Congratulations to former Georgia star and U.S. Olympian Katrina McClain, who learned Monday she’s heading to the Naismaith Basketball Hall of Fame. Here’s the report from New Orleans filed by UGA’s Sports Communication office. . . .
Katrina McClain, Georgia Basketball’s first-ever National Player of the Year in 1987 who went on to become a three-time U.S. Olympian, has been elected to the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame. The Hall’s Class of 2012 was announced on Monday in New Orleans in association with the NCAA Men’s Final Four.
“It’s always good to feel like you’re part of a family,” McClain said at the ceremonies. “Knowing from the past, my best friend Teresa Edwards was inducted last year, she talked about how great the Naismith family is and how great the people from the Hall of Fame treat you. This is a wonderful feeling and I feel so honored.”
McClain’s basketball resume is as distinguished as virtually any player in women’s basketball history. She enjoyed immense success at every level – from high school to college to international and professional.
“There is a large contingency of people, both in this country and worldwide, who think Katrina McClain could be women’s basketball’s best power player ever,” Georgia coach Andy Landers said. “I hear that expressed over and over again when I talk with coaches who actually coached her or coached against her. Katrina’s accomplishments on every level speak for themselves. They don’t need someone to trumpet them. She will go down as one of the all-time greats and induction into the Naismith Hall of Fame only validates that assessment.”
McClain, a 6-2, forward/center from Charleston, S.C., first earned national acclaim as a standout at St. Andrews High School where she was a three-time all-state performer. McClain led St. Andrews to a 30-0 record and a state championship as a senior and also led the South Carolina Junior Olympic team to the 1982 national championship.
During her four seasons at Georgia from 1983-84 to 1986-87, McClain helped the Lady Bulldogs compile a 116-15 record while finishing as NCAA runner-up in 1985 and SEC Champions in 1984 and 1986. McClain was a consensus All-America selection in both 1986 and 1987 and became Georgia’s first National Player of the Year honoree as a senior. She also was named SEC Freshman of the Year in 1984 and SEC Player of the Year in 1987.
McClain owns Georgia’s career field goal percentage record, connecting on an amazing 62.0 percent of her shots from the floor as a Lady Bulldog. In addition, she also ranks No. 3 in points (2,195), No. 2 in rebounds (1,193), No. 2 in free throws made (449), No. 2 in free throws attempted (616), No. 2 in field goals made (873), No. 9 in field goal attempts (1,407) and No. 2 in blocked shots (290). During her National Player of the Year campaign, McClain established five season records that still stand – points (796), points per game (24.9), field goals made (310), free throws made (176) and free throws attempted (240). She also owns the top three season field goal percentage marks in UGA history.
McClain began establishing herself as one of the top players in the world while still playing at Georgia. During the summer of 1986 following her junior season with the Lady Bulldogs she helped lead the United States to two major international titles with gold medal performances at both the Goodwill Games and the World Championships.
McClain went on to become the second woman (joining Edwards) and third player overall (joining Edwards and David Robinson) to represent the U.S. in basketball in three Olympic Games. She was named USA Basketball’s Female Athlete of the Year in both 1988 and 1992.
McClain was the leading scorer for the 1988 U.S. Olympic team, which won the gold medal in Seoul, South Korea. She was a member of the 1992 Olympic squad that won bronze in Barcelona. McClain then capped her international career with a gold medal at the 1996 Centennial Games in Atlanta, Ga., where she was the leading rebounder (8.3 rpg) and second leading scorer (14.1 ppg) while connecting on 73.9 percent (51-of-69) of her field goal attempts.
Following her collegiate days in Athens, McClain also enjoyed a successful professional career. She played for four seasons in Japan (1987-91), one season in Italy (1992) and two years in Spain (1993-94) before returning to Japan for another season (1995). After the 1996 Olympics, McClain returned to Europe to play in Turkey and then joined the ABL’s Atlanta Glory for the 1997-98 season.
The Naismith honor represents the sixth Hall of Fame to induct McClain. She was enshrined into UGA Athletics’ Circle of Honor in 1997, the State of Georgia Sports Hall of Fame in 2005, the State of South Carolina Athletics Hall of Fame in 2006, the Women’s Basketball Hall of Fame in 2006 and the U.S. High School Hall of Fame in 2010.
McClain is Lady Bulldog Basketball’s second Naismith inductee, following Teresa Edwards a year ago.
“One of the things that makes me proud is that both Katrina and Teresa went in (to the Naismith Hall) on the very first opportunity they had as finalists,” Landers said. “That means to me that there’s little question in anyone’s mind about their worthiness.”
McClain is Georgia’s Basketball’s third Naismith member, joining Edwards and Dominique Wilkins, who was enshrined in 2006.
McClain is just the second Southeastern Conference women’s player elected to the Naismith Hall of Fame, joining Edwards.
McClain is the 11th basketball player from an SEC school selected for the Naismith Hall of Fame, joining Charles Barkley (Auburn), Edwards, Alex English (S. Carolina), Cliff Hagan (Kentucky), Bailey Howell (Mississippi State), Dan Issel (Kentucky), Pete Maravich (LSU), Bob Petit (LSU), Frank Ramsey (Kentucky) and Wilkins.
McClain will be officially enshrined in the Naismith Hall of Fame during ceremonies on Sept. 6-8 in Springfield, Mass.