Dawn Staley headed for Basketball Hall of Fame

STALEYX FILE--Charlotte Sting guard Dawn Staley, right, drives around Utah Starzz guard Korie Hlede, left, during the first half Thursday, June 15, 2000 in Salt Lake City. (AP Photo/Steve C. Wilson)
STALEYX FILE--Charlotte Sting guard Dawn Staley, right, drives around Utah Starzz guard Korie Hlede, left, during the first half Thursday, June 15, 2000 in Salt Lake City. (AP Photo/Steve C. Wilson) (AP)
Posted: April 07, 2013

NEW ORLEANS - Philadelphia basketball star Dawn Staley is expected to receive the highest honor in her storied career as a Class of 2013 inductee into the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame in Springfield, Mass.

The official announcement of Staley's induction is expected at the NCAA Men's Final Four in Atlanta Monday morning. But several sources with knowledge of some of the inductees confirmed she will be among the group.

The 12 finalists, which also include former 76ers star player and coach Maurice Cheeks, were announced at the NBA All-Star game in February. A finalist needs 18 of 24 votes from the Honors Committee for election.

"I don't say this often, but there are two things I always wanted," Staley said during a podcast interview in late February at the local philahoopsw.com women's basketball website. "I wanted to be an Olympian and be a member of the Basketball Hall of Fame.

"Those are two things out of your control because they are determined by committees. But they are committees who understand the game and aren't going to select you just for your name.

"They look at your body of work and see if it fits the profile that really defines your career and what kind of work you did and why. I played the game because it was pure and innocent."

Longtime North Carolina coach Sylvia Hatchell, who this season became the third of her profession in Division I to win 900 games, was also likely to be named. The ceremonies on Sept. 8 will the centerpiece of the enshrinement weekend.

Staley, currently the coach of South Carolina after previously coaching Temple, did not respond when asked if reports of her honor were true when she was seen late Saturday night at events associated with the Women's Final Four.

She is being cited for her career as a magical point guard at Dobbins Tech in her native North Philadelphia, leading Virginia to three Women's Final Fours, winning three Olympic gold medals and achieving all-star honors in the WNBA and former American Basketball League.

One of the most decorated players in women's basketball history, Staley was a three-time collegiate all-star, two-time national player of the year and was the most outstanding player of the Women's Final Four in 1991 - her junior year - even though Virginia lost to Tennessee in the championship game.

Staley's latest honor comes after she was inducted into the Women's Basketball Hall of Fame in Knoxville, Tenn., last summer. Staley is also a member of the Philadelphia Sports Hall of Fame.

Her previous greatest moment besides the Women's Hall induction came in the summer of 2004 when, in her final Olympics in Athens, Greece, she was picked by the USA team captains to lead the delegation and carry the flag into the stadium during the opening ceremonies.

Asked what defines a "Philly" basketball player, Staley said, "We just hate to lose. And that's not just the players. It's everybody, including the fans cheering for our teams in the pros and in college."

Here are all the nominees: Players: Staley, Cheeks, Tim Hardaway, Spencer Haywood, Bernard King, Gary Payton and Mitch Richmond. Coaches: Jerry Tarkanian, Sylvia Hatchell, Tom Heinsohn, Guy Lewis and Rick Pitino.

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