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The Wolverine: Covering University of Michigan Football and Sports

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MAY 2020 THE WOLVERINE 7 BY AUSTIN FOX I t was announced April 4 that former Michigan star center Rudy Tomjanovich (1967-70) was one of nine basketball icons who would be inducted into the Naismith Hall of Fame as part of the 2020 class. Tomjanovich's selection was not only based on the outstand- ing playing career he had dur- ing his three seasons in Ann Arbor (freshmen were not yet allowed to appear in games at the time) and 11 years as a player with the Houston Rock- ets, but also for his 13-year head coaching tenure that saw him win two NBA championships with the aforementioned pro club in 1994 and 1995. The former U-M big man posted eye-popping collegiate statistics with the Maize and Blue, averaging 19.5 points and 13.5 rebounds as a sophomore, 25.7 points and 14.5 boards as a junior, and 30.1 points and 15.5 rebounds as a senior. He also earned first-team All-Big Ten honors in both 1969 and 1970, while taking home All-America accolades in the latter. Tomjanovich's 1,309 career re- bounds are the most for any player in Michigan history, while his 1,808 points check in sixth on the Wolver- ines' all-time list. He also holds the Crisler Center record for the most points (48) and field goals (21) in a single game, setting the marks against Indiana in 1969. The 27 re- bounds he pulled down against Ken- tucky on Dec. 6, 1967, meanwhile, are also a Crisler Center record, set in what was the first game ever played in the arena. The conclusion of the center 's illustrious U-M career cul- minated with his No. 45 jersey being raised to the Crisler rafters. Tomjanovich then went on to be- come the No. 2 overall pick in the 1970 NBA Draft before enjoying an outstanding pro career with the Rockets, finishing third on the orga- nization's all-time scoring list with 13,383 points and fourth in rebounds with 6,198. He made five NBA All- Star Game appearances (1974-77, '79), averaged 17.4 points and 8.1 boards throughout his professional tenure, and — like at Michigan — saw his No. 45 jersey retired by the organization. Tomjanovich then spent nine years as an assistant coach with Hous- ton, before serving as their head man for the ensuing 12 seasons (1992-2003). He took the club to the playoffs in seven of his 12 years on the job, won back- to-back NBA championships in 1994 and 1995, and even led the United States team to a gold medal as their head coach dur- ing the 2000 Summer Olympics. Tomjanovich concluded his coaching career with a brief stint leading the Los Angeles Lak- ers in 2004-05, but resigned after just 43 games. The 2020 induction ceremony is slated to take place Aug. 29, with the late Patrick Baumann (former Secretary General of FIBA) and Kobe Bryant (for- mer Los Angeles Lakers guard), Tim Duncan (former San An- tonio Spurs power forward/ center), Kevin Garnett (former NBA power forward/center), Eddie Sutton (former collegiate head coach), Tamika Catchings (former WNBA small forward), Kim Mulkey (head coach of Baylor) and Barbara Stevens (head coach of Bent- ley University) the other eight honor- ees who will be inducted. Current Michigan head coach Ju- wan Howard offered his congratu- lations to Tomjanovich on Twitter upon hearing the news, offering the following heartfelt message: "My sincerest congrats to Rudy T on his election to the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame! He was a tremendous [Michigan] man, a pro's pro, a [two-time] NBA champion, an innovative head coach, a true inspi- ration who dedicated his life & did so much for the game of basketball." ❑ Inside Michigan ATHLETICS Former Michigan Basketball Star Rudy Tomjanovich To Be Inducted Into Naismith Hall Of Fame Tomjanovich had his No. 45 retired by both Michigan and the Houston Rockets, then embarked on a successful coaching career that included winning back-to-back NBA champion- ships and an Olympic gold medal as a head coach. PHOTO COURTESY MICHIGAN PHOTOGRAPHY

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