Former Tar Heel great Phil Ford will join his former coach and mentor Dean Smith in National Collegiate Basketball Hall of Fame. The induction will take place on November 18th in Kansas City, MO.
Ford was a star for the Tar Heels from the moment he arrived on campus. He was the ACC tournament MVP as a freshman in 1975, and averaged 18.6 points per game during his collegiate career, which spanned 1974 to 1978.
"I didn't think I would ever get a call for such a tremendous honor as this," said Ford, who thanked former teammates and former UNC coach Dean Smith. "It's overwhelming and I'm truly humbled and it's something that I'll cherish the rest of my life.
"I was very blessed to play with great teammates and play for the greatest coach who ever coached basketball."
Ford was a once in a generation player. I saw a comment on a previous post that said younger fans think Ty Lawson was a better point guard. While I would argue Lawson's 2008-09 campaign was the best single season by a UNC point guard, Ford's career at UNC was transcendent. He was a dominant player for all four years, ran Dean Smith's signature Four Corners to perfection and remained the all time leading scorer in UNC history for over 30 years until Tyler Hansbrough came along. Given the quality of talent to come through UNC since Ford graduated(and despite early departures for the NBA) the fact Ford's scoring mark remained as long as it did was a testament to his place in UNC history. Ford was a two-time All American and in 1978 won ACC and National Player of the Year honors which led to his #12 being retired. The only accolade missing from his resume was an NCAA title. Ford was a part of the 1977 UNC team that lost to Marquette in the national championship game. The fact Ford and Dean Smith were unable to win a title that season made that loss one of the more crushing defeats in the Smith era.
In addition to Dean Smith and now Phil Ford, the following current/former Tar Heels are already in the Collegiate Basketball Hall of Fame: Larry Brown, Billy Cunningham, Bob McAdoo, Frank McGuire. Roy Williams and James Worthy.