ATHENS — There will be a heavy Georgia presence in this year’s College Basketball Hall of Fame ceremony.
Dominique Wilkins and Hugh Durham, who led the Bulldogs to their highest heights, have been elected to the hall. The induction ceremonies are Nov. 18 in Kansas City, Mo.
Wilkins played at Georgia from 1979-82, leading the Bulldogs to their first postseason bid of any kind in 1981 – the NIT – and then the NIT semifinals a year later. “The Human Highlight Film” went on to a long NBA career.
“This is a huge honor for me, and one that makes me feel cherished and honored,” Wilkins said in a statement released by UGA.”I feel proud to have left a mark as a college player and am thrilled to be a part of this class. I truly appreciate the recognition as a basketball player and as a person.”
Durham is the winningest coach in Georgia men’s basketball history, with 297 victories. He coached Georgia to the Final Four in 1983 — the year after Wilkins departed for the NBA.
He was also Florida State’s coach from 1967-78, winning 230 games there and taking the Seminoles to the NCAA championship game in 1972. He’s one of 12 coaches to take two different schools to the Final Four.
“When you’ve been in the profession as long as I have been and for someone to think deserve this type of recognition makes you excited, but it also humbles you,” Durham said in the same statement. “After you get past that, you start thinking about all the people who enabled you to do this. I’m talking about the players, assistant coaches and the administrators. At least for me, that’s where most of my thoughts have been – all the relationships – because that’s really why coaches have the opportunity to be considered successful.”
The other inductees in the 2016 class are players Mark Aguirre (DePaul), Bob Boozer (Kansas State), Doug Collins (Illinois State), Lionel Simmons (LaSalle) and Jamaal Wilkes (UCLA), along with coach Mike Montgomery (Montana, Stanford and California.)
“I am so excited for both Coach Durham and Dominique on the announcement of their induction into the Collegiate Basketball Hall of Fame,” Georgia head coach Mark Fox said in a statement. “It is very meaningful as we work to enrich our tradition, that those who came before us are recognized for their accomplishments. They both have been great assets to me as we rebuilt our program. We are so proud that everyone will now be able to recognize their greatness and their contributions in the college hall of fame.”