Indianapolis, IN (SportsNetwork.com) - John Calipari, Dikembe Mutombo and Lisa Leslie are among this year's inductees for the Basketball Hall of Fame.
Calipari, a three-time college coach of the year whose Kentucky squad suffered its only loss of this season on Saturday against Wisconsin in the Final Four, was on the ballot for the first time, as were eight-time NBA All-Star Mutombo and three-time WNBA MVP Leslie.
Ironically, Calipari was elected for enshrinement while his counterpart from Saturday, Bo Ryan, was among the finalists who did not make the cut.
Joining the trio in this year's elected class will be four-time NBA All-Star Spencer Haywood, seven-time NBA All-Star Jo Jo White and 39-year NBA referee Dick Bavetta.
Also inducted will be five directly-elected members previously announced in February. They include Louie Dampier from the American Basketball Association Committee, John Isaacs from the Early African-American Pioneers Committee, Lindsay Gaze from the International Committee, former Celtics coach Tom Heinsohn from the Veterans Committee and former college coach George Raveling from the Contributor Direct Election Committee.
Enshrinement ceremonies are set for Sept. 11 in Springfield, Massachusetts.
"The Class of 2015 is a group of outstanding individuals who represent many eras and facets of basketball," said Jerry Colangelo, Chairman of the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame Board. "Their commitment to the game is undeniable and the impact they have had on others is even greater. We are very pleased to honor this remarkable group of inductees."
Calipari was voted as the National Association of Basketball Coaches and Naismith Coach of the Year in 1996 with Massachusetts and in 2009 with Kentucky, adding the NABC honor again this year. He was the coach at UMass from 1988-96, guiding the Minutemen to the Final Four in his last year, then spent nine years at Memphis from 2000-09, also leading the Tigers to the NCAA Tournament title game in 2008. Calipari has guided Kentucky to the Final Four four times, winning the national championship in 2012 before a runner-up finish last year.
Mutombo, in addition to his All-Star appearances, was also a four-time NBA Defensive Player of the Year. He led the league in blocked shots for five consecutive years from 1994-98 and blocks per game from 1994-96. The Georgetown product played in the NBA from 1991 through 2009, recording 11,729 points, 12,359 rebounds, and 3,289 blocks in 18 NBA seasons.
Leslie won the WNBA's MVP in 2001, 2004 and 2006, and was an eight-time league All-Star during her storied career. She was the first player to dunk in a WNBA game, won the WNBA championship with the Los Angeles Sparks in 2001 and 2002 and is the league's all-time leader in total rebounds with 3,307. A Naismith Trophy winner as women's college player of the year at USC in 1994, Leslie has also starred on the international stage as a four-time Olympic gold medal winner for the United States.
Haywood was a four-time NBA All-Star and averaged over 20 points six times during his career. He won an Olympic gold medal in 1968 and was the ABA's top rookie in 1969 before moving on to the NBA the following year, winning an NBA title with the Lakers in 1980. A two-time All-NBA First-Team member, Haywood finished his career with 14,592 points and 7,038 rebounds.
White was an All-Star for seven consecutive seasons from 1971-77 and averaged 17.2 points and 4.9 assists during his 12-year NBA career. He helped Boston to NBA titles in 1974 and '76, winning NBA Finals MVP honors in the 1976 championship series against Phoenix.
Bavetta never missed a game in his 39-year NBA career, concluding the 2013-14 season having officiated 2,635 consecutive regular-season games. He also officiated 270 career NBA playoff games in 29 consecutive seasons, including 27 NBA Finals games, and was the first NBA official to referee the Olympic Games in 1992.
Finalists needed 18 of 24 votes from the Honors Committee for election into the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame.
Other finalists not elected, aside from Ryan, were NBA stars Tim Hardaway and Kevin Johnson, NBA coach Bill Fitch and high school coaches Robert Hughes and Leta Andrews.