Alonzo Mourning the Banger Joins a Sweater and a Runner in the Hall

MourningThe newest inductees in the Naismith Memorial Hall of Fame class of 2014 includes Alonzo Mourning the feared defender and noted banger, Gary Williams, the Terrapin coach noted for his tough demeanor and active sweat glands on the sideline, and Mitch Richmond, the sweet shooting guard who was a member of the run and gun Golden State Warriors trio Run-TMC. The Hall of Fame class is rounded out with Arkansas NCAA championship coach Nolan Richardson and the Immculata women’s teams that won three national championships. The group will be officially inducted into the hall of fame on August 8th.

Mourning first came to fame as center for the John Thompson led Georgetown Hoyas. He was the second pick of the 1992 NBA draft following Shaquille O’Neal. He began his NBA career with the Charlotte Hornets and was immediately successful. He moved to the Miami Heat after three seasons. For the first eight seasons of his NBA career, Mourning was a 20-10 guy, consistently averaging 20 points and 10 rebounds per game. He was named NBA Defensive Player of the Year twice. No one could dribble into the paint without knowing where Mourning was stationed. In 2000, he announced that he suffered from focal segmental glomeruloslerosis kidney disease. After missing the 2002-2003 season and undergoing a kidney transplant, Mourning resumed his career with the New Jersey Nets. He was unhappy as a Net and was traded to the Raptors, but never suited up for the team. He signed with the Miami Heat in 2009 and played there until his retirement in 2009. He won an NBA title with the O’Neal and Dwayne Wade led Heat in 2006.

The noted sideline grump and sweater entering the hall of fame with the Mourning the banger and Richmond of Run-TMC is Gary Williams. The coach never looked very happy when roaming the sidelines in Cole Field House and later Comcast Center. Mr. Williams coached the Maryland Terrapins from 1989 until 2011, with prior coaching stints at American University, Boston College and Ohio State. He compiled a 461-252 record with the Terps, culminating in an NCAA championship in 2002. Williams’ was never known as a great recruiter. His talents were more in player development. Any player recruited by Williams knew he would develop into his full potential while a Terrapin. Although he failed to show it often on the sidelines, Williams loved coaching for his alma mater.

Mitch Richmond began his famed NBA career with the Golden State Warriors in 1988, after two years of college play with Kansas State. Richmond was known as a great scorer. He averaged 21 points per game during his career. He made six All Star teams in his NBA tenure. Richmond played for the Warriors for three seasons, the Sacramento Kings for seven, and the Wizards for three. He rounded out his career with one season on the Lakers in 2001-2002, winning a title with O’Neal and Kobe Bryant.
Nolan Richardson was the noted coach of the relentless Arkansas Razorbacks. His teams always put forth maximum effort with a desire to make opponents go through “40 minutes of Hell” each game. He won a national championship in 1994. Richardson’s tenure with the Razorbacks ended with controversy. He criticized the school for racism and later initiated a lawsuit. Richardson was always up for a battle.

The Immaculata women’s teams won three national titles in a row between 1972 and 1974. They were coached by another Hall of Famer, Cathy Rush. The team was part of the first nationally televised women’s game. During its championship run, the Mighty Macs went 58-2. The small school outside of Philadelphia now has Hall of Fame team to add to its resume.

The banger, the sweater and the runner will all be displayed as Alonzo Mourning leads the Hall of Fame class during the induction ceremony in August. Mourning claims he will not shed a tear when inducted. When his inspiring story of determination and grit is told, others may want to cry some for him.

Commentary by William Costolo

Sources:
USA Today
Washington Times
Times Free Press
Philadelphia Inquirer

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