The complete list of finalists
includes 10 candidates from the North American Screening Committee:
players Drexler, Bobby Jones, the late Gus Johnson, Bernard King and
Chet Walker; coaches Calhoun, Gene Keady and Bill Sharman; and
contributors Colangelo and Dick Vitale.
The other six finalists are
coach Harley Redin and player Woodard, candidates from the Women's
Screening Committee; players Drazen Dalipagic from the former
Yugoslavia and Hortencia Marcari from Brazil, candidates from the
International Screening Committee; and contributor Kerr and the late
player Maurice Stokes, candidates from the Veterans Screening
Drexler and Woodard are
finalists in their first year of eligibility. Calhoun, King, Vitale,
Kerr, Stokes and Marcari are first-time finalists. The remaining
finalists have been previously considered by the Honors Committee.
A finalist needs 18 of 24 votes
from the Honors Committee for election into the Naismith Memorial
Basketball Hall of Fame. The class of 2004 will be announced on
Monday, April 5, at a news conference in San Antonio, Texas, prior
to the NCAA men's championship game. Induction will be Sept. 10.
Former Illini selected as finalists
Jerry Colangelo, a native of
Chicago Heights, Ill., has been involved in basketball since earning
all-state selection honors at Bloom Township High School in 1957 and
then becoming an all-conference selection at the University of
Illinois in 1961 and 1962. Colangelo's professional career began in
1966, when he was named head scout and sales and promotion manager
for the expansion Chicago Bulls.
Two years later, in 1968, he
was named general manager of the expansion Phoenix Suns. At age 28,
he was the youngest general manager in professional sports.
Now the CEO and chairman of the
Phoenix Suns, Colangelo has been named NBA Executive of the Year
four times (1976, 1981, 1989, 1993) and oversees a club that, over
the last 23 years, is the fifth winningest franchise in the NBA.
During Colangelo's tenure as president and CEO of the Suns
(1987-99), the club advanced to the NBA finals in 1976 and 1993.
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Under Colangelo's leadership,
the Suns drafted Georgi Glouchkov of Bulgaria in 1985, making him
the first player from behind the iron curtain to sign an NBA
contract. In 1988, the Suns played the Utah Jazz in Japan, the first
time that NBA teams played regular-season games outside of North
Colangelo is a member of the
NBA's Board of Governors (1968-present), is on the NBA Expansion
Committee and is chairman of the Competition and Rules Committee. He
was instrumental in helping found the WNBA.
Johnny Kerr, a native of
Chicago, Ill., has contributed to basketball for more than 50 years
as a player, coach, executive and broadcaster.
An all-state scholastic
selection at Tilden Technical School in Chicago, Kerr starred as the
University of Illinois, where he led the Illini to the 1952 Final
Four and finished his three-year career in 1954 as the school's
all-time scorer. His final season, Kerr was an all-conference and
Big 10 MVP selection.
Kerr was the sixth overall pick
in the 1954 draft and played professionally with the Syracuse
Nationals (1954-63), Philadelphia 76ers (1963-65) and the Baltimore
Bullets (1969-70). He was a member of Syracuse's 1955 championship
team and earned all-star honors in 1956, 1959 and 1963.
He played in a then-record 844
consecutive games, making him one of the NBA's first iron men. For
his career, Kerr scored 13,413 points and grabbed 10,930 rebounds.
After his playing days, Kerr
became a coach with the Chicago Bulls and Phoenix Suns. He was named
NBA Coach of the Year in 1967 for his efforts in taking the
expansion Bulls to the playoffs.
Kerr then became an executive
with the ABA's Virginia Squires and Chicago Bulls. In 1975, he
joined the Bulls' broadcasting team as a color commentator, a
position he continues to hold.
more information on the other finalists, visit
[Provided by Howie Davis, director of sports media,
Basketball Hall of Fame]