Sunday, November 6, 2011

Janet Harris Inducted In Illinois HOF


Imacon Color Scanner   Former Georgia Lady Dawg Janet Harris,
the first player in NCAA women's basketball history to record 2,500 points and 1,250 rebounds, is among the inaugural inductees in the Illinois High School Basketball Hall of Fame this weekend.

Sixty players, including 10 girls standouts, comprise the initial class. "Most people who have been around Illinois high school basketball since Janet played, believe that she was the state's greatest player ever,"

Coach Andy Landers said. "I would certainly agree. Janet was the University of Georgia's first great recruit and player and as much as anyone put Georgia Basketball on the map. For that, we are forever thankful."

A native of Chicago, Harris was the nation's top-ranked recruit in her final season at John Marshall High School in 1980-81. She was named first-team All-America by, among others, Street & Smith's, Parade and Adidas after averaging 19 points and 14 rebounds as a senior. Harris led Marshall to an 88-6 record in her final three seasons there, including 31-2 effort as a senior.

Harris was the first female player inducted into the Chicago Public League Basketball Coaches Association (CPLBCA) Hall of Fame in 1993...and the only girl included in that organization's first three classes. "Janet was the No. 1-ranked high school player in the country and proved very worthy of that honor in not only the championships she won at John Marshall but also in how she performed as a freshman at the University of
Georgia in becoming a consensus first-team All-American," Landers said.

Harris is Georgia Basketball's only four-time All-American and earned consensus first-team recognition as a freshman, junior and senior. Harris scored 2,641 points and grabbed 1,398 rebounds for the Lady Dawgs, tallies that still rank No. 23 and No. 13 all-time in NCAA history.

Harris led Georgia to a bid to the first-ever NCAA Tournament in 1982. The following year, she helped the Lady Dawgs capture their first SEC Championship and reach the NCAA Final Four. After leading Georgia to another SEC title in 1984, Harris and her teammates finished as NCAA runners-up in 1985.

Harris averaged a double-double of 20.2 points and 10.7 rebounds at Georgia, marks that no doubt could have been significantly higher. In a testament to her commitment to team success, Harris' scoring average actually decreased in her first three seasons in Athens (from 22.4 as a freshman to 20.4 as a sophomore to 17.8 as a junior) as the Lady Dawgs signed more great players such as Teresa Edwards and Katrina McClain.

"It was extremely difficult for the Selection Committee to finalize a group to recommend for induction," said Hall of Fame and Museum Executive Director Dick Corn. "The committee met several times beginning in March and contacted many sources from different regions of the state to reach their final recommendation."

The induction ceremony will be held Saturday at the Colonnades Club inside Memorial Stadium on the University of Illinois campus. The other girls inductees are: Kathy Boswell (Joliet West), Dominique Canty (Chicago Whitney Young), Tamika Catchings (Lincolnshire Stevenson), Pam Gant (Joliet East), Yolanda Griffith (Chicago Carver), E.C. Hill (Chicago Whitney Young), Tina Hutchinson (East St. Louis Lincoln), Nora Lewis (Peoria Richwoods) and Kim Williams (Chicago Marshall).

Notable boys inductees include: Mark Aguirre (Chicago Westinghouse), Lou Boudreau (Harvey Thornton), Quinn Bucker (Dolton Thornridge), LaPhonso Ellis (East St. Louis Lincoln), Kevin Garnett (Chicago Farragut), Dan Issel (Batavia), Don Nelson (Rock Island), Glenn (Doc) Rivers (Maywood Proviso East), Jerry Sloan (McLeansboro) and Isiah Thomas (Westchester St. Joseph).

The Illinois High School Basketball Hall of Fame and Museum is committed to honoring the finest players, coaches and teams in every era of the rich history of high school basketball in the state. The Hall of Fame and Museum will be located in Pinckneyville, Ill.

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