15 to be inducted in Indiana Basketball Hall of Fame
Bobby Wilkerson and Tom Abernethy, starters on college basketball’s last unbeaten national champion, headline 15 players and coaches announced today as the 2012 men’s induction class for the Indiana Basketball Hall of Fame.
Going in with Wilkerson and Abernethy will be four men who coached teams to state championships and three who played on champions.
Wilkerson, from Madison Heights High School in Anderson, and Abernethy, from South Bend St. Joseph’s, played on Indiana’s 32-0 NCAA championship team in 1976. Each had starred in high school and played on the Indiana All-Stars against Kentucky. Each also had an NBA career.
The coaches together have won eight state championships. Gene Miiller’s Washington teams have won three of the last four Class 3A championships, and J. R. Holmes coached Bloomington South to two of the last three Class 4A titles. In the pre-class basketball era, Steve Witty’s Ben Davis teams won back-to-back championships in 1995 and ’96 and he was the only coach to lead teams to four consecutive non-class Final Fours. Mike Broughton’s Jeffersonville team won in 1993 and notched more wins in the 1990s than any other program in the state.
Each of the four coaches represented the first Hall of Fame inductee from their high school alma maters: Miiller, South Newton; Holmes, Needmore; Witty, Center Grove, and Broughton, Hebron. Holmes and Miiller still are active coaches.
Players from state championship teams were Danny Thornburg, from Muncie Central’s 1951 and ’52 champions; Bill Scott, Indianapolis Attucks, 1955, and Ron Divjak, East Chicago Washington, 1960. Thornburg played at Purdue, Scott at Butler, and Divjak at Michigan State. Divjak and daughter Kristina (Lake Central ’94) each won state championships in their high school careers.
Other first-time selections from their high school are Larry “Buddy” Graham of Odon and the second Centennial Award selection, Elmer Oliphant of Linton (1910).
Graham averaged more than 21 points a game in two seasons at Vincennes and also starred at Texas Wesleyan and had a lengthy career of success coaching Illinois high school teams.
The Centennial Award was created a year ago to recognize those who have contributed to Indiana high school basketball from more than 100 years ago. Oliphant, better known as an all-time college football great, also was a two-time All-America basketball player at Purdue and Army.
Also selected were 1958 Trester Award winner Dick Haslam of state runner-up Crawfordsville, Tom Baack of Fort Wayne Concordia (and Nebraska), John Garrett of Peru (and Purdue) and Dick Kinder of Winslow (Memphis State and Murray State).
The six first-time selections brought the number of high schools represented in the men’s branch of the Hall of Fame to 196.
* Longtime Wabash College mens basketball coach Mac Petty is the 2012 recipient of the St.Vincent Health Silver Medal Award. Petty retired in 2011 after 38 years and 544 career victories as a college head coach. In his 35-year tenure at Wabash, he led the Little Giants to the 1982 NCAA Division 3 National Championship, nearly 500 wins, and 217 victories over Indiana colleges.
The Indiana Basketball Hall of Fame’s 51st Annual Mens Banquet will be held on Wednesday, March 21, 2012. The ceremony will take place at the Primo Banquet Hall, which is located on the south side of Indianapolis. Tickets will be made available in early 2012. Call the Hall at 765-529-1891 for more information or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
For more information, contact Executive Director Chris May at email@example.com or (765) 720-3562.