Six Worthy Candidates Selected to NJCAA Basketball Hall of Fame for 2012
January 25, 2012
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: Jan. 25, 2012
Contact: Mark Krug, NJCAA Director of Media Relations &
Assistant Executive Director
Six Worthy Candidates Selected to NJCAA Basketball Hall of Fame for 2012
COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. – The 2012 Basketball Hall of Fame class has been released by the NJCAA Men’s Basketball Coaches Association. The 2012 class includes one of the best national tournament players in NJCAA history, Jim Boyce of Burlington Junior College (now known as Southeastern Community College, Iowa), as well as former Vincennes University (Ind.) players Carl Landry and Clarence Walker.
Three deserving coaches making up this year’s class includes Gene Bahnsen of Wharton County Junior College (Texas), Buster Gilliss of Bismarck State College (N.D.) and Kevin McCarthy of SUNY Cobleskill (N.Y.).
Since its inception in 1984, a total of 130 coaches, players and special contributors have been inducted into the NJCAA Men’s Basketball Coaches Assn. Hall of Fame.
Bahnsen, Boyce, Landry and Walker will be honored at the 2012 NJCAA Division I Men’s Basketball Championship banquet on March 19 in Hutchinson, Kan. Gilliss will be honored at the 2012 NJCAA Division II Men’s Basketball Championship banquet on March 19 in Danville, Ill. McCarthy will be honored at the NJCAA Division III Men’s Basketball Championship banquet on March 14 in Loch Sheldrake, N.Y.
Burlington Junior College, Iowa
A native of Detroit, Mich., Jim Boyce was an All-Detroit City and All-State selection in high school from 1953-55. He entered in the U.S. Army following his prep years and competed for the All-Armed Forces basketball squad. Boyce then landed at Burlington Junior College (now known as Southeastern Community College) in West Burlington, Iowa.
Boyce led the Burlington to back-to-back NJCAA national tournament appearances in Hutchinson in 1963 and ’64. He earned All-Tournament team honors both years as well as First-Team NJCAA All-American his second season and a Third-Team All-American honors as a freshman.
As a freshman he averaged 24.9 points per game during the regular season and tallied 108 points in the 1963 national tournament, leading the Blackhawks to a fourth-place finish. Boyce and teammate Bobby Joe Hill, who would later star at Texas Western, combined to score 223 points in five games.
Boyce returned for his sophomore season at Burlington and again led the Blackhawks to a fourth place finish in Hutchinson. He earned All-Tournament team honors for the second consecutive year, along with teammate Mel Daniels (1968 ABA Rookie of the Year) after scoring 100 points in five games, including a 33-point effort against Lon Morris (Texas) to secure fourth place. His 208 points scored currently ranks eighth all-time in the 64-year history of the national tournament.
After Burlington, Boyce transferred to the University of Detroit where he played two seasons. In 1964-65 he averaged 9.5 points and 9.6 rebounds, helping the Titans reach the NIT. He then contributed 15.5 points and 8.2 rebounds for the 1965-66 campaign.
After graduating from Detroit, Boyce jumped into coaching. He was a graduate assistant at Detroit under then head coach Dick Vitale and then became the head coach at Detroit Northwestern High School where he compiled a record of 62-16. He later was the head coach at Eastern Michigan University from 1979 to 1986, posting an 84-96 record.
Boyce passed away in 2001 and is remembered as one of the best basketball players of his era from Detroit.
Vincennes University (Ind.)
Before becoming a star at Purdue University and the NBA, forward Carl Landry was a head-turning dunk artist and versatile performer at both ends of the floor for the Vincennes Trailblazers for two seasons.
A First-Team NJCAA All-American as a sophomore for the 2003-04 season, Landry averaged 19.4 points, 8.9 rebounds, 2.2 assists and 2.28 blocks per game.
The Milwaukee, Wisc., native would probably have amassed monstrous career numbers at VU but he missed nearly half of his freshman season with a broken hand. Despite the curtailed initial season with the injury, Landry still averaged 14.0 points and 7.4 rebounds per contest.
Landry went on to excel at the NCAA Division I level at Purdue. His junior season was memorable, splashing into the Big Ten averaging 18.2 points and 7.1 rebounds in 25 games in 2004-05. He would go on to average 18.4 points and 7.1 rebounds in 64 career games with the Boilermakers.
He currently ranks second all-time in Purdue history in career field goal percentage and sixth in scoring average. Landry was a First-Team All-Big 10 selection and led the Boilermakers in scoring, rebounding, and blocked shots his final season in West Lafayette.
Landry was selected by the Seattle Supersonics (now Oklahoma City Thunder) with the 31st pick in the 2007 NBA Draft and then traded to the Houston Rockets…then later to the Sacramento Kings. He currently plays for the New Orleans Hornets.
Vincennes University (Ind.)
Clarence Walker, affectionately nicknamed ‘Foots’ due to his having a large shoe size as a kid, went to Vincennes after a successful high school career in South Hampton, N.Y., and didn’t disappoint the Trailblazer faithful.
The point guard was solid in his first season at VU, averaging 11.2 points per contest, then scored 15.5 points per game his second year to help the 33-0 Trailblazers capture their third NJCAA National Championship.
In the 1972 national title game win over Ferrum (Va.) in Hutchinson, Kan., Walker led VU with 21 points (including an 11-for-13 performance at the free throw line).
Following his stellar performance in the NJCAA final game, Walker showed off his skills again at West Georgia State, leading the Braves to the 1974 NAIA National Championship and was named the tournament’s Most Valuable Player. The award came after Walker scored 111 points and had 44 assists, playing almost every minute of the Braves’ five games in the tournament. He scored 24 points and dished out 11 assists against Alcorn State in the national title game.
He was drafted in the third round of the 1974 NBA Draft by the Cleveland Cavaliers and became the first West Georgia State athlete to play in the NBA. In typical “Foots” Walker fashion, he left his mark on the Cavaliers organization, and remains in the Cavs’ top 10 in assists and steals. Despite leg and foot ailments of his own, Walker was third in the NBA in assists (8.0) and ninth in steals (2.04) from 1979-81.
Wharton County Junior College, Texas
After serving his country in the U.S. Air Force from 1956-59, Gene Bahnsen was hired by Wharton County Junior College in 1959 as head men’s basketball coach, assistant football coach and physical education instructor.
Since 1959 Bahnsen has dedicated over half a century to the college and its academic and athletic programs.
For 45 years he roamed the sidelines as the leader of the men’s basketball program, compiling a 609-446 overall record in the process. He led two of his squads to Region 14 Championships (1966, 1973) and two Texas Junior College Athletic Conference titles (1964, 1965). The Pioneers also were Region 14 South runners-up five times (1975, 197, 1980, 1984, 1989) under his direction.
In 1965 Bahnsen took over as athletic director in addition to being the head coach of both the men’s basketball and football programs. In 1970, he relinquished the football coaching gig and remained athletic director and head basketball coach as well as chair of the kinesiology department.
Under his leadership, intercollegiate athletics at Wharton County grew to one of the most diverse programs in the country, participating in nine sports. In the late 1980’s, and again in the early 1990’s, the college trimmed back its athletic opportunities and eliminated several sports, including the men’s basketball program in 1991. However, Bahnsen stayed on as athletic director and currently resides over the college’s baseball, rodeo and volleyball teams while also heading the kinesiology academic program.
In 1982 Bahnsen received a special award for Contributions to Texas Junior College Football and continues to serve as the Commissioner of Officials for the Southwest Junior College Football Conference. In 1986 he received the Gerry Smith Memorial Award in Waco, Texas for Outstanding Service to Junior College Athletics.
“The highlight of all those years were the many experiences of helping so many young men come to a Junior College to try and make it and move on to a four-year institution,” said Bahnsen upon learning of his most recent honor. “It was a privilege to see them earn a degree and be a successful in their careers.”
Bismarck State College, N.D.
Known for his fast tempo offenses, Gilliss posted a 503-319 overall coaching record in over 30 years of coaching at both the high school and collegiate level in his home state of North Dakota.
Gilliss began his head coaching career in 1986 when he was hired to lead the Lumberjacks of North Dakota State University- Bottineau (now knows as Dakota College – Bottineau). After five seasons in Bottineau he took over the men’s basketball program at Bismarck State College in 1991 and would go on to lead the Mystics for 17 seasons.
Bismarck State won 11 Region 13 Championships and advanced to the NJCAA Division II national tournament three times (1993, 1997, 2001), including a sixth place finish in 1993.
Gilliss stepped down as head coach in 2008 and finished his NJCAA career with a 402-263 overall coaching record and guided 11 student-athletes to All-America honors.
He was 11 times named Region 13 Coach of the Year and was a three-time NJCAA District Coach of the Year.
Off the court, Gilliss has been an active leader in the NJCAA. He first served as Region 13’s assistant men’s director from 2000-10 before being promoted to Region 13 men’s director in 2010. He has served as a member of the NJCAA Division II men’s basketball committee since 2004 and has been a respected voter in several national polls. Gilliss also currently serves on the NJCAA ice hockey committee.
A graduate of Jamestown College (N.D.), he was inducted into the hall of fame of his alma mater in 1988 as well as the Dakota College – Bottineau Hall of Fame in 1996.
SUNY Cobleskill, N.Y.
In 17 seasons as the head coach of SUNY Cobleskill, Kevin McCarthy led the NJCAA Division III program to 339 wins and posted a 74.4 winning percentage. He led the Tigers to 13 consecutive 20-plus win seasons with several milestones in-between.
Under McCarthy the Tigers won three Region 3 Championships and advanced to the NJCAA Division III Men’s Basketball Tournament three times (1998, 2005, 2008) – twice qualifying to the semifinals (1998 and 2008).
He won NJCAA District Coach of the Year honors three times and Mountain Valley Conference Coach of the Year four times. He was also named New York State BCANY Coach of the Year in 1998.
McCarthy has received several honors during his career recognizing his uncompromised integrity. He received the Guardian of the Game Award for Educational Excellence in 2004 from the National Assn. of Basketball Coaches and the National Award for Ethics, Integrity, Service and Success in 2009 from the NJCAA Men’s Basketball Coaches Assn.
A former NJCAA basketball player at Clinton Community College (N.Y.) in the early 1970’s, McCarthy represented the interests of the two-year college basketball community from 1996-2008 as a member of the NABC Junior College Advisory Board and was a member of the NJCAA Men’s Basketball Coaches Assn. board of directors for 12 years. He also served as the head coach of the NJCAA All-Star team in 2006.
In addition to coaching, McCarthy has served as SUNY Cobleskill’s athletic director since 1996 (a position he still holds today) and was the 2004 National Assn. of Collegiate Directors of Athletics Junior College Athletic Director of the Year.
Photos courtesy of University of Detroit-Mercy Sports Information; Southeastern Community College; Vincennes University; Wharton County Junior College; Bismarck State College; and SUNY Cobleskill.