The day that UNLV fans have been waiting for finally arrived, as on Wednesday the school unveiled the bronze statue built in honor for Jerry Tarkanian, one of the most successful coaches in basketball history. In 19 seasons at UNLV, “Tark the Shark” won 509 games and led the Runnin’ Rebels to their lone national title (1990) and three other Final Four appearances.
Overall Tarkanian recorded 990 wins as a college head coach, with the run including stops at Riverside (Calif.) City College, Pasadena (Calif.) City College, Long Beach State and Fresno State in addition to UNLV. Tarkanian won 81% of the games he coached, and at the Division I level his teams made 14 NCAA tournament appearances (13 trips to the Sweet 16).
And just over a month after he was enshrined in the Naismith Memorial Hall of Fame, Tarkanian was able to sit next to an oversized statue of himself, with the famous wet towel present as well. The extra chair is a part of the statue, allowing visiting fans to sit down next to the coach and have their picture taken. The statue is located in front of the Thomas & Mack Center and behind the Mendenhall Center, where the basketball team practices.
“This beautiful statue is a lasting tribute to not only me but all my players and coaches,” Jerry Tarkanian said. “… I never dreamed something like this could happen.
The 6-foot-3 guard averaged 10.3 points per game, while shooting 42 percent from three, as a freshman. He, along with Malcolm Hill and Michael Thorne Jr., is one of three returning players who averaged double figures last season.
This could prove to be a make-or-break year for John Groce, who enters his fifth season at the helm. He guided the Illini to an NCAA Tournament in his first season, but hasn’t been back since.
The key for the Illini is health. Abrams gives them experience and leadership, but it won’t be a surprise if there’s some rust in his game after spending the past two seasons on the sideline. Having a healthy Coleman-Lands will help stabilize the backcourt, while Hill, an all-conference caliber forward, and Thorne anchor the frontcourt.
Like Alkins, Jones was a sought-after scorer. The 6-foot-4 two-guard was rated No. 69 overall in the Class of 2016 by Rivals. He picked Indiana over offers from Cal, Cincinnati, Georgetown and more than a dozen other high-major programs.
Jeter, the 6-foot-10, played in a reserve role as a freshman, averaging 1.9 points and 1.9 rebounds per game last season. He will be part of a loaded frontline that includes heralded freshmen Harry Giles and Marques Bolden, as well as redshirt senior Amile Jefferson, who returns to the lineup following a foot injury.
The greatest player in Auburn program history will honored with a statue outside of the team’s home arena.
The university announced that Charles Barkley, the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Famer, will be the fourth athlete to be given a statue, joining Heisman Trophy winners Bo Jackson, Pat Sullivan and Cam Newton.
“It just means a great deal to me,” Barkley said in a statement. “Being a kid from Alabama, going to Auburn. I think everybody knows what Auburn means to me. It’s going to be pretty cool.”
Barkley, currently working as an analyst for TNT, was the SEC Player of the Year in 1984, as well as a second team All-American. He averaged 14.1 points and 9.6 rebounds per game in 84 appearances for the Tigers.