March 4, 2013
HOUSTON - As the University of Houston Men's Basketball team prepares to close out its regular-season home schedule, it will recognize and honor three legends at halftime of Wednesday's game against crosstown-rival Rice.
Elvin Hayes, Clyde Drexler and Hakeem Olajuwon will receive awards as Top 75 All-Time March Madness Players during ceremonies inside Hofheinz Pavilion. The Houston trio was determined by a panel of college basketball experts commissioned by the NCAA on the 75th anniversary of the NCAA Tournament.
All three Houston greats will be in attendance at Wednesday's game and will be recognized during an awards presentation.
An award-winning member of the Cougars from 1966 to 1968, Hayes led the Cougars to a combined 81-12 record and back-to-back NCAA Final Four appearances in 1967 and 1968. He continues to rank as the Cougars' career leader in scoring and rebounding to this day and was honored as the 1968 National Player of the Year.
The No. 1 pick in the 1968 NBA Draft, Hayes went on to an outstanding professional career in the NBA that included 12 consecutive NBA All-Star Games. To this day, he ranks among the NBA top-10 career scoring leaders and helped lead the Washington Bullets to the 1978 NBA Championship.
Drexler was a three-year letterman from 1980 to 1983 and was a key member of two NCAA Final Four teams. As a junior in 1982-83, the Houston native averaged 15.9 points and 8.8 rebounds per game on the way to All-America First-Team and USBWA District VI Player of the Year honors.
Taken with the No. 14 pick in the 1983 NBA Draft, Drexler ended his professional career among the league's top-20 leaders in scoring and steals and was a 10-time NBA All-Star.
Drexler also earned an Olympic gold medal as a member of the 1992 U.S. "Dream Team".
Olajuwon joined the Cougars in 1981 and developed into one of the game's greatest centers. As a Cougar, he led the program to three consecutive NCAA Final Fours and was named a 1984 Consensus All-American after averaging 16.8 points and 13.5 rebounds per game.
That season, he became the third player in NCAA history to lead the nation in two different statistical categories, topping the country in field goal percentage and rebounding.
In 1983, he was honored as the NCAA Final Four Most Outstanding Player, becoming the last player from a team that did not win a national championship to be so honored.
For their impressive achievements in their collegiate and professional careers, all three were previously enshrined in the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame. Hayes was the first to be inducted in 1990 with Drexler (2004) and Olajuwon (2008) to soon follow.
Each also was named to the NBA's All-Time Top 50 Greatest Players list in 1996-97, making Houston one of only three school to have three former players named.
Prior to Wednesday's game, the team will celebrate Senior Night. Forward Leon Gibson and student manager E.J. Akeredolu will be honored for their service to Houston Men's Basketball
Also, the Men's Basketball program will give away bobblehead dolls. On Wednesday, the first 1,00 fans in attendance will receive a free Elvin Hayes bobblehead.
The team previously gave away bobbleheads of Phi Slama Jama great and current director of operations Michael Young and CBS Sports broadcaster Jim Nantz.