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.

Friday, September 07, 2012

Guru's Hall of Fame Report: Katrina McClain and the All American Red Heads Ready For Their Big Moment

By Mel Greeberg

SPRINGFIELD, Mass. --
Though it was less than 30 hours from her induction into the the Naismith Basketball Hall of Fame along with the All American Red Heads women's team and 10 other notables, former Georgia and Olympic star Katrina McClain said Thursday afternoon she still had a ways to go before finishing her acceptance speech.

Entering the hall also become a little bit more meaningful since arriving here to join up with the induction class.

"It hasn't totally hit yet," the two time gold meddalist, who was a major rebounding force, said.

"Of course it's not ready yet," McClain said with a smile about her speech, which she began writing back home in South Carolina where she runs a foundation for youngsters.

"You know that. It 's like, ok we're getting closer, now that we're getting closer (to the ceremony), the pressure is on," McClain continued. "And you know, I'm so used to pressure, so I have to wait for that last moment and procrastinate beforehand.

"They told me I had five minutes."

Speaking from the podium a few minutes, earlier, before the breakouts into one-on-one sessions here with the media, McClain commented: "I just want to say what an honor it is to be here and accept this award.

"You never what accomplishments you have done in the past that can amount to such an honor and place in history. I'm just honored that they've deemed me worthy of such an honor. And for my family and friends who are here to witness this moment, it's incredible."

The All American Red Heads are the first women's team to be inducted and some 65 persons are here, most of whom are camped out at a nearby airport hotel down in Windsor, Conn., near Hartford.

Considered the first women's professional team, they played some 200 games a season from 1936 to 1986, playing their first game in Manila in the Philippines, where they had to find a different way out because they had a game the day Pearl Harbor was bombed bringing America into World War II.

Tammy Harrison, daughter of the team's second owner, Owell Moore, spoke representing the contingent.

"I'm very honored to be representing the All Amercan Red Heads," she said. "When I say representing the All American Red Heads, I just mention they are women who started playing in 1936, so you figure it out how many years -- that's a lot of men and women involved -- my parents this was our lives.

"Our business was basketball and that was the Red Heads' business. And this is a definitive honor to be inducted into the Naismith Hall of Fame. I wish my father any mother and the Olsens were here to enjoy this but they're not. But I'm sure they're very happy looking down upon us now for what they did for the game of basketball and women's sports, in general.

"It's truly and amazing and I'm humbled and proud to have lived my life as a Red Head."

Notes: Former NBA great Reggie Miller is being inducted joining former Southern Cal great Cheryl Miller as the first brother-sister inductees into the hall.

Miller said he was busy trying to score one of the many different styles of shirts the Red Heads are wearing for the occasion.

The Guru will attempt to transcribe everything involving the Red Heads and McClain from the ceremonies but may not get to post until Saturday morning.

There has been talk that former Philadelphia basketball legend Dawn Staley, also the South Carolina coach who coached at Temple in her native city, may get the call the next time around.

She was a first-time eligible nominee when this class was being deliberated among the women's subcommittee that submits no more than two nominees to the big board for election.

Staley was inducted into the Women's Basketball Hall of Fame last June.

Until later. Tweeting will be done at the guru's handle @womhoopsguru.

-- Mel



- Posted using BlogPress from my iPad

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