Men's Hoops Picked To Finish Third In Pac-10 Media Poll

Oct. 31, 2001

The USC men's basketball team, which returns three starters and seven lettermen from last year's 2001 Elite Eight squad, was picked to finish third in the 2002 Pacific-10 Conference men's basketball race, according to a poll of media members who cover Pac-10 men's hoops.

UCLA, which received 24 of the 27 possible first-place votes, was tabbed as the favorite for the season (267 points). Stanford (222) was picked second and received one first-place vote. USC (208) was third without receiving any first-place votes. Arizona (200) was fourth and received two first-place votes. California (161) was fifth, followed by Oregon (117), Arizona State (111), Oregon State (95), Washington State (57) and Washington (47).

In other news from Pac-10 men's basketball media day at Staples Center on Wednesday, the conference announced that it will honor 10 former coaches and student-athletes with their induction into the Pac-10 Hall of Honor during the 2002 Pac-10 Tournament.

Trojan All-American Bill Sharman is USC's inductee. The others are Sean Elliott (Arizona), Byron Scott (Arizona State), Pete Newell (California), John Dick (Oregon), Gary Payton (Oregon State), Hank Luisetti (Stanford), John Wooden (UCLA), Bob Houbregs (Washington) and Craig Ehlo (Washington State).

Sharman was an eight-time NBA All-Star and played on four NBA championship teams with the Boston Celtics. As a coach, he was the only one to ever have led teams to titles in three professional leagues: the ABL (Cleveland Pipers, 1962), ABA (Utah Stars, 1970) and NBA (Los Angeles Lakers, 1972). As general manager and president of the Los Angeles Lakers in the 1970s and 1980s, he helped them to five more NBA titles.

As a player, he turned free throw shooting into an art and never shot worse than .800 from the line in any NBA season. Sharman's right-handed push shot, with the ball held at eye level compared to starting at the waist, was responsible not only for his free throw accuracy but for his accuracy all over the court. Players were imitating Sharman's shot before he left college.

In addition to making free throw precision chic and developing a shot players around the country soon copied, it was also Sharman who invented the shoot-around (the game-day workout now standard in basketball). He also played a key role in the early development and implementation of the three-point rule.

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