Eight more men were elected to the National Collegiate Basketball Hall of Fame last month. None were named Sean Elliott.
Hello? Have you forgotten?
Not that there’s any rush — Elliott is only 48 — but perhaps the gentlemen at the National Association of Basketball Coaches need a reminder.
The area code is 520. We can get a message to Sean ASAP.
Jim Haney, president of the NABC, phoned the eight men selected to the class of 2016 late last month. One of those calls was answered by former Stanford/Cal basketball coach Mike Montgomery.
“I actually got pretty emotional,” Monty said. “It meant a lot to me.”
Montgomery has been out of college basketball for a mere two years. Elliott played his last college game 27 years ago.
If you scroll down the list of those who will be inducted into the NABC’s Hall of Fame on Nov. 18, you pause to ask:
Was La Salle’s Lionel Simmons, class of ’16, a better college ballplayer than Sean Elliott?
Is Georgia’s Dominique Wilkins, class of ’16, more qualified than Elliott?
Not even close.
Here’s one more: Elliott’s college career at Arizona was equal to that of UCLA’s well-publicized Sidney Wicks, one of John Wooden’s five players to be honored by the NABC in Kansas City.
When the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame in Springfield, Massachusetts, was tardy in electing Lute Olson, former UA athletic director Jim Livengood launched an aggressive, this-man-deserves-to-be-inducted campaign that brought proper attention to Olson’s career.
He was elected less than two years after Livengood proactively brought Olson’s name to the attention of the Naismith people.
There is a notable difference between the two halls of fame: The NABC is strictly for college players and coaches. The Naismith group chooses men and women from the NBA, WNBA and NCAA. It considers foreign players, referees and contributors to the game.
Here’s the case for Elliott over Wicks, Simmons and Wilkins.
Points scored: Simmons 3,217; Elliott 2,555; Wilkins 1,688; Wicks 1,423.
Opponents: Simmons’ La Salle Explorers played in the MAAC, which meant a yearly buffet of cupcakes such as Fairfield, Siena, Army and St. Peter’s. In his four years at La Salle, Simmons played against nine Top 25 teams; Elliott played 21 games against ranked teams at Arizona.
Awards: Elliott , a two-time consensus All-American, was the national player of the year in 1989. Simmons won the same award in 1990, but was a consensus All-American just once, in 1990. Wilkins was never a consensus All-American. Elliott was twice the Pac-10 player of the year. Wilkins was the SEC player of the year once, in 1981. Elliott was a three-time All-Pac-10 player. Wicks was on the All-Pac-8 first team twice, in 1970 and 1971.
Teams: Elliott’s Arizona teams went 105-28, played in four consecutive NCAA tournaments, reaching the 1988 Final Four and 1989 Sweet 16. Simmons’ Explorers went 100-31 and played in three NCAA tournaments, winning a single NCAA game. Wilkins’ Bulldogs never played in an NCAA tournament game, and went 52-37. At UCLA, Wicks’ Bruins dominated everyone, going 86-4 with three national championships.
Wicks and Wilkins grew their reputations in the NBA. Wicks was probably the most feared power forward in the game for five seasons. Wilkins made 11 NBA All-Star teams and scored 26,668 points.
Simmons had a modest pro career, scoring 5,823 points. Elliott scored 10,544, and was a two-time All-Star.
The NABC’s Hall of Fame is based strictly on college play, but there’s not much doubt voters were influenced by Wilkins’ NBA reputation, and to a lesser extent, that of Wicks.
The problem with getting bypassed in the yearly voting process is that you can be quickly forgotten.
Last month, for example, the NABC selected former Kansas State power forward Bob Boozer to the class of 2016.
Boozer died four years ago, at 75, and in retrospect, was deserving of induction long before his death.
At KSU from 1957-59, Boozer led the Wildcats to the ’58 Final Four, the ’59 Elite Eight, scored a then-school record 1,685 points, and was a consensus All-American in 1958 and 1959. It took Boozer 57 years to get properly recognized by the NABC’s Hall of Fame.
Some of it is understandable.
There is deep backlog of deserving Hall of Famers ; those who’ve been lost in time, such as Stanford’s Adam Keefe, UCLA’s Don MacLean, ASU’s Joe Caldwell and Utah’s Jerry Chambers, might not get that you’ve-been-elected phone call from the NABC in their lifetimes.
Arizona has played more than 800 games since Elliott left school, but his legacy has never been stronger.
It’s time for the NABC to put him on its list, do its homework, take a vote, and give him a call.