Basketball Hall of Fame introduces 2013 class - Western Mass News - WGGB/WSHM

Basketball Hall of Fame introduces 2013 class

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The Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame introduced its new inductees from the Class of 2013 on Monday.

"It's a remarkable class and recognizes many of the various constituents that we have in our game," said Hall of Fame President, John Doleva.

Chairman Jerry Colangelo said there is uniqueness about this year's members.

"I'm very proud of this class because it is so diverse. It represents all levels of basketball," said Colangelo.

One member of this year's class hold a local connection to Western Mass.

UMass Amherst grad and University of Louisville coach Rick Pitino headlined the class roster.

Pitino is a seven-time NCAA Final Four coach. He will attempt to lead the Louisville Cardinals to their third national title Monday night when they go up against Michigan.

Pitino is the only coach in men's history to lead three different schools to NCAA Final Four appearances.

He has won over 600 games in his collegiate career, reached the Final Four seven different times and he earned Coach of the Year honors from different sources three different years.

He joked saying he couldn't believe he got the call notifying him that he was chosen.

"When I hung up, I was looking around for lightening to hit me because it was such an unbelievable moment," said Pitino.

Also joining Pitino is nine-time all-star Gary Payton.

The Oregon State alum was an All-NBA first team selection in both 1998 and 2000 and he was named the NBA Defensive Player of the Year in 1996.

Payton made an appearance on the Olympic team in 1996 and 2000 where he brought home the gold to the U.S.

Payton said even with all he had accomplished, he would've never thought he'd be inducted.

"I just wanted to be a guy who was in the NBA doing something. I never thought of being in the Hall of Fame and I still don't feel like I'm here now," explained Payton.

Rounding off Monday's class list are four-time NCAA Final Four coach Jerry Tarkanian, five-time NCAA Final Four coach Guy Lewis, three time National Coach of the Year Sylvia Hatchell, five-time WNBA All-Star Dawn Staley, six-time NBA All Star Richard Guerin, four-time NBA All Star Bernarnd King, and the late Roger Brown who was voted in from the American Basketball Association.

An induction ceremony will be held in September at the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame in Springfield.

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