April 7, 2014
WASHINGTON - Former Georgetown University men's basketball All-American Alonzo Mourning (C'92) was one of five players, coaches and teams selected to the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame on Monday at a press conference in North Texas, the site of the 2014 NCAA Final Four.
Mourning, a seven-time National Basketball Association (NBA) All-Star, will be joined in the Class of 2014 by the Immaculata University's AIAW National Championship teams of the early 1970s; 1994 Naismith, NABC Coach of the Year Nolan Richardson; six-time NBA All-Star Mitch Richmond and NCAA National Championship coach Gary Williams. They join the five directly elected members who were announced during the NBA All-Star Weekend in February by distinguished committees focused on preserving all areas from the game of basketball. They include Bob Leonard voted in from the American Basketball Association (ABA) Committee, Nat Clifton from the Early African American Pioneers Committee, Sarunas Marciulionis from the International Committee, Guy Rodgers from the Veterans Committee and David Stern from the Contributor Direct Election Committee.
Mourning is one of only two Georgetown basketball players to have graduated with 2,000 or more points and 1,000 or more rebounds.
A three-time All-America selection, he led the Hoyas to four NCAA appearances and three BIG EAST finals appearances from 1988 through 1992. As a senior, he became the first player ever named the BIG EAST Conference's Player of the Year, Defensive Player of the Year, and Tournament MVP in the same season.
As a freshman in 1988-89, Mourning provided consistent scoring alongside seniors Charles Smith and Jaren Jackson. What immediately distinguished Mourning was his ability in rebounds and blocks. In his third collegiate game, Mourning not only earned the first unofficial "triple double" in Georgetown history, but broke Patrick Ewing's single-game block record with 11 blocks in only 22 minutes versus St. Leo. In his first 10 games, Mourning was averaging 5.7 blocks per game, and coupled it with some amazing offensive efforts, including a 26-point, 17-rebound, six-block effort against Miami. Despite averaging less than eight shots a game, he contributed 13.2 points and 7.3 rebounds a game for the 29-5 Hoyas, earning him Second Team All-BIG EAST, Rookie of the Year, and Defensive Player of the year honors for the conference, in addition to Third Team All-America honors. His 169 blocks set an NCAA record.
After a tremendous freshmen season, Mourning was even better for his sophomore return. He scored in double figures in all but one game that season, averaging 16.5 points and 8.5 rebounds a year. As defenses crashed in on him in an attempt to limit his inside scoring, Mourning took to the foul line with a vengeance. From his opening game that season - a 13-for-14 effort at the line vs. Hawaii-Pacific - he rewrote the Georgetown free throw records, shooting a record 220 free throws that season, with double figures in free throws 10 different times.
Mourning turned in big games against Virginia Tech (27 points, 11 rebounds), DePaul (26 points, 14 rebounds), and Connecticut (20 points, 12 rebounds). For the season, he was a Second Team All-America selection, First Team All-BIG EAST, and joined with Dikembe Mutombo as the conference's Defensive Player of the Year.
For his junior season, Mourning's prospects seemed limitless. He opened the season averaging 22.0 points per game, highlighted by a 22-point, 10-rebound effort over Duke in the ACC-BIG EAST Challenge series. An injury sidelined him for nine games and it was until early March that he had regained his stride, finishing the last six games averaging 18.6 points and 9.5 rebounds, including a 22-point, 13-rebound effort in the 1991 BIG EAST finals versus Seton Hall.
In one of the single most dominating seasons by a senior, Mourning was the force and the fury of the 1992 Hoyas. He led the team with double figures in scoring in every single game and double figure rebounds in 22 of them. He opened the season with a second career triple double (32 points, 14 rebounds, and 10 blocks) and almost did so twice more in the following two weeks, with a 21-point, 22-rebound, nine-block effort against Delaware State and a 25-point, 14-rebound, five-block effort against UDC, the latter in only 27 minutes of action.
He opened Big East play with 24 points, 15 boards, and eight blocks against Villanova. Next came 28 and 12 versus Providence, then 23 and 11 versus Seton Hall. In 16 Big East games, Mourning averaged 20.7 points and 10.9 rebounds a game, with expert free throw shooting helping the Hoyas stay close in many games.
He scored a career high 38 in a double overtime loss at Boston College, setting a school record with 18 free throws in 26 attempts. Three days later, Mourning scored 26 points, 11 rebounds, and seven blocks in an upset over Villanova, shooting 14 of 15 from the line. He scored 76 points and 22 rebounds in three games in the 1992 BIG EAST Tournament, and was named the tournament MVP despite the Hoyas' last minute loss to Syracuse. Mourning thus became the first player ever named the Big East's Player of the Year, Defensive Player of the Year, and Tournament MVP in the same season.
Drafted as the second pick in the 1992 NBA draft, Mourning became one of the NBA's most feared centers, with his matchups against Patrick Ewing providing some of the league's most exciting games over the years.
Mourning was diagnosed with a kidney disorder following the 2000 Olympics, where he helped lead the United States to a gold medal. He was sidelined during the 2002-03 season in an attempt to heal his kidneys and announced his retirement in the fall of 2003, receiving a kidney transplant soon thereafter.
Despite the concerns of friends and family that a return to the NBA could prove a threat to his health, he returned to the game a year later, playing a key role as the Miami Heat won the 2006 NBA title. In 13 seasons over 15 years, Mourning was a seven time NBA All-Star, averaging 18.9 points and nine rebounds a game.
In recent years, Alonzo Mourning has been at the forefront of raising funds for kidney research and has been active in charitable efforts in his adopted home of Miami, raising over $5 million for community programs and hosting the successful "Zo's Summer Groove" fundraiser for nearly a decade.
Mourning is a member of the Board of Directors at Georgetown University and he and he endowed the Alonzo and Tracy Mourning Scholarship, which provides need-based financial support for student-athletes majoring in science or medical research.
On and off the court, Alonzo Mourning remains one of Georgetown's brightest stars, a man whose courage and determination are a source of pride as well as perspective for the student-athletes which have followed him.
Some biographical information courtesy of the Georgetown Basketball Project, www.hoyasaxa.com