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UTEP legend Tim Hardaway to be inducted into Naismith Memorial Hall Of Fame

UTEP TIM HARDAWAY PIC 1
COURTESY: UTEP ATHLETICS

EL PASO, Texas - UTEP legend Tim Hardaway (1985-89) will be inducted into the Naismith Memorial Hall of Fame on Saturday.

The ceremony will be televised on NBATV beginning at 5 p.m. MT.

He will be the fifth representative of the UTEP men’s basketball program to be enshrined, joining Nolan Richardson (2014), the 1966 NCAA Champions (2007), Don Haskins (1997) and Nate Archibald (1991)

Hardaway was a three-time All-Western Athletic Conference (WAC) honoree (second team in 1987 and 1988 and first team 1989), in addition to securing NABC All-District accolades in 1988 (second team) and 1989 (first team).

For his career, he amassed 1,586 points (12.6 ppg) while averaging 4.5 assists (seventh all time at UTEP) and 2.1 steals (school record).

He averaged 22 points as a senior and was named the 1989 WAC Player of the Year as result.

He went on to garner WAC Tournament MVP accolades while leading the Miners to the Big Dance for the fourth time of his career.

“I’ve always said that he was a player that improved more from year-to-year-to-year while he was UTEP than any player I’ve ever seen,” longtime UTEP ‘Voice of the Miners’ Jon Teicher said. “He wasn’t the biggest guy, but he was amazingly strong for his size. He had a strong upper body, strong legs and it enabled him to get to places inside the lane that a lot of players of his size were unable to do. That allowed him to finish and to set up others to finish effectively. Because of his work ethic, Tim also developed his shot. I don’t think he was a great shooter when he first got to UTEP. He had an ugly-looking shot, it looked like the earth spinning on its axis, which doesn’t necessarily predict a poor shooter. Once he fixed that, he became a much more effective shooter. Certainly, by the time he got the NBA he had largely fixed that.

“Two other things about Hardaway that stood out is that one he was just unbelievably tough mentally and physically,” Teicher said. “Two, he was incredibly strong on the dribble. I talked about his physical strength but his dribbling skills. He developed that crossover that he used that ultimately was referred to as the ‘UTEP Two-Step’. It was almost impossible to take the ball away from because of how strong and skilled he was on the dribble.”

His No. 10 jersey is hanging in the rafters of the Don Haskins Center, as it was retired in 2012.

He was voted as one of 10 individuals to the UTEP men’s basketball Centennial Team.

To this day, he remains the Miners’ career record holder in steals (262) while ranking second in assists (563).

Former Miner assistant coach Rus Bradburd has unique perspective on Hardaway, as he recruited him to UTEP.

“It was my first-year recruiting, and I was 24 years old,” Bradburd said. “I went to Tim’s house without seeing him play, which was completely backwards, and met him and his grandmother. The next day, I went to see him play in a pick-up game outdoors in a park. It was half-court and windy and there were no nets on the rims, but I was really impressed by him. You could really see he was a fantastic passer and a great dribbler. He really knew the game and really knew how to play.

“I went a couple days later to see him play at the South Shore YMCA”, Bradburd said. “He had a great feel for the game. It was like he was an older guy player with the younger guys. He conserved his energy and played really, really smart.”

Following his time with the Orange and Blue, he was a first-round pick (No. 14 overall) by Golden State in the 1989 NBA draft.

He played in the league from 1989 through 2003, averaging 17.7 points and 8.2 assists while competing with the Warriors, Miami Heat, Dallas Mavericks, Denver Nuggets and Indiana Pacers in 867 career games.

He was a five-time NBA All Star and was an All-NBA point guard on five occasions as well.

Famous for his crossover move that was dubbed the “UTEP two-step”, Hardaway also won a gold medal with the 2000 USA men’s basketball team at the Olympics.

“It’s kind of surreal to see Tim going into the Hall of Fame,” Bradburd said. “I’ve been out here 10 years ago when Nolan Richardson got in, and boy it is a really, really big deal. The things that drove Tim is that I feel like he had something to prove. That kind of thing really drove him to greatness. He really used that fuel him.”

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