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Tuesday, April 4, 2006

White ‘hurts’ after another Hall snub

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Former Kansas University basketball great Jo Jo White has been snubbed by the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame ... again.

The two-time All-America guard, who was part of two Boston Celtics NBA championship teams and an Olympic gold-medal squad, was not included as a member of the Hall's Class of 2006, which was announced Monday.

The class consists of former NBA players Charles Barkley, Joe Dumars and Dominique Wilkins, UConn women's coach Geno Auriemma, Italian coach Sandro Gamba and longtime contributor Dave Gavitt.

"I really don't understand what the criteria are, you don't know who's doing the voting, and so you hold your breath. My gut hurts," White told ESPN.com, indicating after being passed over for so long he is "numb" to the annual snubs.

To be enshrined, a candidate must be approved by 18 of 24 members of the Hall's "honors committee," which includes players, coaches and media. The members vote on a nominee's "total contribution" to the game.

It would seem White's contributions at the very least match those of Dumars, who played on a pair of Detroit Pistons title teams and led the Pistons to another in 2004 as president of basketball operations.

"Dumars was a fine player, but not the player Jo Jo was. My gosh," said former KU assistant coach Sam Miranda, who coached White during the late 1960s and lives in Lawrence. "I don't think there's any comparison talent-wise. I don't know why Jo Jo has not gotten in. He has the credentials."

ESPN.com's Ken Shouler pointed out White's career points per game (17.2), assists (4.9), rebounds (4.0) and playoff numbers of 21.5 ppg, 5.7 apg and 4.5 rpg exceeded Dumars in all categories.

"I think they had such good players with him - (Dave) Cowens, (John) Havlicek - that maybe it has hurt him a bit (with voters)," Miranda said of White, who last played in the NBA in 1981. "But despite having those two, Jo Jo always made the all-star team with them. This comes up every year, and every year I wonder why he's not in."

The 6-foot-3 White has confided to friends he'd love to be included in the Hall.

"Yes, it bothers him," Miranda said of the 59-year-old White, who works in the Celtics' front office. "One reason he was a great player is, he had a lot of pride in what he did. He played great, and he played hard at all times. It has to bother him a bit."

What will it take for White to get in the Hall?

"I think it will take a combination of a guy like Red Auerbach (legendary Celtics coach) and players like Cowens and Havlicek to really put an effort into it, to get some real heavyweights to get after it," Miranda said. "The coaches he played for and some of his teammates would have to push it to get him in there where he belongs."

Arthur update: Darrell Arthur, a 6-foot-9 senior from Dallas' South Oak Cliff High, will not make an unofficial visit to the University of Arizona this week, after all.

South Oak Cliff coach James Mays told rivals.com that Arthur would leave for the Roundball Classic on Thursday and didn't have time to fit in a trip to Tucson, Ariz. Arizona's rivals site indicates Arthur still could make a trip sometime after April 12, which is the end of a dead period in recruiting.

The late signing period runs April 12 to May 17. KU's coaches are expected this week to travel to Dallas to visit with Arthur during the Tuesday-Sunday contact period.

"The plan is to sign a letter-of-intent during the late period, which is next week," Mays told rivals.com "Darrell is still looking at the same schools, which are Kansas, Texas, Baylor and Oklahoma. I will say all four schools are even right now."

KU to meet champs: The national champion Florida Gators are on KU's hoops schedule next season. KU will play Florida on Saturday, Nov. 25, at a yet-to-be-determined location in Las Vegas as part of the Las Vegas Invitational.

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