The legend of Wayman Tisdale delivers vast descriptions. Basketball star. Jazz great. Cancer survivor. Thursday brought a new superlative: Hall of Famer.
Tisdale, Oklahoma's all-time leading scorer and a three-time consensus All-American, was elected to the National Collegiate Basketball Hall of Fame, joining a group of eight to be inducted as part of the 2009 class. "It's just terrific to have Wayman in," said former Sooner coach Billy Tubbs, the man responsible for recruiting Tisdale to OU out of Tulsa's Booker T. Washington High School. "It's great, because he really, really deserves it." Tisdale put a changing face on OU basketball in many ways. Not only was he a difference maker as a player, elevating the Sooners to national prominence while scoring 2,661 points over three seasons - a career average of 25.6 points a game - his personality endeared most who saw him play. "He was such a charismatic player," Tubbs said. "And he responded so well to the fans. The big smile, he was a guy who was really loved in the state of Oklahoma." Tisdale's arrival at OU coincided with the program's first NCAA Tournament appearance under Tubbs in 1983. During his three-year career, he was the Big Eight Player of the Year for every season, led the league in scoring all three years and became just the 10 th player in NCAA history to 2,000 career points and 1,000 rebounds. "He brought a lot of legitimacy to our program," Tubbs said. Tisdale was the second overall pick in the 1985 NBA Draft, going to the Indiana Pacers. "I'm very happy for Wayman and the announcement of his induction into the College Basketball Hall of Fame," current Sooner coach Jeff Capel said from Detroit, site of the Final Four. "Wayman had one of the best careers in the history of college basketball. This is a well-deserved honor." Along with Tisdale, Michigan State's Earvin "Magic" Johnson, Indiana State's Larry Bird and Kentucky State's Travis "Machine Gun" Grant represent the players to be honored.