Former Kansas State basketball standout Mitch Richmond was among 10 individuals announced Monday to the 2014 class of the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame.
A consensus All-American during his two-year career at K-State from 1986-88, Richmond was joined in the 2014 Hall of Fame induction class by Immaculata University’s AIAW National Championship teams of the early 1970s, seven-time NBA All-Star Alonzo Mourning and national championship-winning head coaches Nolan Richardson and Gary Williams. The group of five is joined by the five directly elected members of former ABA coach Bob Leonard (ABA committee), former NBA players Nat Clifton (African-American pioneer), Sarunas Marciulionis (international committee) and Guy Rodgers (veterans committee) and former NBA commissioner David Stern (contributor committee). The earlier five inductees were announced during the NBA All-Star Weekend.
The announcement was made a press conference in Arlington at the men’s Final Four.
“It is an honor for us to welcome this highly-esteemed Class of 2014 into the Basketball Hall of Fame,” said John L. Doleva, President and CEO of the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame. “Each inductee has made great strides in the sport and serves as an inspiration to many. We look forward to honoring each of these well-deserving members during the Enshrinement Ceremonies.”
Richmond is the fourth person with K-State ties to be named to the Naismith Hall of Fame, following head coaches Jack Gardner (1984) and Tex Winter (2011) and fellow player Bob Boozer, who was a part of the 1960 U.S. Olympic Team elected in 2010. Gardner led the Wildcats to 147 wins and two Final Four appearances in two stints as head coach from 1939-42 and 1946-53, while Winter led the school to 261 victories and two Final Four appearances from 1954-68. Boozer was a contributor on one of the greatest Olympic teams of all-time.
The Hall of Fame induction is one of many honors for Richmond, who was selected as a member of Kansas State’s All-Century Basketball Team in 2003 after earning recognition to the school’s Sports Hall of Fame in 1998. He is one of 11 players to have their jersey retired at K-State, which came in 2009.
To be elected to the Naismith Hall of Fame, finalists require 18 of 24 votes from the Honors Committee. Richmond was named for the honor by the North American committee.
A 6-foot-5 forward from Fort Lauderdale, Fla., Richmond assembled perhaps the greatest two-year playing career in school history for then head coach Lon Kruger from 1986-88 after transferring from Mobley Community College in Mobley, Mo. He is one of just 25 players in school history to top 1,000 points, while he ranks 10th on the all-time scoring list with 1,327 points and fourth in career scoring averaging (20.7 ppg.). His 1,327 points are the most by a player in a two-year career, while his 786 points as a junior in 1987-88 are the second-most in a single season. He still ranks among the top 10 in 21 single-game, season and/or career statistical categories in school history.
“Individually, Mitch was very focused on doing whatever it took to be a great player, but at the core, he was most concerned about his team,” said Kruger. “He had the ability to raise the bar for all those around him, and he could do this because his teammates respected his work ethic and selflessness.”
In addition to his individual accolades, Richmond helped guide the Wildcats to 45 wins, two NCAA Tournaments and a trip to the 1988 NCAA Midwest Regional Final.
A highly-regarded community college transfer, Richmond was the second-leading scorer in 1986-87, guiding the Wildcats to their first 20-win season and NCAA Tournament appearance in five seasons. He averaged 18.6 points on 44.7 percent shooting with 5.7 rebounds and 2.7 assists en route to earning recognition to both United Press International (UPI) All-Junior College team and All-Big Eight Second Team.
As a senior, Richmond led K-State to a then school-record tying 25 wins, a second-place finish in the Big Eight and a rousing trip through the NCAA Tournament that led the Wildcats to an appearance in the Elite Eight. He broke the then single-season scoring mark by pouring in 786 points. He averaged 22.6 points on 51.4 percent shooting in 1987-88 with 6.3 rebounds and 3.7 assists en route to earning second team All-America honors from UPI, Basketball Weekly, The Sporting News and U.S. Basketball Writers Association (USBWA).
In all, Richmond still ranks in the top 10 in four career categories, including fourth in 20-point games (34), fifth in 30-point games (seven), sixth in minutes played (33.8 mpg.) and 10th in field goals made (465). He scored a career-high 41 points against Oklahoma on Feb. 13, 1988, which stands as the eighth-most points in school history, including the fifth-highest in a league game.
Following graduation, Richmond won a spot on the 1988 U.S. Olympic Basketball Team and was a first-round draft pick (fifth overall selection) by the Golden State Warriors. He became one of the premier shooting guards in the NBA during his 14-year career, appearing in six NBA All-Star games, and being named the most valuable player of the 1995 NBA All-Star Game in Phoenix. He also earned second team All-NBA honors in 1994, 1995 and 1997 and third team honors in 1996 and 1998.
Richmond is one of just 10 players in NBA history to average 21.0 or more points in each of his first 10 seasons, joining the likes of Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, Allen Iverson, Michael Jordan, Shaquille O’Neal and Oscar Robertson.
Richmond was an immediate hit with Golden State, teaming with Chris Mullin and Tim Hardaway to form “Run TMC” (TMC for Tim, Mitch and Chris), a high-scoring trio that gave the Warriors the most potent offense from 1988-91. He was named the NBA’s Rookie of the Year in 1989 after averaging 22.0 points per game.
Richmond later played seven seasons with the Kings, becoming the first player in the Sacramento era to have his jersey retired (No. 2) on Dec. 5, 2003. He scored over 20,000 points in his NBA career on 45.5 percent shooting, including 39 percent from 3-point range, with 3,801 rebounds, 3,398 assists, 1,211 steals and 254 blocks in 976 career games. He is just the second Wildcat (Rolando Blackman) to have his jersey retired by a NBA team.
Richmond played on two Olympic teams for the United States, winning the bronze medal at the 1988 Seoul Olympics and the gold medal at the 1996 Barcelona Olympics playing for the “Dream Team.” He retired following his 14th season in the NBA after helping the Los Angeles Lakers win their third straight NBA title in 2002.
The Class of 2014 will be enshrined during a week of events culminating on Friday, Aug. 8 at the Springfield Symphony Hall in Springfield, Mass., followed by a special ceremony at the Mohegan Sun in Uncasville, Conn., on Saturday, Aug. 9. Ticket packages to the ceremony as well as all enshrinement events are on sale now and available by calling the Hall of Fame at (413) 231.5550. Additional information can be found at www.hoophall.com.