Wilkins head­lines lat­est Hall of Fame class

Daily Freeman (Kingston, NY) - - SPORTS - By Dave Skretta AP Sports Writer

Do­minique Wilkins still doesn’t know how Hugh Durham got him out of North Carolina.

He was re­cruited by ev­ery school in the state, the peren­nial pow­ers and the upand-com­ing pro­grams, and wound up fol­low­ing Durham to Ge­or­gia. To­gether, the tall and tal­ented for­ward and the small and hum­ble coach built a pow­er­house pro­gram at a school with lit­tle bas­ket­ball suc­cess.

And to­gether, they were en­shrined in the Col­le­giate Bas­ket­ball Hall of Fame on Fri­day.

“This is re­ally spe­cial for me in many ways,” Wilkins said, turn­ing to face Durham seated along­side him, “be­cause how many times do you get to go into the Hall of Fame with your coach? I love this guy.”

Wilkins and Durham were joined in this year’s class by the late Bob Boozer, a star in the 1950s at Kansas State; Doug Collins, who played at Illi­nois State be­fore a long ca­reer as an NBA player and coach; DePaul star Mark Aguirre; long­time col­lege coach Mike Mont­gomery; for­mer La Salle stand­out Lionel Sim­mons; and Ja­maal Wilkes, who was part of the dom­i­nant UCLA teams of the early 1970s.

They spent time min­gling at the Col­lege Bas­ket­ball Ex­pe­ri­ence in down­town Kansas City, some of them meet­ing for the first time, be­fore a Fri­day night cer­e­mony. They also spent time swap­ping sto­ries and rem­i­nisc­ing.

“I don’t know if I liked Coach Durham when I was a player. He was tough,” Wilkins said with a smile. “But what he taught me was how to be a young man first, a bas­ket­ball player sec­ond. Be­ing a bas­ket­ball player is easy if you can per­fect be­ing a young man.”

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