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With Luke Walton becoming the latest to enter the Pac-12 Hall of Honor, the natural question becomes … who will be the next Arizona Wildcats great to be selected?
Well, at least it is for me and longtime Tucson sports journalist Anthony Gimino, who Tweeted earlier today: “Luke Walton to go into Pac-12 basketball Hall of Fame. So many good choices still for #ArizonaWildcats …”
All of Arizona’s choices to this point played with the Wildcats since the program joined the Pac-10 in 1978. The selections are not based on the years in which a program is affiliated with the conference, however.
ASU’s inductee into the Pac-12 Hall of Honor this year is Verl Heap, who played in the 1940s, when the Sun Devils and Wildcats were in the Border Conference. Utah and Colorado joined the conference only three years ago, so their honorees have to be from their pre-Pac-12 years.
Therefore, a Wildcat from any generation can be honored. It’s time for Bob “Big Bird” Elliott to get the recognition he deserves by entering the Pac-12 Hall of Honor. Elliott is one of only 107 players in college basketball to record at least 2,000 points and 1,000 rebounds in a career.
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HALL OF HONOR INDUCTEES
2002 — Sean Elliott
2003 — Steve Kerr
2004 — Khalid Reeves
2005 — Pete Williams
2006 — Damon Stoudamire
2007 — Chris Mills
2008 — Miles Simon
2009 — Lute Olson
2010 — Mike Bibby
2011 — Michael Dickerson
2012 — Richard Jefferson
2013 — Jason Gardner
2014 — Luke Walton
Arizona — Luke Walton
ASU — Verl Heap
California — David Butler
Colorado — Ken Charlton
Oregon — Frederick Jones
Oregon State — Lee Harman
Stanford — Mark Madsen
UCLA — Tyus Edney
USC — Wayne Carlander
Utah — Billy McGill
Washington — Brandon Roy
Washington State — Ed Gayda
Jason Terry, college basketball’s player of the year in 1999, is also overdue for the honor.
Other potential honorees next year: Russell Brown, Eddie Smith, Anthony Cook, Brian Williams, Sean Rooks, Ray Owes, Reggie Geary, Joseph Blair, A.J. Bramlett, Michael Wright, Hassan Adams, Salim Stoudamire, Channing Frye, Chase Budinger, Jordan Hill, Derrick Williams and Solomon Hill.
That’s not including the older generation of players such as Coniel Norman, Eric Money, Al Fleming, Larry Demic, Joe Skaisgir, Warren Rustand, Bill Reeves … and of course … Ernie McCray.
McCray is much more than Arizona’s single-game scoring-record holder with 49 points against Cal State-Los Angeles in 1960. He ranks seventh in career scoring average (17.8) and second in rebounding average (10.8).
More names could certainly be added to this list. I am sure I overlooked somebody I should not have left out. The Wildcats are not void of candidates. As far as coaching is concerned, it would be a nice touch to add the late Fred Snowden, the first African-American head basketball coach hired at a Division I institution, to the Pac-12 Hall of Honor.
He created the belief that Arizona could earn national success at a high level in the modern era, taking the Wildcats one game away from the Final Four in 1976.