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ND legend inducted into Collegiate Hall of Fame

Bill Brink | Tuesday, September 9, 2008

Former Notre Dame basketball player Adrian Dantley, a two-time All-American, was inducted into the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame Friday.

The United States Basketball Writers Association named Dantley the national player of the year in 1975-76, his junior season, and he played on the U.S. Basketball team that won a gold medal in the Montreal Olympics in 1976.

Dantley played for the Irish from 1973-76 and was a freshman when the Irish beat UCLA in 1974, ending the Bruins’ record 88-game winning streak. He averaged 30.4 points per game as a sophomore and is second behind Austin Carr on Notre Dame’s all-time scoring list with 2,223 points.

Irish basketball coach Mike Brey, who was at the induction ceremony in Springfield, Mass. along with former coach Digger Phelps, said he attended DeMatha (Md.) High School basketball camps when Dantley was a high school player there. Dantley was always around working out and practicing, he said, and he would sometimes come and talk to the campers.

“The thing I remember about him was his work ethic,” Brey said. “The guy was a flat out machine as a worker. He was one of the first guys that was into weight lifting. He was one of the first guys that was into nutrition.”

In his junior year with the Irish, Dantley was fourth in the nation in scoring, averaging 28.6 points per game. He averaged 25.8 points per game in his career and made 615 free throws, more than anyone else in Notre Dame history.

He skipped his senior season to enter the NBA draft.

The Buffalo Braves drafted Dantley sixth overall in the 1976 draft, and he won the NBA Rookie of the Year in 1977. He went on to play for the Pacers, Lakers, Jazz, Pistons, Mavericks and Bucks in his career, led the NBA in scoring twice and was named an All-Star six times. From 1981-1984 Dantley averaged over 30 points per game and is still 18th on the all-time scoring list.

After his playing days were over, Dantley went on to coach as an assistant at Towson University for two years. He is currently an assistant coach for the Denver Nuggets.

Dantley was inducted this weekend along with a slew of household hoop names including Hakeem Olajuwon, Patrick Ewing, Pat Riley, Dick Vitale, Detroit Pistons owner Bill Davidson and women’s basketball coach Cathy Rush.

“It was just a powerful night for our program and me personally,” Brey said. “I thought the talk he gave us was fabulous.”