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Sports >  Gonzaga basketball

Gonzaga’s John Stockton headlines college hoops Hall of Fame class

In this Feb. 18, 2014 file photo, John Stockton, with his wife Nada, turns to the crowd in The Kennel to show the jersey Gonzaga retired in his honor. (Christopher Anderson / The Spokesman-Review)
In this Feb. 18, 2014 file photo, John Stockton, with his wife Nada, turns to the crowd in The Kennel to show the jersey Gonzaga retired in his honor. (Christopher Anderson / The Spokesman-Review)
By Dave Skretta Associated Press

KANSAS CITY, Mo. – Long before John Stockton became synonymous with the Utah Jazz and Tim Duncan became known for playing for the San Antonio Spurs, they established themselves as household names thanks to their exploits in college.

Stockton headlined Gonzaga. Duncan starred at Wake Forest.

Now, they are being honored for it.

Stockton and Duncan are the headliners of the latest class that will be inducted into the National Collegiate Basketball Hall of Fame later this year. They’ll be joined by former Duke star Jay Williams, Winston-Salem State’s Cleo Hill, Indiana’s Scott May, Purdue star Rick Mount and Creighton’s Paul Silas.

Longtime coach Bo Ryan, who led Wisconsin to a pair of Final Fours, will also be inducted during a ceremony Nov. 19 in downtown Kansas City.

“Collectively, this group broke barriers, won championships, set records, competed for their country and left a lasting mark on the coaching profession,” said Reggie Minton, who heads the selection panel. “Each inductee is uniquely deserving of a permanent place in our game’s history.”

Stockton spent four years at Gonzaga, where he remains the school’s career steals leader and ranks fourth in assists. The Bulldogs, now a fixture in the NCAA Tournament, never achieved the same heights with Stockton on the floor in the early 1980s, but that didn’t stop him from becoming a first-round draft pick.

He had a 19-year career with the Jazz, finishing as the NBA’s career leader in steals and assists. He also helped the U.S. win Olympic gold medals in 1992 and 1996.

Duncan led the Demon Deacons to four NCAA Tournaments in the 1990s, challenging North Carolina and Duke for ACC supremacy, and went to the Sweet 16 as a sophomore and Elite Eight as a junior. He was chosen No. 1 overall by San Antonio in 1997, and proceeded to win five NBA title and two MVP awards.

Williams was one of Duke’s most decorated players, leading the Blue Devils to the 2001 national title, before the Chicago Bulls made him the second overall pick in the 2002 draft. A motorcycle accident that left him with serious injuries derailed his professional career before it really began.

Hill, who died in 2015 at the age of 77, averaged more than 25 points for Clarence “Big House” Gaines at Winston-Salem State. He then became the first player from a historically black college to be drafted in the first round when the St. Louis Hawks chose him eighth overall.

May was a standout for the Hoosiers under Bob Knight in the 1970s, shortly after Mount put together a sterling career for rival Purdue. Silas starred for the Bluejays before winning three NBA titles as a player and coaching four different NBA franchises.

Ryan led Wisconsin-Platteville to four Division III national championships before leaving for Milwaukee, where he turned the low-major school into a powerhouse. That got him hired by Wisconsin, where he piled up a school-record 364 wins over 14-plus seasons and never finished lower than fourth in the Big Ten.

He led the Badgers to the Final Four in 2014 and the national title game the following year, where they lost to Duke in a memorable back-and-forth game in Indianapolis.

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