Womhoops Guru

Mel Greenberg covered college and professional women’s basketball for the Philadelphia Inquirer, where he worked for 40 plus years. Greenberg pioneered national coverage of the game, including the original Top 25 women's college poll. His knowledge has earned him nicknames such as "The Guru" and "The Godfather," as well as induction into the Women's Basketball Hall of Fame in 2007.

Thursday, August 30, 2012

Ex-Georgia Star Katrina McClain Tabs Dr. J, Teresa Edwards and C. Vivian Stringer as Hall of Fame Escorts

(Guru's note: There is another post above this with musings and notes involving the WNBA)

In one week from today (Thursday) events will have begun in Springfield, Mass., leading to the following night's enshrinement of the 2013 class to the Naismith Basketball Hall of Fame, which will occur at Symphony Hall.

The group will include former Georgia and Olympic standout Katrina McClain and the All-American Redheads, the first women's team to be inducted.

It would not be surprising down the road sometime in the future to see either the 1996 or recent USA women's Olympic team, both gold medalists, gain a similar honor to the All-American Redheads, considering the loaded rosters of both groups capable of individual inductions.

McClain is hard at work finishing her speech for the ceremony which comes a year after her former Georgia and Olympic teammate Teresa Edwards was enshrined along with Stanford and 1996 USA coach Tara VanDerveer.

But she recently completed one of the somewhat easier tasks, selecting the individuals who will escort her to the podium, all of which must come from a list of previous inductees.

"They really didn't limit me," McClain said Wednesday night discussing her choices who are Edwards, former NBA Philadelphia 76ers great Julius "Dr. J." Erving, and Rutgers coach C. Vivian Stringer.

Edwards, incidentally, will be one of few notables doing double duty because she will also serve as the presenter for the Redheads.

Another presenter at the ceremony will be former University of Southern California star and all-time great Cheryl Miller, a 1995 inductee who will join former 76er Charles Barkley and another all-time NBA great in Magic Johnson as they escort Miller's brother Reggie Miller, a former NBA All-Star.

"All three of them will be walking up there with me, but I'm the only one will will be speaking, which is good," Miller quipped this week to The Republican, which is published in Springfield.

"Lord knows what will come out of Charles' mouth. I can trust Cheryl, I can trust Magic, but I don't know about Chuck."

McClain speaking of her choices went down the list.

"'T' is obvous," she said of Edwards, who was McClain's roommate from the day she arrived in Athens, a move concocted by Women's Basketball Hall of Fame coach Andy Landers as a way of toughening up his freshman star.

"Obviously, we became like sisters," McClain previously told the Guru whom she selected to write her biography for the Hall of Fame induction weekend printed program.

(The Guru will be on the scene in Springfield next week, even though it will mean bypassing some key WNBA games on the seaboard.)

"As for Vivian, I had to choose her. She was our coach of the World University Games team in 1985 when we were first getting together to be the core group of that era into the 1990s," McClain said.

"She ia such a heroic figure and I learned a lot being coached by her," McClain said of the team that finished a close second to the then-powerful USSR squad 87-81 and taking the Silver Medal at the competition in Kobe, Japan.

"We felt bad when we didn't take the gold because we really wanted to win it for Coach Stringer."

That squad included former Texas star Kamie Ethridge, currently an assistant coach at Kansas; WNBA Washington Mystics assistant coach Jennifer Gillon, a former Mississippi star who was on UConn coach Geno Auriemma's staff at the recent games in London; and Andrea Lloyd, a former Texas All-American.

As for choosing Dr. J, McClain said for her it was a no-brainer.

"He was my idol and role model when I was growing up," McClain said. "Back when I started, you didn't really have women to look up to in the sport the way you can today.

"And it's not only because of the way he played the game but because of the class and dignity he always displayed."

The first major event for the inductees will be a press conference Thursday afternoon in which they will receive their jackets, temporarily, ahead of the ceremony, say a few words from the podium and then sit down for one-and-one interviews.

That night features the reunion dinner in which the inductees and their guests will be joined by past inductees in an informal setting. The affair is not listed as a media event, however, --- you can guess the end of the sentence.

Many past inductees from the women's side will be present, but the Guru hasn't yet seen the official list from his ace Naismith operatives.

-- Mel




- Posted using BlogPress from my iPad

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