The Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame could have a decided Michigan flavor.
Several players and coaches with local ties are nominees for the Hall of Fame, announced Thursday, and could be enshrined in the Class of 2018.
Among the first-time nominees are former Pistons Chauncey Billups and Richard Hamilton, along with former Michigan coach Steve Fisher. Another player on the “Goin’ to Work” Pistons championship team, Ben Wallace, and current Pistons assistant coach Tim Hardaway are also on the ballot.
The Naismith committee announced Tuesday a change to the criteria, including making candidates eligible for induction after only three full years of retirement. The finalists will be announced during NBA All-Star weekend in February and the inductees will be revealed at the Final Four in April. The enshrinement will take place in Springfield, Mass., in September.
The 2018 class is headlined by Jason Kidd and Steve Nash, who are second and third, respectively, in the career assists in the NBA. Rounding out the six first-time player nominees are Ray Allen, former Piston Grant Hill, Billups and Hamilton.
Fisher, who replaced Bill Frieder just before the NCAA Tournament and took the Wolverines to the 1989 national championship, also helped lead the famed Fab Five to back-to-back appearances in the title game in 1992 and ’93, with Chris Webber — in his second year on the ballot — as a centerpiece.
Billups, a seven-time All-Star, helped the Pistons to the 2004 title with Hamilton as his backcourt mate and Wallace at center. Hamilton was a three-time All-Star. All three have had their jerseys retired by the Pistons.
Hill, who shared honors as rookie of the year in 1995 with Kidd, had an 18-year NBA career and won two titles in college at Duke, where he was a two-time All-America selection.
Among those returning to the ballot are former Piston Mark Aguirre, who won two championships with Detroit; and Rudy Tomjanovich, a Hamtramck native who played at Michigan and was the No. 2 overall pick by the San Diego Rockets in 1970.
A complete list of the Naismith Hall of Fame nominees can be found here.