Yesterday, former Tar Heel player and current UNC legend Sam Perkins was announced as a member of the 2018 class for the Collegiate Basketball Hall of Fame. He is the sixth former Tar Heel player, and eleventh UNC member overall, to be inducted into the Hall since it opened its doors in 2006: Larry Brown (inducted as a coach), James Worthy, Bob McAdoo, Billy Cunningham, and UNC coaches Ben Carnevale, Frank McGuire, Dean Smith and Roy Williams were all selected in the initial 2006 class, Phil Ford was selected in 2012, and Charlie Scott was selected in 2015.
One could argue that the 12 year wait was entirely too long and “Big Smooth” or “Sleepy Sam” as he was sometimes known to fans, was long overdue to hear his name called for this honor, but I digress.
Despite not donning a UNC uniform since his senior season in 1984, Perkins’ legacy remains strong, as he is still among the most dominant and successful Tar Heels to ever step foot in Chapel Hill. However, since he played the majority of his career with James Worthy and Michael Jordan, younger fans tend to be uneducated regarding the big man’s prowess.
Though he played the college game in an era that did not utilize a universal three-point line or shot clock, Perkins still ranks in the Top 5 of numerous career stats at UNC. Thanks to his willingness to stay all four years, though he could have left after his junior season, Perkins ranks second in rebounds (1,167), third in scoring (2,145 points) and blocked shots (245), and fourth in double-doubles (47).
Perkins also earned numerous personal and team accolades in his four years from 1980-1984. He was the ACC Rookie of the Year and ACC Tournament MVP in 1981, and a three time first-team All-ACC selection (1982-84). Those awards were partnered with being a consensus second-team All-American in 1982, and a consensus first-team All-American in 1983 and 1984. Of course, “Big Smooth” was also a member of the 1981 NCAA runners-up and helped Dean Smith earn his first title the following year with the 1982 NCAA national champions against Patrick Ewing’s Georgetown Hoyas. The summer following his senior year, he also won a Gold Medal in the Los Angeles Summer Olympics. In the summer of 2002, Perkins was named by the ACC as one of the 50 greatest players to ever play in the conference.
The Collegiate Basketball Hall of Fame is separate from the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame. The Collegiate Hall focuses on players and coaches who made a lasting impression on the college game and is operated by the NABC (National Association of Basketball Coaches). It is the same organization that created and operates the Hall of Fame Classic, which UNC has often participated in.
Note: The original post said Perkins was the fifth UNC player and seventh overall Tar heel to be inducted into the NationaCollegiate Basketball Hall of Fame. That was incorrect, and has been corrected in the first paragraph.