SANTA CLARA, Calif. – Santa Clara University and the Bronco Bench Foundation will honor some of the greatest basketball players in school history with this spring's Athletics Hall of Fame induction ceremony.
The 2017 class, which will be honored on Saturday, May 13, during the fifth annual Red & White Hall of Fame Celebration presented by Heritage Bank of Commerce, includes former men's basketball player and two-time NBA MVP Steve Nash and two of his Santa Clara teams, the 1992-93 and 1995-96 squads, which both reached the second round of the NCAA Tournament with thrilling upsets.
Nash was named the West Coast Conference Player of the Year in both 1995 and 1996, and spearheaded some of the best teams in school history.
During Nash's career, the Broncos posted a 73-42 record, won WCC regular-season titles in 1995 and 1996, and made three NCAA Tournament appearances. Nash, who earned honorable mention All-America honors as a senior in 1995-96, helped Santa Clara claim its first national ranking since 1972-73 when the Broncos reached No. 25 in both the Associated Press and Coaches polls on Dec. 4, 1995.
One of just five players in WCC history to lead the league in both points and assists per game in the same season, Nash, who accomplished that feat in 1994-95, is in the top 10 in many of Santa Clara's career lists, including scoring (7th; 1,689), field-goal attempts (10th; 1,229), 3-pointers (3rd; 263), 3-point attempts (4th; 656), 3-point field-goal percentage (2nd; 40.1), free-throw percentage (1st; 86.0) assists (3rd; 510) and steals (7th; 147).
The 1992-93 men's basketball team (19-12, 9-5 WCC), led by first-year head coach Dick Davey, returned just one starter from the previous year and featured seven freshmen on the 16-man roster. Forwards Pete Eisenrich and DeWayne Lewis, and guard Mark Schmitz led the offense, with each averaging 12 or more points per game. Eisenrich and Lewis earned first-team All-WCC honors. Santa Clara was selected eighth in the WCC preseason poll, but ended up third in the final standings and won the conference tournament.
The Broncos closed that season with a flourish to earn the school's ninth trip to the NCAA Tournament, including first since 1987. They won six of their final seven regular-season games and knocked off the top two seeds in the WCC Tournament, including No. 1 Pepperdine, 73-63, in the final behind a barrage of nine second-half 3-pointers. Nash became the first freshman to be named MVP of the WCC Tournament.
Santa Clara then proceeded to pull off one of the biggest upsets in NCAA Tournament history. The 15th-seeded Broncos knocked off No. 2 seed and fifth-ranked Arizona, 64-61, in Salt Lake City, Utah. It marked only the second time a No. 15 seed had defeated a No. 2 in the NCAAs. The Broncos were eliminated two days later in the second round by seventh-seeded Temple, which advanced to the West Regional final, but they had already etched their name in NCAA history.
In 1995-96, Santa Clara finished 20-9 overall (10-4) and shared the WCC regular-season title with Gonzaga. Behind the guard play of Nash (17.0 points per game) and Marlon Garnett (12.8), Davey's squad made its third trip in a four-year span, including second straight, to the NCAAs. The Broncos did not lose two in a row all season and won at Gonzaga in the last game of the regular season to clinch a share of the WCC crown. It marked only the second time in program history and the first since the 1968-69 and 1969-70 seasons that SCU won two-straight conference titles. Nash claimed his second WCC Player of the Year award, senior Brendan Graves was named to first-team all-league and Garnett earned an honorable mention nod.
After being knocked out of the 1996 WCC Tournament, Santa Clara earned an at-large berth as a No. 10 seed, again in the West Regional.
In opening-round action in Tempe, Arizona, Santa Clara upset seventh-seeded Maryland, 91-79, led by a game-high 28 points from Nash and 18 from Garnett. But an Elite Eight participant once again knocked the Broncos out of the NCAAs as second-seeded Kansas was victorious in a second-round meeting.
Nash went on to be selected 15th overall in the 1996 NBA Draft by the Phoenix Suns. He played 19 seasons in the NBA where he was an eight-time all-star and seven-time All-NBA choice. Nash earned league MVP in both 2004-05 and 2005-06 as a member of the Suns. He also played for the Dallas Mavericks and Los Angeles Lakers, and was named by ESPN in 2006 as the ninth-best point guard of all-time. Nash is among the all-time top 10 in NBA history in 3-point field goal percentage (9th; 42.78), free-throw percentage (1st; 90.43), assists, (3rd; 10,335) and assists per game (10th; 8.49).
The Red & White Hall of Fame Celebration will take place at Leavey Center with the program beginning at 6 p.m. In addition to the presentation of the Hall of Fame inductees, the program features Senior Awards for current student-athletes and recognition of endowment benefactors.
To register or to review event sponsorship opportunities, visit: https://mysantaclara.scu.edu/events/BBF/RedWhite
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