Friday , Feb , 17 , 2006 C.Y. Ellis

Round Mound of Rebound heads finalists for Basketball Hall of Fame

Springfield, MA (Sports Network) – The Naismith Memorial Basketball
Hall of Fame announced the finalists for induction into the 2006 class on
Friday, with a pair of NBA legends, Charles Barkley and Dominique
Wilkins, leading the way.

Joe Dumars, Geno Auriemma, women’s coach of the University of Connecticut, and
sportscaster Dick Vitale also headline a list of 16 individuals named as
finalists for election to the Hall.

Dumars and Wilkins are in their second year of consideration. The announcement
came Friday in Houston, Texas, the site of the NBA All-Star Game.

Barkley, on the ballot for the first time, played for the Philadelphia
76ers, Phoenix Suns and Houston Rockets during his 16-year NBA career. He
averaged 22.1 points and 11.7 rebounds per game, was elected to 11 All-Star
games and won an Olympic gold medal in 1992 with the Dream Team. He is a
member of the NBA’s 50th anniversary team and won the 1993 NBA most valuable
player award.

Wilkins, better known as “The Human Highlight Film”, played the majority of
his NBA career with the Atlanta Hawks and was a nine-time NBA All-Star and a
two-time NBA Slam Dunk champion. He also played with the Los Angeles Clippers,
Boston Celtics, San Antonio Spurs and Orlando Magic.

Dumars, who played his entire NBA career in Detroit, was a six-time All-Star
and helped the Pistons to back-to-back championships in 1989 and 1990. The MVP
of the 1989 NBA Finals, Dumars currently serves as president of basketball
operations in Detroit.

Auriemma has led the Lady Huskies to five national championships, eight Final
Four appearances, two undefeated seasons, 30 or more wins in a season 10 times
and has 17 straight NCAA tournament appearances. He has been named National
Coach of the Year five times and was enshrined in the Women’s Basketball Hall
of Fame in 2005.

Vitale, a successful coach at the high school (East Rutherford, N.J.), college
(University of Detroit) and professional levels (Detroit Pistons), has been
transposable with college basketball for over 20 years. He began his
sportscasting career with ESPN in 1979 and has written six books concentrating
on his experiences in basketball.

Also on the list are previous finalists Adrian Dantley and Chet Walker. In
addition, former coach and chairman of the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall
of Fame Board of Directors David Gavitt, Purdue head coach Gene Keady, former
player and three-time coach of the year Don Nelson, former No.1 overall draft
pick Ralph Sampson, Spanish coach Pedro Ferrandiz, Italian coach Sandro
Gamba; player John Issacs; and former St. Louis Hawks owner Ben Kerner from
the Veterans Screening Committee appear on the ballot.

Van Chancellor rounded out the list of women’s selections.

Chancellor led the WNBA’s Houston Comets to four straight championships
(1997-2000) and won 439 games as the head Women’s coach at Ole Miss
(1978-1997). She also coached the undefeated United States Gold Medal team at
the 2004 Olympic Games, and sports a perfect 38-0 record in international
competition.

Induction requires 18 of 24 votes from the Hall of Fame’s Honors Committee and
the and winners will be presented April 3 prior to NCAA Men’s Championship
game in Indianapolis.

The Class of 2006 will be enshrined during ceremonies September 7-9, 2006.