Webber, Tomjanovich finalists for Hall of Fame

Tony Paul
The Detroit News

Former "Fab Five" member Chris Webber, estranged from the University of Michigan these days, was announced Saturday morning as one of 14 finalists for the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame.

Also making the cut was former Michigan star Rudy Tomjanovich and Tracy McGrady, who played briefly with the Pistons.

Former Pistons Ben Wallace and Mark Aquirre did not make the final cut.

The Class of 2017 inductees will be announced April 3, Final Four weekend, in Phoenix, and the class will be enshrined Sept. 7-9 in Springfield, Mass.

The complete list of finalists: players Tim Hardaway, McGrady, Sidney Moncrief and Webber; coaches Robert Hughes, Rollie Massimino, Bo Ryan, Bill Self and Tomjanovich; and referee Hugh Evans. From the women's committee: coaches Muffet McGraw and Kim Mulkey, contributor Rebecca Lobo and Wayland Baptist University as a team.

Wallace worthy of basketball Hall, coaches say

Webber, 43, a Detroit native who starred at Country Day High School and was Mr. Basketball his senior year, was the central figure of the "Fab Five," which led Michigan to back-to-back NCAA Tournament championship-game appearances in 1992 and 1993, though those accomplishments have since been scrapped from the record books because of the booster-payments fallout.

While the rest of the "Fab Five" has worked to reconcile with the university, Webber remains a holdout, rarely, if ever, visiting campus. He never responded to an invitation to take part in a "Fab Five" forum on campus in October. Interestingly, though, the Michigan basketball Twitter account publicly congratulated Webber on Saturday.

In the NBA, Webber was the No. 1 overall pick in 1993 by the Orlando Magic, was the 1994 rookie of the year, a five-time All-Star and twice was the league's rebounding champion. He played with the Pistons near the end of his career, in 2006-07.

Tomjanovich, 68, a Hamtramck native, played at Michigan from 1967-70, and still owns the program's rebounding record.

The second overall pick in 1970 by the San Diego Rockets, he played 11 seasons, all with the same franchise, before going on to coach the Rockets for 12 seasons. He won back-to-back NBA championships, in 1994 and 1995.

His last year coaching was with the Los Angeles Lakers, in 2004-05. It was the only year in the NBA he didn't spend with the Rockets, as a player or a coach.

McGrady, 37, spent most of his career with the Toronto Raptors, Orlando Magic and Houston Rockets, before finishing his career with one season with the New York Knicks, one with the Pistons and one with the Atlanta Hawks.

The snub of Wallace, 42, continues to baffle many, given his resume: four-time defensive player of the year, five-time all-defensive first team, a two-time rebounding champion and an NBA champion, in 2004 with the Pistons. He also was a four-time All-Star. Wallace played for the Pistons from 2000-06, and again from 2009-12, after which he retired.