Trailblazing DU great will be honored on March 16 at Barclays Center in conjunction with the 2013 Men’s Basketball Championship
Jan. 16, 2013
NEWPORT NEWS, Va. – The Atlantic 10 Conference announced its Inaugural Men’s Basketball Legends on Tuesday. The 2013 class includes 16 former men’s basketball student-athletes and coaches who made an immeasurable impact on each A-10 institution and its basketball program. Chuck Cooper was chosen to represent Duquesne.
“The considerable contributions each of these gentlemen made to their institution and its basketball program played an important role in shaping the foundation of men’s basketball in the Atlantic 10,” stated A-10 Commissioner Bernadette V. McGlade. “Whether it was building a program that eventually became a founding member or furthering the conference as it grew into a basketball power, each of the honorees is a part of the fabric of A-10 history and we’re thrilled to be able to honor them.”
The Men’s Basketball Legends will be honored on March 16 at Barclays Center in Brooklyn, N.Y. prior to the 2013 Men’s Basketball Championship semifinals. The women’s class will be announced Wednesday. Each honoree will be saluted during a celebration awards brunch in the 40/40 Club, beginning at 11 am prior to the A-10 men’s semifinal games.
The group includes 11 former players, three head coaches and two individuals that were both a player and a coach for their respective institutions. The impressive list includes several nationally recognized names and four members of the Naismith National Basketball Hall of Fame (Tony Hinkle, Red Auerbach, Tom Gola, John Chaney).
Chuck Cooper made professional basketball history on April 25, 1950 when the Boston Celtics selected him in the second round of the NBA draft. As the first African-American drafted by an NBA team, Cooper was a trailblazer for a league whose players currently span the globe. Cooper, who led Duquesne to a 78-19 record and a pair of NIT appearances, captained a 1949-50 squad that finished with a 23-6 record and No. 6 national ranking. The ’50 Dukes were the first Duquesne team to be ranked for an entire season by the Associated Press. A consensus second team All-American in 1950, Cooper played six NBA seasons before earning his Master’s Degree and embarking on a successful professional career. The Pittsburgh native was inducted into the Duquesne University Sports Hall of Fame in 1969 and the Pennsylvania Sports Hall of Fame in 1974. He passed away on May 2, 1984, in Pittsburgh.