Dec. 21, 2011
NOTRE DAME, Ind. – Former Irish basketball great and U.S. Olympian Adrian Dantley, the 1976 national college basketball player of the year and a member of the Naismith National Basketball Hall of Fame, will become the fourth inductee into the Notre Dame Basketball Ring of Honor on Friday, March 2, 2012. The ceremony will take place during halftime of the Irish’s final regular-season home game against Providence at Purcell Pavilion at the Joyce Center.
Dantley, who enjoyed a stellar three-year career in an Irish uniform from 1973-76, will join Austin Carr, Luke Harangody and Ruth Riley as a member of Notre Dame’s Ring of Honor. Harangody, who played for the Irish from 2006-10, was the school’s first inductee in February 2010. Riley (1997-2001), who helped lead the Irish women’s basketball program to the national championship in ’01, became the second member the Ring of Honor in November 2010, while Austin Carr (1968-71), who still remains the program’s career scoring leader with 2,560 points, became the third honoree when he was inducted in February 2011.
Named the 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 was named to Notre Dame’s All-Century Team in conjunction with the school’s yearlong celebration of the 100th season of the program during the 2004-05 campaign. He averaged 18.3 points per game as a starting forward as a freshman for the Irish in 1973-74. Dantley 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 Digger Phelps’ Irish team as a 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 third on the Irish career scoring list (behind Austin Carr and Luke Harangody) 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.
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. Dantley 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 ranks 21st 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 was an assistant for eight seasons with the Denver Nuggets. He briefly served as the Nuggets’ head coach during the 2009-10 season.
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 in ’08. He joined George E. Keogan (enshrined in 1961), Elmer H. Ripley (1973), Edward “Moose” Krause (1976), Raymond J. Meyer (1979) and J. Walter Kennedy (1981).