individual."
When asked how his time at IU influenced his career as a professional, Buckner replied: "I don't have the NBA career if I don't go through what I went through at IU. It made me better and more prepared to handle (the NBA)."
John Havlicek, a 1962 All-American under Coach Fred Taylor at Ohio State, helped the Buckeyes win the NCAA title in 1960. He went on to play his entire 16-year professional with the Boston Celtics, winning eight NBA championships and earning 13 All-Star selections. Named one of the NBA's 50 greatest players, Havlicek was inducted into the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame in 1984.
Ed Ratleff was a two-time All-American (1972, 1973) for Coach Jerry Tarkanian at Long Beach State and still holds the school record for career scoring average (21.4 ppg). He also was a member of Coach Henry Iba's 1972 U.S. Olympic team that played in the controversial Olympic final against the Soviet Union, refusing to accept their silver medals after the loss.
A two-time All-American (1969, 1970) and the Atlantic Coast Conference Athlete of the Year in 1970 under Coach Dean Smith, North Carolina's Charlie Scott was the Tar Heels' first African-American scholarship athlete. After helping UNC to the Final Four in 1968 and 1969, Scott played in the ABA and NBA, winning a championship with the Boston Celtics in 1976.
The three coaches being inducted--Donoher, Gayles and Henson--combined for more than 1,800 career wins. Donoher spent his entire 25-year career at his alma mater, the University of Dayton, where he amassed a 437-275 record. He led the Flyers to eight NCAA tournament appearances, including the National Championship game in 1967, which they lost to John Wooden's UCLA Bruins.
Gayles joined Langston University in 1930 as a social science instructor, athletic director and the head football, basketball and baseball coach. From 1944 to 1946, his basketball teams, led by long-time Harlem Globetrotters star Marques Haynes, won 51 straight games, had an overall record of 571-281 and won two National Negro Championships. Gayles, who died in 1985, was often referred to as "a maker of champions and a molder of coaches."
After beginning his career as a head coach at Hardin-Simmons University, Henson went on to have two successful stints at New Mexico State sandwiched around 21 years at Illinois. With almost 800 career victories, Henson guided New Mexico State to the Final Four in 1970 and took the Fighting Illini to the Final Four in 1989.
"Recognizing the coaching legends in this Class of 2015, Don Donoher and Lou Henson took their teams to the NCAA Final Four while Zip Gayles was a trailblazer and role model for athletes and coaches," said Reggie Minton, deputy executive director of the National Association of Basketball Coaches and chair of the Hall of Fame selection panel. "The men selected as players include some great all-around athletes who helped lead their teams to championships in the NCAA, Olympic Games and the NBA."
In 2006 the first class was inducted into the newly formed National Collegiate Basketball Hall of Fame. That class included the game's inventor, James Naismith, and possibly its greatest coach, John Wooden. Since that time, eight more classes have been inducted and have included the likes of Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, Danny Manning, Larry Bird, Earvin "Magic" Johnson and Shaquille O'Neal.
"Indiana helped mold a lot of the things that I'm about, in terms of being able to persevere through difficult times," Buckner said. "I've just been at the right place at the right time all throughout my career."