College Sports

Rolando Blackman makes College Basketball Hall of Fame, CBE Classic to feature K-State, Mizzou

Rolando Blackman, who had his K-State number retired in 2007, will enter the National Collegiate Basketball Hall of Fame in November in Kansas City
Rolando Blackman, who had his K-State number retired in 2007, will enter the National Collegiate Basketball Hall of Fame in November in Kansas City The Associated Press

Pass, screen, move to set up the shot. Kansas State spent seemingly forever working on the play in practice, or so it seemed to Rolando Blackman.

But it paid off.

The play that would result in one of the biggest baskets in Wildcats men’s basketball history — Blackman’s baseline jumper that beat top-ranked Oregon State in the 1981 NCAA West Regional second round — began in coach Jack Hartman’s mind.

“He diagrammed the play, and we went over and over and over it in practice,” Blackman said. “And it came through when we needed it.”

The moment was captured on a Sports Illustrated cover — “March 23rd, 1981, I remember the date,” Blackman said — and now Blackman’s college career will be preserved in the National Collegiate Basketball Hall of Fame.

Blackman was part of an eight-member class unveiled Tuesday at the College Basketball Experience.

Other players who will be inducted at a ceremony on Nov. 20 at the Midland are Indiana’s Quinn Buckner, Ohio State’s John Havlicek, North Carolina’s Charlie Scott and Long Beach State’s Ed Ratleff.

Three coaches will be honored: Dayton’s Don Donoher, Langston’s Zip Gayles, and Lou Henson, who coached at Hardin-Simmons, Illinois and New Mexico State.

Also formally announced on Tuesday was the field for the CBE Classic semifinals and finals, to be played Nov. 23-24 at the Sprint Center. Kansas State, Missouri, North Carolina and Northwestern will participate with pairings to be announced later.

Blackman will become the first Kansas State player inducted in the college hall. Former Wildcats coach Tex Winter was part of the 2010 class.

Blackman was the Big Eight player of the year in 1980 and was chosen the league’s top defensive player for three seasons. He finished with 1,844 career points before embarking on a 13-year NBA career, mostly with the Dallas Mavericks.

But Kansas State set the stage.

“Defense and becoming a two-way player became really important to me,” Blackman said. “Under Jack Hartman, I got to understand the technical aspects of the game. He really helped me become the person I became.”

Blackman played in two NCAA Tournaments. That 1981 team reached the regional final before falling to North Carolina.

Buckner was a three-year captain for the mid-1970s teams coached by Bob Knight, including college basketball’s last team to finish with a perfect record, the 1976 Hoosiers.

Havlicek, who earned All-America honors in 1962 before his long Celtics career, played for Ohio State’s 1960 national title team and the 1961 and 1962 Buckeyes who lost to Cincinnati in the national title game.

Ratleff was a two-time All-American in the early 1970s for coach Jerry Tarkanian at Long Beach State. He averaged 21.4 points over his college career.

Scott, the 1970 Atlantic Coast Conference Athlete of the Year, became the first African-American scholarship athlete at North Carolina and led the Tar Heels to two Final Four appearances.

Donhoer spent his entire 25-year career at Dayton, his alma mater, where he went 437-275 and reached the 1967 NCAA championship game against UCLA.

Gayles went 571-281 and won two National Negro Championships at Langston from 1930-55. From 1944-46 his teams, led by future Harlem Globetrotter Marcus Haynes, won 51 straight games.

Henson took team teams to Final Fours, in 1970 at New Mexico State and 1989 at Illinois. His teams went 779-422 in 41 years.

To reach Blair Kerkhoff, call 816-234-4730 or send email to bkerkhoff@kcstar.com. Follow him on Twitter: @BlairKerkhoff.

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