Pitino leads class of 7 into Naismith Hall of Fame

When he was a young assistant with the Knicks from 1983-85, Pitino forged a relationship with King, one of the most feared scorers in his playing days.

“I remember Rick as a very young coach, a coach starting his career, a coach who knew the game,” said King, who averaged 22.0 points in his 15-year NBA career, including averaging 34.8 points in the 1984 NBA playoffs. “I remember Rick came with me to the NBA All-Star game and we were flying from Denver to San Antonio. We talked a lot about that even though we had some injuries we had to get off to a good start.

“That first game in San Antonio I scored 50 points. The next day in Dallas I had a milk shake and a turkey sandwich and scored 50 points again. I guess you can say this is the culmination of my life in basketball.”

Payton was known as “The Glove” for his defensive prowess in his years with the Seattle SuperSonics. He was a two-time Olympic gold medalist.

“I was an offensive-minded guy when I went to Oregon State and coach Ralph Miller pulled me to the side and said `You’ll be one of the greatest defensive point guards ever and I said to myself `Yeah right. I’m shooting every time I get the ball.’ I got really good at it and started liking it and took it from there,” Payton said.

Lewis led Houston to five Final Fours in his 30 years with the Cougars. His teams featured future Hall of Famers Clyde Drexler, Elvin Hayes and Hakeem Olajuwon.

Tarkanian took three schools to the NCAA tournament but he will always be known for his teams at UNLV that made four Final Four appearances and won it all in 1990.

Hatchell joins North Carolina men’s coaches Dean Smith and Roy Williams as Hall of Famers. She is one of three women’s coaches to record 900 victories and she has won national championships on three levels _ AIAW, NAIA and NCAA.

Staley was a three-time Olympic gold medalist, a five-time WNBA All-Star and two-time national college player of the year with the Cavaliers. She is the only player in women’s college basketball to record 2,000 points, 700 assists and 400 steals.

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