Utah’s basketball team will celebrate former Ute coach Rick Majerus’ induction into the National Collegiate Basketball Hall of Fame by waking up and playing a game Sunday morning, just what he would have enjoyed.
The Utes’ contest vs. Tulane in the consolation finals of the Myrtle Beach Invitational (8:30 a.m. MST) in South Carolina will precede the evening ceremony in Kansas City, Mo., where Majerus will be honored with two other coaches and six players.
Majerus, who died in 2012 at age 64, is remembered at Utah for his teams’ 12 appearances in the NCAA Tournament — including four trips to the Sweet 16, one to the Elite Eight and one to the title game, a loss to Kentucky.
The National Collegiate Basketball Hall of Fame was founded in Kansas City in 2006 as a complement to the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame. The charter class of members included Kresimir Cosic of BYU and Dixie High School's John “Cat” Thompson, a four-time All-American at Montana State, along with coaches Jack Gardner of Utah and Stan Watts of BYU. Utah player Arnie Ferrin was inducted in 2008.
The honor for Majerus, who posted a 323-95 (.779) record with the Utes from 1989-2002, is “a great source of pride for Utah Athletics,” Ute athletic director Mark Harlan said in a school news release.
Chris Hill, who hired Majerus and now has the title of athletic director emeritus, said, “During his time here at Utah, Coach Majerus was simply one of the best coaches, if not the best coach in the country. … When you look back at the Majerus Era, it is so amazing what he and his teams accomplished.”
This year's coaching inductees include Majerus, who won 517 games at Marquette, Ball State, Utah and Saint Louis; Homer Drew of Bethel, Indiana-South Bend and Valparaiso; and Lute Olson, of Long Beach State, Iowa and Arizona.
The players are Indiana's Calbert Cheaney, Duke's Shane Battier, Purdue's Terry Dischinger, Providence's Ernie DiGregorio, UNLV's Larry Johnson and Stanford's Todd Lichti.
Cheaney briefly played for the Jazz. Four other former Jazz players have been honored: Pete Maravich (LSU), Darrell Griffith (Louisville), Danny Manning (Kansas) and John Stockton (Gonzaga). Utah Stars center Zelmo Beaty (Prairie View A&M) also was inducted.
UTAH VS. TULANE
At the HTC Center, Conway, S.C.
Tipoff: 8:30 a.m. MST.
Radio: ESPN 700.
Records: Utah 4-1; Tulane 4-1.
Series history: First meeting.
About the Utes: Utah reached the consolation finals by losing 79-57 to Coastal Carolina and beating Ohio 80-66. … The Utes followed a similar pattern in the Wooden Legacy last November in California, losing to Hawaii and beating Grand Canyon, before losing to Northwestern … Sophomore forward Timmy Allen is averaging 20.4 points and 8.4 rebounds. … Utah will open a three-game homestand Friday vs. UC Davis.
About the Green Wave: Tulane is a high-scoring, pressure-defense team. … Coach Ron Hunter, known for his work at Georgia State, is in his first year at the New Orleans school. … Guard Christion Thompson scored all of his 25 points in the second half of Friday’s 86-74 win over Middle Tennessee, after the Green Wave lost 86-74 to Mississippi State in the opening round. … Tulane is picked to finish last in the American Athletic Conference.