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Meet the 2012 Hall of Fame finalists

Bernard King with the University of Tennessee.

Bernard King with the University of Tennessee. Credit: AP, 1976

The finalists for the 2012 Basketball Hall of Fame were announced today in Orlando. Among the most notables were Reggie Miller, Rick Pitino, Don Nelson, Bernard King and Ralph Sampson.

A little about each finalist:

First-time finalists

BILL FITCH

Coached in college from 1956-1970, and in the NBA from 1970-1998. Ninth all-time in NBA wins with 944. Second all-time in losses with 1,106. Went 55-54 in the postseason, including an NBA Championship in 1981 with the Boston Celtics. Won a pair of NBA Coach of the Year awards, in 1976 with Cleveland, and 1980 with Boston. Every team he coached finished with more wins his second year at the helm than his first.

KATRINA MCCLAIN

Two-time All-American and 1987 National Player of the Year at Georgia. Twice named the USA Basketball Female Athlete of the Year (1988, 1992). Inducted into the Women's Basketball Hall of Fame in 2006. Won two Olympic gold medals, two gold medals at the FIBA World Championship, and a gold medal at the 1987 Pan American Games in Indianapolis. 

REGGIE MILLER

Notably left off the list of finalists in 2011, his first year of eligibility. Second all-time in 3-point field goals made (2560). Led the NBA in 3-pointers in 1992-93 and 1996-97. Five-time All-Star, and three-time All-NBA 3rd team. Averaged over 25 points per game in the playoffs five times. Career playoff average of 20.6 points per game (averaged 18.2 points per game in the regular season). Shot over 90 percent from the free throw line eight times, and over 40 percent from three 10 times.

RICK PITINO

Head or assistant coach at six different universities and two different NBA teams since 1974. Named the head coach of the Puerto Rico National Team in 2010. Won the 1996 NCAA title with Kentucky. Reached the Final Four five times. John Wooden National Coach of the Year with Providence in 1987. Career 262-102 record as a head coach in college. Career 192-220 record in the NBA. Finished with a winning record once in six years as an NBA head coach.

Other finalists

ALL-AMERICAN RED HEADS

Often considered the first professional women's basketball team. Established in 1936, and toured until 1986. Called the women's version of the Harlem Globetrotters. Recognized by the Women's Basketball Hall of Fame as "Trailblazers of the Game" in 2011.

MAURICE CHEEKS

Played point guard for five different teams over a 15-year NBA career. Averaged 11.1 points and 6.7 assists over his career. Four-time All-Star and four-time All-Defensive 1st team. Won an NBA Championship with the 76ers in 1983. Fifth all-time in career steals, and 10th all-time in career assists. After his playing career, was a head coach in the NBA for eight seasons, four with Portland and four with Philadelphia. His teams typically showed minimal improvement over his tenure, and he never made it past the first round of the playoffs. Currently an assistant coach in Oklahoma City.

BERNARD KING

Named a first-team All-American his final year in Tennessee. Played 14 seasons in the NBA for five different teams. Peaked in the 1983-84 and 84-85 seasons with the Knicks, averaging 27.4 points per game and 31.6 points per game respectively. Four-time NBA All-Star and two-time All-NBA 1st team. Career was altered by a knee injury suffered in 1985. The injury forced him to miss the 1985-86 season, and by all accounts, limited his game. Finished his career averaging 22.5 points per game, 27th best in NBA history.

DICK MOTTA

Served as a an NBA head coach from 1968-1997, including stints with the Bulls, Bullets, Mavericks, Kings and Nuggets . Compiled a 935-1,017 record in the NBA, the wins ranking him 11th all-time. Named coach of the year with the Bulls in 1971, and won an NBA Championship with the Bullets in 1978. Also coached at Weber State from 1962-1968.

DON NELSON

Coached for 31 years in the NBA, and the league's all-time wins leader with 1,335. Coached for the Bucks, Warriors, Knicks and Mavericks. Never won or appeared in an NBA championship game. Compiled a 75-91 career playoff record. Three-time NBA Coach of the Year in 1983 and 1985 with the Bucks, and in 1992 with the Warriors. Fired just once in his career, by Golden State after a 14-31 start to the 1994-95 season. Also spent 14 years in the NBA as a player, winning five championships with the Celtics.

HANK NICHOLS

Worked in officiating in the NCAA. As an official, called six NCAA championship games, 10 Final Fours, three NIT Tournaments and two Olympics. The head of NCAA officiating for 20 years after retiring as an official. Inducted into the Buffalo Sports Hall of Fame in 2008.

RALPH SAMPSON

One of the most decorated college playes of all-time, won the Naismith College Player of the Year Award three times, and the John Wooden Award twice at Virginia. After being selected first overall by the Rockets in 1983, the 7'4 Sampson won NBA Rookie of the Year. Posted two more monster seasons for the Rockets before being slowed by injuries. Four-time All-Star, and second team All-NBA in 1984-85. Retired at 31 after several injury-riddled seasons.

JAMAAL WILKES

Won NCAA titles with UCLA in 1972 and 1973, and named a first-team All-American in 1973 and 1974. Played in the NBA from 1974-86 for the Warriors, Lakers and Clippers. Named the Rookie of the Year in 1975 after averaging 14.2 points and 8.2 rebounds per game for Golden State. Three-time All-Star, and two-time All-Defense 2nd team. Averaged a career-high 22.6 points per game during the 1980-81 season. Finished his career averaging 17.7 points and 6.2 rebounds. Won three NBA championships, with the Warriors in 1975, and with the Lakers in 1980 and 1982. 

The Class will be announced on April 2 at the Final Four.

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