Five guards inducted into Big Five Hall of Fame

Scoring machines and players who could dish, all played guard: (From left) Kerry Kittles ('Nova), Stacey Smalls (Temple), Jewel Clark (Penn), Rashid Bey (St. Joe's), Rick Brunson (Temple).
Scoring machines and players who could dish, all played guard: (From left) Kerry Kittles ('Nova), Stacey Smalls (Temple), Jewel Clark (Penn), Rashid Bey (St. Joe's), Rick Brunson (Temple).
Posted: January 22, 2011

College basketball coaches often fret over the increasing difficulty finding true point guards, but there was no shortage of them among the five players who were inducted into the Big Five Hall of Fame on Friday at the Palestra.

Rashid Bey (St. Joseph's), Rick Brunson (Temple), Kerry Kittles (Villanova), Jewel Clark (Penn), and Stacey Smalls (Temple) became the newest members of the long list of standouts to be honored for their outstanding careers.

Bey, Brunson, and Smalls were prototypical point guards, players who put as much, if not more, emphasis on setting up teammates for shots as they did scoring.

Kittles was a scoring machine who poured in 2,243 points during his career at Villanova from 1992-96. He went on to play nine seasons in the NBA after he became the No. 8 overall pick of the New Jersey Nets. He twice appeared in the NBA Finals with the Nets.

Clark led Penn to Ivy League championships in both her freshman and senior seasons in 2001 and '04 and ranks second on the Quakers' all-time scoring list with 1,743 points.

While all the inductees spoke of how honored they were by their inductions, it probably hit home more for Bey and Smalls because they were local products. Bey, from South Philly, played at St. John Neumann High, now Neumann-Goretti. Smalls starred at Cheltenham High and was tutored at Temple by former Owls coach Dawn Staley, one of the preeminent point guards in the history of woman's basketball.

Bey, who played at St. Joe's from 1994-98 and helped the Hawks reach the NCAA tourney's Sweet 16 in 1997, believes an emphasis on scoring has reduced the pool of true point guards.

"Hey, there's nothing wrong with scoring, but from the point-guard spot there are shots you're supposed to take and shots you're not supposed to take," said Bey, one of four St. Joe's players to surpass 1,000 points and 500 assists in a career. "I don't think a lot of kids are getting the right information as far as how to run the point-guard position, and that's where it all starts.

"Everybody is drilling into these kids' heads that you've got to score, you've got to score, which is true. But you have to score in the right way. You have to be unselfish, and know when to be selfish. It's a balancing act."

Brunson played for four NCAA tourney teams from 1991-95 and helped Temple advance to the Elite Eight as a sophomore, losing a hard-fought game to Michigan's Fab Five. Brunson played nine seasons in the NBA and is currently an assistant coach with the Chicago Bulls. He completed his Temple career with 1,493 points and 470 assists, fifth on the school's all-time list.

Brunson honed his point-guard skills under the demanding tutelage of Hall of Fame coach John Chaney, who celebrated his 79th birthday Friday. Chaney recruited Brunson out of Salem High in Massachusetts.

"At first, I hated him and wanted to leave," Brunson said with a smile. "Now, with everything I do in life, I ask myself, 'What would coach do?' "

As a junior, Kittles, a guard who was in perpetual motion, averaged 23 points and was a consensus first-team all-American and Big East Conference Player of the Year.

"I remember my first Big Five game against St. Joe's," said Kittles, a native of New Orleans. "It was my very first taste of in-your-face city basketball."

Smalls said she was "blessed" to have played for Staley.


Contact staff writer Ray Parrillo at 215-854-2743 or rparrillo@phillynews.com.

 

|
|
|
|
|