Feb. 25, 2009
NOTRE DAME, Ind. – Former Irish great Adrian Dantley, who was enshrined into the Naismith Basketball Hall of Fame in September 2008 in Springfield, Mass., will be honored at halftime of the Notre Dame-Villanova game on Monday evening, March 2 in a game that will be carried on ESPN at 7:00 p.m. (EST).
A video tribute honoring Dantley, who still remains the school’s second all-time leading scorer with 2,223 points, will be shown at halftime and a commemorative poster sponsored by Notre Dame Federal Credit Union honoring the Notre Dame legend, will be given out to early-arriving fans. Following the halftime tribute, Dantley, a two-time first-team All-American and the national college player of the year in 1976, will address the crowd.
Dantley was enshrined into the Hall of Fame on September 5, 2008 and was part of seven-member class that included Hakeem Olajuwon, who led the University of Houston to three straight NCAA Final Fours and the Houston Rockets to back-to-back National Basketball Association titles; Patrick Ewing, a two time Olympic gold medalist, 1984 NCAA champion at Georgetown and 11-time NBA All-Star; Pat Riley, head coach of the Miami Heat who has captured a total of five NBA championships as a coach with the Heat and Los Angeles Lakers; ESPN sportscaster Dick Vitale; Detroit Pistons and Detroit Shock owner Bill Davidson; and women’s basketball pioneer and former Immaculata University coach Cathy Rush.
Named national player of the year as a junior in 1975-76 by the United States Basketball Writers Association, Dantley was a two-time first-team All-American in 1974-75 and 1975-76. He also was a member of the United States Olympic basketball team that won the gold medal in Montreal in 1976.
Dantley, named to Notre Dame’s All-Century Team in conjunction with the school’s celebration of the 100th season of the program, averaged 18.3 points per game as a starting forward as a freshman for the Irish in 1973-74. He finished second nationally in scoring as a sophomore with a 30.4 average, ranked fourth nationally in scoring as a junior in ’75-’76 with a 28.6 average and served as captain of Phelps’ Irish team as junior. He played on teams that finished 26-3, 19-10 and 23-6, earning mention on NCAA all-regional teams as a sophomore and junior.
Dantley ranks second on the Irish career scoring list (behind Austin Carr) with 2,223 points. He posted a 25.8 career scoring average and a 9.8 career rebound average and made more free throws (615) than any player in Irish history. He also ranks as the last Irish player to average 10 or more rebounds in successive seasons. After passing up his senior season to make himself available for the NBA draft, Dantley returned to finish his degree requirements at Notre Dame by 1978.
The sixth overall pick in the ’76 NBA draft by Buffalo Braves, he was named the NBA rookie of the year in ’77 with a 20.3 scoring average and a 7.6 rebound mark. He played 15 seasons in the NBA, averaging 24.3 points per game. He led the league five times in free throws made in a season and led the NBA in scoring in ’81 at 30.7 and ’84 at 30.6. He twice was a second-team all-NBA pick.
His 23,177 career points still ranks 18th all-time in the NBA. In all but four seasons as a professional, Dantley averaged 20 points or better, including topping the 30-point mark four straight years (1981-84). The six-time NBA All-Star (1980-82, 1984-86) was named NBA Comeback Player of the Year in 1984, the year he led the league in scoring (30.6).
Dantley played with Buffalo in ’76-’77, with Los Angeles and Indiana in `77-`78, with the Lakers in ’78-’79, then seven years with Utah (’79-’80 through ’85-’86), and Detroit in ’86-’87 and ’87-’88. He was traded from Detroit to Dallas midway through the ’88-’89 season, played all of ’89-’90 in Dallas and later played with Milwaukee Bucks at the end of the `90-`91 season.
He was an assistant coach at Towson State for two seasons from 1993-95 and currently is an assistant coach with the NBA Denver Nuggets. A scholastic All-America player at DeMatha Catholic High School (Md.), he was born Feb. 28, 1956, in Washington, D.C. Dantley became the sixth individual with Notre Dame connections to be inducted into the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame. He joins George E. Keogan (enshrined in 1961), Elmer H. Ripley (1973), Edward “Moose” Krause (1976), Raymond J. Meyer (1979) and J. Walter Kennedy (1981).