In a bit of a surprise – but in what is a great move – the University of Arizona Department of Athletics announced that former men’s basketball standouts Al Fleming (posthumously) and Ernie McCray will be inducted into the Ring of Honor at halftime of the Feb. 27 game in the McKale Center against Washington.
Due to the COVID-19 restrictions in place, the induction on Feb. 27 will be a virtual ceremony. The families of both inductees will be invited to the McKale Center for a formal in-person induction ceremony at a later date.
Al Fleming, who passed away in 2003, played at Arizona from 1972-76 and still holds the school record for career double-doubles (53), a stat that was not tracked during his playing days. He also continues to hold the school record for career rebounds (1,190). At the end of his playing career, he was Arizona’s career leader in scoring with 1,765 points, a total that still ranks 10th in program lore. The Michigan City, Indiana native finished his illustrious career averaging 15.5 points and 10.4 rebounds while shooting 58.3% from the floor. During the 1973-74 season, Fleming connected at a 66.7% clip from the floor to lead the country and tie the NCAA single-season record at the time. On Jan. 10, 1976, he set the McKale Center record for points scored in a game, registering 41 against Detroit – with 33 coming in the second half. He was named First Team All-WAC and NCAA First Team All-District 7 in 1975 and 1976. Fleming was inducted into the UA Sports Hall of Fame in 1978.
Ernie McCray lettered from 1957-60 and set 12 school records during his senior season and became the first African-American men’s basketball player to graduate from the University of Arizona. The Tucson native finished his career averaging 17.8 points and 10.8 rebounds and was the first player in school history to record 1,250 points and 800 rebounds in a career. The unanimous First Team All-Border Conference selection as a senior finished his career holding UA records for points in a career (1,349), season (573) and game (46) as well as single-season scoring average (23.8) and most field goals made in a season (198). His single-game scoring mark set on Feb. 6, 1960 still stands as the most points scored in a game by a Wildcat. McCray was also prolific in his day for getting to the foul line, logging 537 attempts at the charity stripe in his career. Following the 1960 season, McCray was named Third Team NABC All-District. He was inducted into the UA Sports Hall of Fame in 1988.
With the addition of Fleming and McCray, the total number of former men’s basketball players officially inducted into the Ring of Honor climbs to 28. Last year’s Pac-12 Freshman of the Year Zeke Nnaji has also qualified to be inducted, but an official induction date has not been determined.
The University of Arizona sports communications office provided information for this story.