Thomas, Summitt Make Hall of Fame

Thursday, May 25th 2000, 12:00 am
By: News On 6

SPRINGFIELD, Mass. (AP) — Isiah Thomas and Pat Summitt both have their share of championship rings. Now both have spots in the Basketball Hall of Fame.

They headed a class of six inductees chosen Wednesday. The others were three-time NBA scoring champion Bob McAdoo; Morgan Wootten, the winningest high school coach ever; Kentucky athletic director C.M. Newton; and Danny Biasone, the inventor of the shot clock.

James Worthy, honored with Thomas in 1996 as one of the NBA's greatest 50 players, was one of 10 nominees who did not receive enough votes to qualify for the hall.

``As a young guy growing up in the league, you thought about the Hall of Fame as the place where the best of the best went and kind of the old folks were, and all the great stories were told about these people,'' said Thomas, who led Indiana to the 1981 NCAA championship and the Detroit Pistons to the 1989 and 1990 NBA titles.

``I don't think any of us as players thought of ourselves as ever being inducted or going into the Hall of Fame.''

The 6-foot-1 guard was an All-Star in 12 of his 13 NBA seasons, averaging 19.2 points and 9.3 assists for his career. He ranks fourth in assists and ninth in steals in NBA history.

After leaving the Pistons in 1994, he became part-owner and general manager of the Toronto Raptors. Last year, he bought the Continental Basketball Association for $10 million.

Summitt, who has led Tennessee's women's team to six national championships in 26 years, credited her assistants and players with keeping her driven.

``My philosophy has been consistent,'' she said while on vacation in Panama City, Fla. ``Surround yourself with quality people and winners.''

Summitt was 22 when she took over at Tennessee.

``I thought, `I'm in over my head.' I had never coached a practice, much less a game,'' she said.

Now, Summitt has a 728-150 record, including a 39-0 mark and a national title in the 1997-98 season. She also coached the U.S. women to a gold medal at the 1984 Olympics.

McAdoo played with seven teams over 14 years and won two NBA titles with the Los Angeles Lakers. He was a four-time All-Star, league MVP in 1975, and played in Italy from 1986-93.

``I just thought it was something that eventually would come,'' McAdoo, now a Miami Heat assistant coach, said of his selection.

Wootten has a 1,210-183 record at DeMatha High School in Hyattsville, Md., where he has coached since 1956.

``The energy of these kids keeps you going and revitalizes you,'' he said. ``And the fundamentals never change, either in basketball or life.''

Newton, at Kentucky since 1989, was elected as a contributor to the game. He was a player on the 1951 NCAA championship team at Kentucky, and compiled a 509-375 record as a coach at three colleges. Newton also was cited by the hall for hiring Kentucky's first black men's (Tubby Smith) and women's (Bernadette Mattox) basketball coaches.

Biasone, who founded the Syracuse Nationals, introduced the shot clock in 1954. He died in 1992.

A nominee needs 18 votes from the hall's 24-member Honors Committee. This year's six new members will be inducted in a ceremony at Springfield, the sport's birthplace and home of the Hall of Fame, on Oct. 13.