Tamika Catchings

NBA, ESPN Announce Details Of H-O-R-S-E Competition

As expected, Thunder guard Chris PaulHawks guard Trae Young, and Bulls guard Zach LaVine are among the players who will participate in the H-O-R-S-E competition being organized by the NBA, NBPA, and ESPN, per a press release.

According to the announcement, Jazz guard Mike Conley, former NBA stars Chauncey Billups and Paul Pierce, newly-elected Hall-of-Famer Tamika Catchings, and three-time WNBA All-Star Allie Quigley will fill out the eight-person field for the event.

The four quarterfinal matchups will air on Sunday evening (April 12), with Young facing Billups and Catchings facing Conley in group one, while LaVine goes up against Pierce and Paul squares off against Quigley in group two. The group one winners will face one another in the first semifinal next Thursday (April 16), with the group two winners competing in the second semifinal. The final will take place on the same night.

A coin toss will determine which player starts each matchup. Each player will be required to describe his or her shot attempt beforehand and dunking won’t be permitted. ESPN’s Mark Jones will serve as the event’s host, with each player attempting shots from his or her own home gym.

The event will raise more than $200K in support of coronavirus relief efforts.

Bryant, Garnett, Duncan Joined By Six Others In Hall Class

Kobe Bryant, Kevin Garnett and Tim Duncan have officially been named to the Naismith Hall of Fame Class of 2020, Tim Bontemps of ESPN tweets. They are joined by Rudy Tomjanovich, Eddie Sutton, long-time WNBA star Tamika Catchings, Kim Mulkey, Barbara Stevens and Patrick Baumann, Bontemps adds.

In essence, every finalist for Hall of Fame consideration this year received enough votes for induction. A finalist needs 18 of 24 votes from the Honors Committee for election into the Basketball Hall of Fame.

Word leaked on Friday that Bryant, Garnett, Duncan and Tomjanovich would be inducted, though it was a foregone conclusion that the late Bryant, Garnett and Duncan — three of the game’s all-time greats — would received the required votes.

Bryant was an 18-time All-Star and five-time NBA champion, winning the MVP award in 2008 to go along with a pair of Finals MVPs. He is fourth on the league’s all-time scoring list and won scoring titles in 2006 and 2007.

Duncan won three Finals MVPs and five titles in total. Like Bryant, he was named to an All-NBA team 15 times over the course of his career. The longtime Spurs‘ big man was one of the best players of his era, ranking sixth on the NBA’s all-time rebounding list and fifth in blocked shots.

Garnett earned 15 All-Star nods, an MVP award (in 2004), a Defensive Player of the Year award (2008), and a title in 2008 with the Celtics. Garnett, who began his career with the Timberwolves, ranks in the NBA’s top 20 in career points, rebounds, blocks, and steals.

Tomjanovich is one of just three coaches to win both an NBA championship and an Olympic gold medal. He coached the Rockets to a pair of championships in the mid-1990s and had an impressive career as a Rockets player prior to his coaching days, earning five NBA All-Star nods in his 11-year career.

Sutton is a four-time National Coach of the Year and was the first coach to lead four different schools to the NCAA Tournament.

Catchings is a 10-time WNBA All-Star and four-time Olympic gold medalist. She was also named WNBA MVP in 2011. Mulkey has coached Baylor to three NCAA national championships, including last season. Stevens has coached in the collegiate ranks for over 40 years and is the fifth coach in NCAA women’s basketball history to reach 1,000 career wins. Baumann is a longtime FIBA executive.

It remains to be seen if this year’s induction ceremony will take place as scheduled on August 29 in Springfield, Massachusetts.

Basketball Hall Of Fame Selects Eight Finalists

The Basketball Hall of Fame has selected eight finalists for the 2020 class. This year’s Hall-of-Famers will be officially announced in April. Let’s take a look at the candidates:

Kobe Bryant

Bryant, who tragically passed away late last month, helped the Lakers bring home five NBA championships. He took home the Finals MVP on two of those occasions. He was selected to 18 NBA All-Star games during his career in Los Angeles.

Tim Duncan

Duncan, who is currently an assistant coach with the Spurs, brought San Antonio five NBA championships during his time in the league. He won Finals MVP three times and was named to 15 All-Star games.

Kevin Garnett

Garnett won a championship upon arriving in Boston. Over the course of his career, the big man was named to 15 NBA All-Star games and nine All-Defensive First Teams. He played for the Wolves, Celtics, and Nets in his career.

Tamika Catchings

Catchings won a WNBA championship during her time with the Indiana Fever. She was selected to 10 WNBA All-Star games and won four Olympic Gold Medals for Team USA during her playing days.

Rudy Tomjanovich

Tomjanovich is just one of three coaches to win an NBA championship and an Olympic gold medal. He coached the Rockets to two championships in the early 90’s and had a nice career as a player prior to that, as he was selected to five NBA All-Star games.

Kim Mulkey

Mulkey is the first person to win a National Championship as a player, assistant coach, and head coach. She played point guard for Louisiana Tech in the early 80’s and has coached at both Louisiana Tech and Baylor.

Eddie Sutton

Sutton coached in the college ranks for 36 years. He was the coach of the year four times in his career and he took two different teams—Arkansas, Oklahoma State (2x)—to the Final Four.

Barbara Stevens

Stevens is only the fifth coach in NCAA women’s basketball history to achieve over 1,000 career wins. She has led Clark University, UMass, and Bentley throughout her coaching career.

And-Ones: Wiseman, Schwartz, Andrews, Hall Of Fame

It’s unlikely that James Wiseman will fall below the top five in the June draft, ESPN’s Jonathan Givony reports. The freshman center decided to leave Memphis on Thursday and sign with an agent to prepare for the draft.

Wiseman could have solidified his draft stock had he finished the college season on a high note after his 12-game NCAA suspension ended. However, he could have also slipped some if the Tigers had started losing games with Wiseman in the lineup. Givony continues. The lack of quality big men in a draft and the need of several lottery teams to add an impact big man could also help him, Givony adds.

We have more from around the basketball world:

Central Notes: Pistons, Pacers, Stephenson

After a disappointing 2016/17 campaign, the Pistons will look to shore up their three-point shooting. So says head coach Stan Van Gundy, at least. Aaron McMann of MLive wrote about Detroit’s goal heading into the offseason.

We’ve got to shoot the ball better, there’s no question about that,” Van  Gundy told the media following his exit interviews with Pistons players.

Not long after, he’d go on to complain about the team’s regression throughout the season, as has become somewhat of a custom for the Pistons bench boss.

We just talked about that with our team. I think a lot of that can be internal development. [The Pistons] had virtually an entire roster that took a step back in that area this year.

There’s more from the Central Division: