Two of Alaska’s all-time greatest basketball players joined the Alaska Sports Hall of Fame’s Class of 2014. The announcement, made in December after a months-long public voting process, highlighted the achievements of Jeannie Hebert Truax and Mario Chalmers.
“The Selection Panel had to make some extremely difficult choices,” said Alaska Sports Hall of Fame executive director Harlow Robinson. “There were many strong candidates in all categories, and they arrived with a class we can all be very proud of.”
Continuing with the basketball theme, the UAA Men’s upset of eventual NCAA National Champion Michigan in 1988 was selected in the “Moment” category. The Yukon Quest was named in the “Event” category.
Robinson said more than 1,600 people voted in the public process. The accumulative public vote total constituted one ballot, and nine panel members also voted, for a total of 10 votes.
Two new individuals will appear on next year’s public ballot by virtue of appearing on a selection panel ballot for the first time: Iron Dog legend John Faeo, and Lathrop High School basketball coach and University of Alaska Fairbanks hoops legend Milo Griffin. They will join the existing candidates on next year’s ballot.
Here are the details on each of the recipients for the Class of 2014. An induction ceremony is scheduled for March.
Jeannie Hebert Truax
Jeannie was inducted into the University of Miami Hall of Fame in 2003. She started 119 games and finished her career ranked second in assists (694), third in scoring (1,766) and fourth in steals (237). She helped Miami earn its first berth to the NCAA Tournament in 1989 and post an 18-0 Big East record in 1992. As a high school star in Fairbanks at North Pole and Monroe, she won three player-of-the-year awards. As a high school coach, she has guided Wasilla to four Class 4A state championships, including three in a row (2010-12).
Mario is the only Alaskan and one of only a handful nationally to win titles at the high school, NCAA Division I and pro levels. He has two NBA championships with the Miami Heat, and in college he sank a dramatic 3-pointer with 2.1 seconds left in regulation to force overtime and help lead Kansas past Memphis in the NCAA title game. He was a three-time Alaska Player of the Year at Bartlett High School.
UAA Upsets No. 2-ranked Michigan in 1988 (Moment Category)
On Dec. 29, 1988, the UAA men’s basketball team shocked the college basketball world by upsetting the No. 2-ranked Michigan Wolverines, 70-66, at a tournament in Utah. Ron Fischer scored 16 points to lead UAA past a Michigan team that featured five future NBA players and went on to win the 1989 NCAA championship.
Yukon Quest (Event Category)
The 1,000-mile race is run every February between Fairbanks and Whitehorse, Yukon. Because of the harsh winter conditions, difficult trail and the limited support that competitors are allowed, it is arguably the toughest race in the world. First run in 1984, the race course follows the route of the historic Klondike Gold Rush and challenges mushers with harsh weather, arduous climbs and long, lonely stretches between checkpoints.