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Charlie Scott Inducted into Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame

Charlie Scott will be the 10th UNC inductee into the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame

NCAA Basketball: Final Four-Hall of Fame Press Conference Shanna Lockwood-USA TODAY Sports

It has certainly been a memorable week for key figures of the Carolina basketball family. On Friday, we celebrated Sam Perkins’ selection into the National Collegiate Basketball Hall of Fame. Then yesterday, Charlie Scott heard his name called as a member of the 2018 class of honorees into the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame.

Scott played for three seasons in Chapel Hill from 1968-1970, finishing with 2,007 points (freshmen were not allowed to play until 1972). He quickly helped UNC return to national prominence as a key member of the 1968 and 1969 Final Four teams that began Dean Smith’s ascension into the hallowed grounds as one of the greatest coaches of all time. Those teams ended a run of three consecutive Final Fours for UNC from 1967-1969. At the time, North Carolina was only one of 4 four schools to have accomplished that feat. UCLA, Ohio State (twice), and San Francisco were the others.

Scott averaged 22.1 points and 7.1 rebounds per game in an era that did not feature the three point line or shot clock. In his senior season at UNC he averaged 27.1 points and 8.6 rebounds per game. Scott was selected as a first team All-ACC honoree all three seasons he was at North Carolina. In 1969 and 1970 he was a consensus second team All-American and currently has his jersey hanging in the rafters of the Smith Center. Scott was also named the 1970 ACC Male Athlete of the Year. The Tar Heels won the ACC regular season and conference tournament in both 1968 and 1969.

His on-court success continued in the NBA and ABA where he made five separate all-star teams - two in the ABA and three in the NBA. In 1971, as a rookie for the ABA’s Virginia Squires, Scott was named Rookie of the Rear and made the ABA All-Rookie First Team. In both 1971 and 1972 he was selected to participate in the ABA All-Star game. He set the all-time single season scoring record for the ABA in 1972 with 34.1 points per game.

After the 1972 season, he joined the Phoenix Suns in the NBA, and was promptly selected to three consecutive NAB All-Star games from 1973-75. Prior to the 1975-76 season, the Boston Celtics acquired Scott in a trade with the Suns and went on to win the NBA Championship. That title made Charlie Scott one of now 17 UNC players to have earned an NBA championship ring.

Scott is also often remembered as the first black athlete to receive a scholarship at North Carolina. Originally from Harlem, New York but playing his high school ball at Laurinburg Institute in North Carolina, Scott was a highly touted recruit sought after by schools across the nation. In the end, his decision came down to Lefty Driesell at Davidson or Dean Smith at UNC. Noted UNC author Art Chansky explored Scott’s journey and importance to UNC in the book Game Changers.

After a fierce recruiting battle, Scott elected to be a Tar Heel giving the program a major in-state and national victory on the recruiting trail. There is a strong case to be made that his decision effectively altered the course of UNC’s and Dean Smith’s trajectory over the next decade, after they spent most of the 1960’s overcoming the obstacles of NCAA and school sanctions due to controversial actions by the previous coach, and 1957 NCAA champion, Frank McGuire.

Scott’s selection into the Naismith Hall of Fame is North Carolina’s 10th player or coach to have his name called. He joins former head coaches McGuire, Smith, and Ben Carnevale as well as former players Billy Cunningham, Bob McAdoo, Larry Brown, James Worthy, Roy Williams, and Michael Jordan.

Scott is the first Tar Heel since Michael Jordan in 2009 to be inducted. The ceremony will be in September.