Monday
Jun282010

Dalembert, Boeheim and Harris Named Winners of The Mannie Jackson Basketball’s Human Spirit Award

- Basketball Hall of Fame Recognizes Leaders from Professional, Amateur and Grassroots Basketball for their Humanitarian Efforts -

SPRINGFIELD – The Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame today announced that Sacramento Kings center Samuel Dalembert of Haiti, Hall of Fame Coach Jim Boeheim of Syracuse University and Alfreda Harris, a community leader from Massachusetts, have been named winners of the 2010 Mannie Jackson – Basketball’s Human Spirit Award, presented by CSX. The winners will be recognized on August 12 during events leading up to the 2010 Basketball Hall of Fame Enshrinement Ceremonies.

“The Mannie Jackson – Basketball’s Human Spirit Award is presented annually to individuals who have honored the game of basketball by virtue of their personal growth and life-long accomplishments,” said John L. Doleva, President and CEO of the Basketball Hall of Fame. “We are proud to recognize three distinguished members of the basketball community for their many contributions on and off the court.”

The basic criteria for award winners includes embracing the core values of the game, hard-work, striving to improve the community and making a commitment to others.  Beyond the game, award winners must reflect the values of Mannie Jackson’s life-long mission to overcome obstacles and challenge the status quo, while taking responsibility for his or her actions and seeking the highest standard of excellence.

Dalembert, Boeheim and Harris were chosen from a group of six finalists after nominations were screened by a selection committee, appointed by the Hall of Fame and Mr. Jackson. Beginning in 2009, the finalists were grouped in three categories, representing the professional, amateur and grassroots levels of basketball.

Previous winners of the award include former Georgetown University center and NBA Global Ambassador Dikembe Mutombo; Philadelphia legend Sonny Hill; Hall of Famer David Robinson, along with 2009 tri-winners, former NBA official Ken Hudson, Hall of Famer Bob Lanier and former NBA All-Star and Georgetown standout Alonzo Mourning.

Representing the Professional ranks:

Samuel Dalembert, Sacramento Kings center – A UNICEF national ambassador for Haiti who donated more than $125,000 to assist earthquake relief efforts in his homeland. In 2007, he started the Samuel Dalembert Foundation to help better the lives of people in Haiti. Dalembert, recently traded to Sacramento from the Philadelphia 76ers, was an active participant in NBA Cares activities while with the Sixers and he frequently participated in the Basketball without Borders program.

Representing the Amateur ranks:

Jim Boeheim, Syracuse University head coach – A member of the Coaches vs. Cancer Council who has helped raise $2.9 million over the past nine years by conducting the annual “Basket Ball” Gala in Syracuse. Overall, he helped raise more than $4.5 million for the American Cancer Society. Boeheim volunteers his time and services to charitable organizations, including Crouse Hospital’s Kienzle Family Maternity Center, the Children’s Miracle Network, the Eldercare Foundation, the Make-A-Wish Foundation and the Special Olympics.

Representing the Grassroots ranks:

Alfreda Harris – Founded the SAT Preparation Program serving high school students in Boston while founding and coordinating girls’ basketball leagues and AAU teams for the city.  Harris also founded the Owen Wells Fitness Center and the Reebok Educational Athletic Partnership that provides students with community programs in social development, computer skills and tutoring. Serves as a Board member for the Shelbourne, Mass. Community Council, Boston Neighborhood Basketball League and the Police Athletic League.

Wednesday
Jun232010

Basketball Hall of Fame to Host “Legends of the Game”  

-- Class of 2010 Hall of Famer Cynthia Cooper to headline summer series of basketball appearances and clinics by former NBA, WNBA and College stars to be staged on Hall’s “Center Court --

SPRINGFIELD, MA – The Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame today announced its schedule for a summer series of appearances and basketball clinics to be conducted by former NBA, WNBA and College basketball stars.  The “Legends of the Game” series will run from July 1 through August 7 and will feature some of the game’s star players, including Cynthia Cooper, a member of the Hall of Fame’s incoming Class of 2010.

Throughout the “Legends of the Game” series, patrons of the Basketball Hall of Fame will have the opportunity to meet some of the best former players to ever play the game while they recall basketball history during informal Q&A sessions, sign autographs, pose for pictures or conduct simple basketball skills clinics.  The series is designed to be fun for basketball fans of all ages.

The summer schedule for the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame “Legends of the Game” series with appearances scheduled to begin at 1pm: (Schedule is subject to change. Please see hoophall.com for updates)

July 1               Albert King - Nine-year NBA veteran and former University of Maryland star

July 9               Cynthia Cooper – A member of the Hall of Fame’s incoming Class of 2010

July 17             Felipe Lopez – Former NBA star from St. John’s University in NY

July 21             Spencer Haywood – Former NBA All-Star and 1968 Olympic Gold Medalist

August 6          Gail Goodrich – Hall of Fame guard who won titles with the LA Lakers and UCLA

August 7          Chris Webber – NBA All-Star and collegiate star at Michigan, now with NBA TV

Saturday
Jun052010

John Wooden, "Greatest Coach Ever" Passes Away at the Age of 99

John Wooden, one of three current Basketball Hall of Famers to be enshrined as both a player and a coach passed away Friday evening in California at the age of 99.  Wooden, was inducted as a player with the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame in 1961 and as a coach in 1973.

In a statement released by John L. Doleva, President & CEO of the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame, Doleva said, “Like the inventor of the game, James Naismith, John Wooden was a teacher, a mentor, a philosopher and a friend to all he met. He understood the very special nature of the game and motivated his players and his competition to be their very best on and off the court. He will be sadly missed by the entire basketball community but his life will be celebrated for its impact on both basketball and mankind.”

Wooden, born October 14, 1910 in Martinsville, Indiana played his college basketball at Purdue University where he earned the nickname “Indiana Rubber Man” for his suicidal dives on the court.  He was a three-time Helms Athletic Foundation All-America from 1930-1932 and led Purdue to the 1932 National Championship.  Prior to becoming the coach at UCLA, Wooden started his coaching at the high school level before moving on to Indiana State.  While at UCLA, Wooden would lead the Bruins to four 30-0 seasons and 88 overall consecutive victories.  The Bruins won 19 PAC 10 Championships and won 38 straight NCAA Tournament games.  Under his guidance the Bruins would win ten National Championships including seven in a row and would compile a 149-2 home record.  He was named the NCAA College Basketball Coach of the Year six times, The Sporting News Sports Man of the Year in 1970, and the Sports Illustrated Man of the Year in 1973.  During his 40 years of coaching he compiled a 885-203 record.  

Friday
Jun042010

NBA Finals Photo Exhibit In Its Final Weeks On Display At Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame

SPRINGFIELD, MASS – As the 2010 NBA Finals tip-off with the Boston Celtics facing the Los Angeles Lakers in what promises to be a very memorable series, the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame in Springfield, Massachusetts, boasts a timely exhibit of original portrait and action sports photography depicting memorable match-ups and moments in the recent history of the NBA Finals, shot by Andrew D. Bernstein, Senior Director, NBA Photos.

The solo exhibition, previously showcased in Los Angeles during the 2009 NBA Finals, covers images of the NBA Finals captured by the lens of Bernstein from 1983 through 2009. The exhibit is in its final weeks on display at the Basketball Hall of Fame.

Bernstein studied communications at the University of Massachusetts, Amherst, and graduated from Art Center College of Design in Pasadena, California before beginning his long association with the NBA as a founding member of the league’s photo division. For almost 30 years he has played a major role in chronicling the NBA’s history photographically. His work frequently appears in national publications such as Sports Illustrated, ESPN the Magazine, The Sporting News, Time, and Newsweek. Bernstein’s work regularly greets visitors to NBA.com and other worldwide Internet sites and publications. Bernstein has photographed nearly 150 NBA Finals games, the most by any photographer in the league history, and has captured some of the greatest moments in basketball history, both on and off the court.

The exhibit consists of 30 photographs carefully selected by the photographer. “A lot of time and reminiscing went into choosing these photos,” said Bernstein. “Twenty-seven years of NBA Finals supplied me with an amazing collection of memorable moments.

The exhibit has been on display since last August.  “I’ve enjoyed having my work displayed at the Hall of Fame, right in Western Massachusetts where my dream started,” added Bernstein. “The Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame is the pinnacle of the sport. The recognition doesn’t get any better than this.”

Wednesday
May122010

Basketball Hall of Fame Announces Key Teams and Dates for 2010 Tip-Off Tournament

Tip-Off returns to Springfield November 20 and 21

SPRINGFIELD, MASS.The Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame announced today the return of a 27-year Springfield tradition.  The Basketball Hall of Fame Tip-Off Tournament will take place at the MassMutual Center on Saturday November 20 and Sunday November 21.  Eight schools will participate in two brackets of four teams over two days in an NCAA exempt tournament.

In addition to the two brackets that will play in Springfield, each of the participating schools will play against each other in two additional games to be hosted on campus by Bradley University, New Mexico State University, University of Massachusetts, and University of Southern California

In games scheduled for Saturday November 20th at the MassMutual Center in Springfield – Bradley University will match up with the University of Southern California and New Mexico State University will play the University of Massachusetts.  The winners and losers of the Saturday games will play on Sunday in the consolation and championship games.

“The Hall of Fame has a proud tradition of hosting premiere college basketball events and the return of the Hall’s college basketball property to the city of Springfield should create an exciting atmosphere for each institution and the fans” said John L. Doleva, President and CEO of the Basketball Hall of Fame.  “We look forward to welcoming each of these schools to the Basketball Hall of Fame and creating a weekend celebration in Springfield for many years to come.”   

The Basketball Hall of Fame, in conjunction with the awarding of the conference tournament, has extended the partnership with the Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference to serve as the event’s sponsoring conference, serve in various operational roles and to provide an annual participant in the field of teams.  Rider University will serve as the conferences participant.  The Basketball Hall of Fame along with the MassMutual Center will serve as hosts for the Men’s and Women’s MAAC Championships from 2012 – 2014.

"The MAAC membership in looking to grow its relationship with the Basketball Hall of Fame, the MassMutual Center and the City of Springfield was eager to extend its expertise and provide staffing for The Basketball Hall of Fame Tip-Off Tournament as the event's sponsor," notes Richard J. Ensor, MAAC Commissioner.  "The MAAC prides itself on its record of hosting league and NCAA Championships, and exempt events in venues throughout the country and looks forward to great college hoops next November in the city that prides itself as the birthplace of basketball."

The complete schedule of campus site games will be announced at a later date as well as the remaining four schools, television information and ticket information.

2010 Basketball Hall of Fame Tip-Off Tournament Hosts

Bradley University – Representing the Missouri Valley Conference, the Bradley University Braves will enter the 2010-11 season coming off a 16-15 campaign that included victories over nationally-ranked squads from the University of Illinois and University of Northern Iowa.  The Braves will return the top-scoring trio in The Valley – senior guards Sam Maniscalco and Andrew Warren, as well as junior forward Taylor Brown – in addition to several other key pieces that will make them a contender in the highly-competitive Missouri Valley Conference.  Sophomore guard Jake Eastman is the son of Boston Celtics assistant coach Kevin Eastman.

New Mexico State University – The defending Western Athletic Conference (WAC) tournament champions are coming off a 22-12 season and NCAA tournament appearance that saw them nearly upset Final Four participant Michigan State.  The Aggies entered the NCAA tournament as the #12 seed in the Midwest after defeating Nevada, Utah State and San Jose State in the conference tournament.  Returning for the Aggies will be three of their top five in Troy Gillenwater, Wendell McKines and Hamidu Rahman.

University of Massachusetts – Led by Springfield native Derek Kellogg, the Minutemen welcome back the majority of its team in Kellogg’s third season.  Terrell Vinson and Anthony Gurley are the top returning scorers and they will be joined by a strong recruiting class and group of returning players which should help UMass be a player in the strong Atlantic 10 Conference.   

University of Southern California – The Trojans from the Pac-10 Conference are looking to build off a 16-14 season that saw victories against NCAA tournament teams Tennessee, St. Mary’s, UNLV, Washington and California.  Led by Kevin O’Neill, USC will return 13 players from its roster and adds a strong recruiting class to a team that sat atop the Pac-10 Conference standings during the regular season.

About the Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference

The MAAC, headquartered in Edison, N.J., consists of 10 member institutions: Canisius College, Fairfield University, Iona College, Loyola University Maryland, Manhattan College, Marist College, Niagara University, Rider University, Saint Peter's College and Siena College. For more on the conference, please visit www.maacsports.com