Posted: 2:42 a.m. Tuesday, July 30, 2013
How in the world did it take 45 years for Elvin Hayes to make the College Basketball Hall of Fame? Well, since it just got started in 2006, it’s perhaps understandable.
Still, Hayes was not just an incredible college basketball player, he also was the key player in probably the most legendary game in collegiate history, Houston’s upset of UCLA and Lew Alcindor (now Kareem Abdul-Jabbar).
It was one of only two losses UCLA suffered during the Alcindor era, and he had an eye injury at the time (in the tournament rematch, UCLA won 101-69. After the game, Alcindor said the Bruins had wanted to teach Houston “some manners”).
You can’t put everyone in at the same time, obviously. But Hayes takes a back seat to very, very few. Inducting him with the likes of Xavier McDaniel and Tom McMillen – both very good players – is a bit of a joke. He should’ve gone in earlier.
To an extent, this reflects the 1960s bias against Southwestern basketball, which was widely seen as a run and gun brand, racial code at the time for being too black. For brilliant coaches like Don Haskins, Guy Lewis, and Nolan Richardson, acceptance and recognition took decades.