Maurice Cheeks misses HOF cut

Updated: March 31, 2012, 12:22 AM ET
By Ric Bucher | ESPN The Magazine

While former NBA coach Don Nelson has disclosed that he has been voted into the Naismith Basketball Hall of Fame, Oklahoma City Thunder assistant coach Maurice Cheeks said Friday night that he has been informed he did not receive the necessary votes for induction.

Cheeks did not elaborate on who told him or have any further comment.

[+] EnlargeMaurice Cheeks
Fernando Medina/NBAE via Getty ImagesMaurice Cheeks said Friday he was not elected to the Naismith Basketball Hall of Fame.

"I was told I didn't make it," he said.

Nelson and Cheeks are two of 12 finalists for the 2012 induction class, announced in late February. Former Indiana Pacers guard and five-time All-Star Reggie Miller, Louisville coach Rick Pitino, former NBA coach Bill Fitch and two-time Olympic gold medalist Katrina McClain are all first-time finalists.

A source told ESPNNewYork.com's Ian O'Connor on Friday that Pitino also did not make the cut.

Nelson, Cheeks, New York Knicks forward Bernard King, former NBA coach Dick Motta, referee Hank Nichols, Virginia legend and Houston Rockets center Ralph Sampson, Lakers swingman Jamaal Wilkes, and the All-American Red Heads -- a female version of the Harlem Globetrotters -- have all been finalists at least once before.

The New York Post, citing a league source, reported Friday that King also did not make the Hall of Fame cut.

"It's fair to say I'm quite disappointed," King told The Post. "I was not selected this year with the 2012 class. Obviously, I'm honored to be a finalist. I think it would be a tremendous honor for my family if I'm inducted. It would be wonderful."

Cheeks was the starting point guard for the 1983 champion Philadelphia 76ers, and was both a four-time All-Star and first-team All-NBA defensive selection four times.

He ranks fifth all-time in steals and 10th all-time in assists. At the time of his retirement in 1993, he was the all-time leader in steals, averaging more than two per game for his career. This was his second consecutive year as a finalist. Finalists must receive at least 18 votes from an honors committee of 24 to take the final step to induction.

This year's class will be announced April 2 in New Orleans in conjunction with the NCAA men's basketball championship game. The induction ceremony will be Sept. 7 at the Hall of Fame in Springfield, Mass.

Information from ESPNNewYork.com's Ian O'Connor was used in this report.

Ric Bucher

NBA Reporter, ESPN The Magazine Senior Writer

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