SAN ANTONIO, Tex. — Three players with North Carolina ties were among the newest class of former players and coaches selected to the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame. North Carolina’s Charlie Scott, along with Duke’s Grant Hill and Lefty Driesell were named to the shrine Saturday and formally recognized at halftime of the first national semifinal game at the Final Four in San Antonio.
Joining Scott, Hill and Driesell, who is better known for his coaching career at Davidson, Maryland, James Madison and Georgia State, are joined in the Class of 2018 by recently retired NBA stars Ray Allen, Jason Kidd and Steve Nash, fourth-time NBA All-Star in the 1980s Maurice Cheeks, college/WNBA greats Katie Smith and Tina Thompson and European star and former Boston Celtic Dino Radja. Also elected into the Hall of Fame were executives Rick Welts and Rod Thorn, and Ora Mae Washington, who starred during segregated times in winning 11 consecutive Women’s Colored Basketball World Championships.
Kidd and Hill, both 45, have long been linked, having shared the Rookie of the Year Award in 1995 after they were taken Nos. 2 and 3, respectively, in the 1994 NBA Draft. Kidd also retired two days after Hill in June of 2013.
Kidd, who is second all-time in assists (12,091) and steals (2,684) to John Stockton, was a 10-time All-Star and five-time All-NBA First Team. He won a championship with the Dallas Mavericks in 2011.
Hill, a small forward who also excelled at passing, spent 19 years in the NBA and was an All-Star seven times. His career was derailed by ankle injuries after he signed with Orlando as a free agent in 2000 after six stellar seasons with the Detroit Pistons. He also helped lead Duke to two titles in college. Hill is also part of the ownership group that bought the Atlanta Hawks in 2015.
Scott, the first black scholarship athlete to attend UNC, was elected by the veteran’s committee. He is one of only six Tar Heels to score 2,000 or more career points and one of only two to do that in three seasons. He averaged 22.1 points per game, third best in school history while helping the Tar Heels win ACC regular season, ACC tournament and NCAA East Regional titles in 1969 and 1970.
Driesell played for Duke from 1951-54 before going on to a long and successful coaching career that saw him win 100 or more games at four schools while leading three of them to the NCAA tournament.
Nash was a two-time league MVP with the Phoenix Suns, where he spent 10 of his 19 seasons in the NBA. He sits third on the all-time assists list (10,335) behind Kidd and Stockton and his career free-throw percentage (90.4) is an NBA record. He is currently a player development consultant for the Golden State Warriors.
Allen, who retired in 2014 after 18 NBA seasons, is known as one of the NBA’s best 3-point shooters ever. He holds the record both 3-pointers made (2,973) and attempted (7,429). A 10-time All-Star, Allen won titles with the Celtics (2008) and Heat (2013). He was also the star of Spike Lee’s 1998 film “He Got Game” alongside Denzel Washington.
Cheeks, now an assistant with the Oklahoma City Thunder, was a four-time All-Star at point guard who helped the Philadelphia 76ers win a title in 1983. He was the all-time leader in steals (2,310) and ranked fifth in assists (7,392) when he retired while earning four NBA All-Defensive Team nods.