As we announced yesterday, the polls are now open for our readers to select the 2011 inductees into the VUHoops Basketball Hall of Fame. As you undertake the serious business of deciding how you will allocate your HOF votes, bear in mind that the NCAA made significant rule changes over the years that make statistical comparisons of players across generations difficult. The introduction of permanent freshman eligibility in the 1972-73 season , the shot clock in the 1985-86 season and the three-point line a year later revolutionized the game and dramatically increased scoring. Had Scottie Reynolds, Villanova's #2 all-time leading scorer, played under the rules that existed in the days of Howard Porter, we estimate that Scottie's 2,222 points would have dropped by 44% to 1,242 vs. the 2,026 points scored by the Geezer. To understand our math, click on the link: "Scottie's Stats Under Howard's Rules."
On behalf of the Hall of Fame Nominating Committee, I am honored to present the slate of 2011 Nominees. The biographies of each nominee and the voter ballot follow. Remember to vote for TWO nominees. Use the comments section to argue the case for your favorite candidates and to call out any deserving nominees that you feel were overlooked by the Nominating Committee.
Chris Ford… 6-foot-5 shooting guard … played from 1969-1972, scoring 1,433 points (#26 all-time) over 91 games (15.7 ppg; #16 all time) and dishing out 500 assists (4thall-time) in only three varsity seasons … played with Howard Porter in the 1971 NCAA championship against UCLA … was selected 17th overall in the 1972 NBA Draft by the Detroit Pistons … played 10 seasons for the Pistons and Boston Celtics … credited with scoring the NBA’s first three-point shot … after winning a championship with the Celtics, ended his playing career in 1982 with 7,314 total points averaging 9.2 points, 3.4 assists and 3.0 rebounds … later served as a head coach for the Celtics, the Milwaukee Bucks, the Los Angeles Clippers and the Philadelphia 76ers (2003-04) … inducted into the Big Five Hall of Fame in 1977.
Randy Foye … a 6’4 shooting guard … played from 2002-2006 … playing on an undersized team in the four-guard offense, he is among the all-time Villanova leaders in four statistical categories — 1,966 points (#9 all-time) over 131 games (15.0 ppg; #18 all time), 625 rebounds (#27 all-time), 416 assists (#12 all-time), and 198 steals (#6 all time) and 52 blocks (#17 all-time) … with Allan Ray formed one of the best backcourts in the nation … reached the Sweet Sixteen in 2005, scoring 28 points in a one-point loss to eventual national champion North Carolina … scored 25 points in a loss to eventual champion Florida in the Elite Eight of the 2006 NCAA … was Big East Player of the Year in 2006 and a Consensus First Team All-America … was the #7 pick overall in the NBA draft playing with Minnesota and Washington, and San Diego averaging 11.7 PPG, 3.4 APG and 2.4 RPG over five seasons through 2011.
Larry Hennessy… 6′ 4″ shooting guard … played from 1950-53 … excellent passer and rebounder … scored 1,737 points (#12 all-time) in 75 games (23.2 ppg; #1 all-time) in only three varsity seasons … on Feb. 14, 1953, scored 45 points against Boston College ten days after scoring 44 points against Canisius; only Paul Arizin and Bob Schafer scored more points in a single game for Villanova.… led his freshman team to an undefeated season … was a three time All-American selection … during the 1952-53 season, led the nation in scoring average going into the last game of the season … played professionally in the NBA for the Philadelphia Warriors in 1955-56, and for the Syracuse Nationals in 1956-57 … inductee into the Villanova Hall of Fame … his #14 jersey hangs from the rafters of the Pavilion.
Jack Kraft (1961 – 1973) Over 12 seasons as Head Coach, Kraft compiled a 238–95 record (.715). He led Villanova to the NCAA Tournament six times, and five times to the NIT. Only once did Kraft’s teams fail to earn a post-season bid, in his final season. The 1971 team, led by Howard Porter, reached the NCAA Championship game, and lost to UCLA at the height of the UCLA dynasty. Kraft was inducted into the Big Five Hall of Fame in 1987.
Keith Herron … 6’6″ small forward … played from 1974-1978 … upon graduation was Villanova’s all-time leading scorer with 2,170 points (#3 all-time) over 117 games (18.5 ppg; #9 all-time … named to Basketball Weekly’s All-East team, The Sporting News All-America team, the All-NIT team, and twice to the All-Big Five team … drafted by the Portland Trail Blazers in the second round of the 1978 NBA Draft … played for the Atlanta Hawks in 1978–79, Detroit Pistons in 1980–81, and Cleveland Cavaliers in 1981–82, averaging 9.8 ppg and 2.0 rpg in 21.1 mpg … inducted into the Big Five Hall of Fame in 1984 … his #33 jersey was retired by Villanova .
Wali Jones … 6’2″ point guard… played from 1961-64 … scored 1,428 points (#27 all-time) over 85 games (16.8 ppg; #11 all-time) and 233 assists (#30 all-time; 2.7 apg) in only three varsity seasons … crowds would often leave when the Cats were leading in the final minutes, knowing the sure-handed Jones would single-handedly run out the clock … Sports Illustrated wrote in 1964 "with quarterback Wali Jones shouting secret signals to bewilder the opposition, and a magnificent defense of its own, Villanova has become the best basketball team in the East … it is safer to put your head in an electric fan than to drive on Villanova with ball-hawking guards Wali Jones, George Leftwich and Bill Melchionni appearing to have four hands apiece" … voted Villanovan of the Year by the student body … drafted by the Baltimore Bullets as the #18selection overall and named to the NBA All-Rookie Team … traded to the Philadelphia 76ers in the 1965-66 season, where played for the next six years … started a point guard on the 1966-67 Philadelphia team that also featured Wilt Chamberlain, Chet Walker and Billy Cunningham and went 68-13 and dethroned the eight-time defending NBA champion Boston Celtics … later played for the Baltimore Bullets, Detroit Pistons, Milwaukee Bucks (where he played with Kareem Abdul Jabbar and Oscar Robertson) and Utah Stars…averaged 9.8 ppg and 3.1 apg in 23.2 mpg … inducted into the Big Five Hall of Fame in 1973.
John "Jake" Nevin (1929- 1985) served as Trainer for Villanova University athletic teams for over 50 years until his death in 1985. A great trainer, Nevin is perhaps better remembered as a beloved character and a practical joker cast in the shape of a leprechaun. One former player, Jack Devine, told one of the all-time great Nevin yarns at the dinner celebrating Jake’s posthumous induction into the Big Five Hall of Fame in 1985. Recalled Devine, "During a train trip to an away game, Nevin kept telling [Coach] Severance he looked flushed and not at all well. Nevin then stuffed several bricks into the Severance’s suitcase. ‘Maybe you’re right, huffed "The Squire," as he struggled onto the platform at the end of the trip. "I am so weak I can barely lift my suitcase." During Villanova’s 1985 NCAA basketball playoffs, Nevin, then using a wheelchair and suffering from Lou Gehrig's disease, inspired the 1985 Villanova Wildcats basketball team during their run to the NCAA Championship. Craig Miller writes in The Year of the Cat, "With ten seconds remaining in the 1985 NCAA Championship game and ‘Nova holding a 65-62 lead, sophomore Harold Jenson walked to the side of the Villanova bench and kissed the balding head of Jake Nevin saying, ‘This one’s for you.’ Dwayne McClain would later say, "That’s when I knew we had it." In late 1985, Villanova renamed the Villanova Field House in his name and retired basketball jersey number 1 in his honor.
Harold Pressley… 6’7" forward … played from 1982-1986 … scored 1,572 points (#19 all-time) over 135 games (11.6 ppg), 1,016 rebounds (#5 all-time), 213 steals (#2 all-time), 152 blocks (#6 all-time) and 300 assists (#21 all-time) … became the first player in Big East history to record a triple-double, with 19 points, 15 rebounds, and 10 blocked shots against Providence … was a member of their 1985 National Championship team, scoring 11 points in the Championship Game, and named to the 1985 NCAA Southeast Regional All-Tournament Team, 1986 All Big East First Team, 1986 Associated Press honorable mention All American, 1986 Big East All-Tournament Team, and the 1986 Big East Defensive Player of the Year … selected by the Sacramento Kings in the 1st round (17th overall pick) of the 1986 NBA Draft … played four years for the Kings averaging 9.0 ppg … inducted into the Big Five Hall of Fame in 1992 … went on to co-host the Sierra Central Sports Roundtable TV sports show that aired in the Sacramento area … later became Director of Player Development for the Sacramento Kings
Jim Washington… 6’7″ forward / center … played from 1962-65 … scored 1,146 points (#45 all-time) over 85 games (13.5 ppg;) and grabbed 1,194 rebounds (#2 all-time) over only three varsity seasons … selected by the St. Louis Hawks with the 8th pick of the 1965 NBA Draft … later joined the Chicago Bulls, where he became a fan favorite as the first Bull to average more than ten rebounds per game … also played for the Philadelphia 76ers, Atlanta Hawks, and the Buffalo Braves … retired with 6,637 career rebounds … averaged 10.6 ppg and 8.6 rpg over an 11-year NBA career … inducted into the Big Five Hall of Fame in 1975.
Hubie White… 6′ 3″ shooting guard … played from 1959 to 1962 … scored 1,608 points (#18 all time) over 78 games (20.6 ppg; #3 all-time) … is Villanova’s 13th all-time leading rebounder with 755 (9.7 rpg) in only three varsity seasons … led Nova to its first win over St. Joe’s in a Big Five game in 1961 after the Cats endured six straight losses to the Hawks … also was a VU track star competing in the hop, step and jump. earned All-America honors in 1962 … a three-time All Big Five player, AP and UPI All-East … drafted in the 2nd round (7th pick, 14th overall) of the 1962 NBA draft. … played for San Francisco in the 1962-63 season, Philadelphia 1963-64, Miami (ABA) 1969-70, and Pittsburgh (ABA) 1970-71 … inducted into the Big Five Hall of Fame in 1976 … White’s #14 jersey was retired in 2001, joining Larry Hennessy's’s #14 in the Pavilion’s rafters …