Celtics’ Paul Pierce, Len Bias headline college basketball Hall of Fame inductees
Along with the two former college basketball stars, other players to be part of the 2021 Hall of Fame Class are North Carolina’s Antawn Jamison, Ohio State’s Jim Jackson, UCLA’s David Greenwood, and Bradley’s Hersey Hawkins.
Before making his mark in the NBA with the Celtics, Pierce was making a name for himself in the college basketball arena. Pierce played three seasons for the Kansas Jayhawks, where he collected a host of accolades such as Big Eight Co-Freshman of the Year that he shared with Colorado’s Chauncey Billups.
As a sophomore, Pierce won the first of two Big 12 Conference Tournament Most Valuable Player awards after he led Kansas to the inaugural title. In 1998, he was selected into first-team All-American as a junior. He declared for the NBA Draft that same year and was selected 10th overall by the Celtics.
Bias, meanwhile, spent four years in Maryland where he guided the Terrapins to two Sweet 16 appearances. Among his accolades include the ACC’s Player of the Year Award in 1985 and 1986, when he averaged 20.9 points over the two seasons.
He’s considered one of the best prospects in NBA history. Some say that he would’ve been Michael Jordan’s greatest rival. Two days after being selected as the 2nd overall pick in the 1986 NBA Draft however, the Celtics rookie died of a drug overdose.
Joining the players is coach Tom Penders, who accumulated over 600 career victories over a 40-year career. Hew guided Rhode Island, Texas, George Washington, and Houston to the NCAA tournament. Rick Byrd, who has over 800 career wins that include eight trips to the NCAA Tournament as the Bruins’ head coach, caps off the legendary Hall of Fame Class.