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Maryland legend Len Bias to be inducted into college basketball Hall of Fame

Bias, a Prince George’s County native who starred at Northwestern High in Hyattsville before heading to Maryland, set 15 school records for the Terrapins from 1982 to 1986. He was a two-time ACC player of the year, a first-team all-America selection as a senior and finished his collegiate career as the school’s all-time leading scorer (2,149 points). Bias was the No. 2 overall pick of the Boston Celtics in the 1986 NBA draft, but died two days later from cardiac arrest related to a cocaine overdose.

“It’s well-deserved, long overdue,” Maryland Coach Mark Turgeon said after the Terps defeated Mount St. Mary’s on Sunday. “It’s great for Maryland, it’s great for everybody that coached him, his teammates. … It’s really good news for our program.”

A rotating committee of roughly 10 college basketball coaches, administrators, former players and media members has selected every class since the National Collegiate Basketball Hall of Fame was established in 2006. The anonymous committee typically meets every November around the Hall of Fame Classic men’s basketball tournament in Kansas City to debate and decide the following year’s honorees.

Bias and his fellow inductees were originally selected last November as part of the 2020 class to be announced in the spring, but when it became apparent that the coronavirus would prevent the Hall of Fame from hosting an in-person ceremony, organizers delayed their enshrinement by a year. The replacement 2020 class, announced Saturday, features three historic teams — John Wooden’s 1963-64 UCLA Bruins; the 1965-66 Texas Western Miners, who became the first team to win a national title with an all-Black starting five; and the undefeated 1975-76 Indiana Hoosiers — who will be honored with a virtual ceremony in early 2021.

A spokesman for the National Association of Basketball Coaches, which oversees the Hall of Fame, said a representative has already been in touch with a member of Bias’s family about attending next November’s ceremony, pandemic permitting.

In the years after Bias’s death, which led to coach Lefty Driesell’s ouster and sanctions against the basketball program, Maryland tried to distance itself from the tragedy. Bias wasn’t inducted into Maryland’s athletic Hall of Fame until 2014.

“I have mixed emotions about this,” former Maryland Coach Gary Williams, who was hired three years after Driesell resigned, told The Post’s John Feinstein of Bias’s induction in 2014. “As a player, obviously it’s a no-brainer. But I think you have to remember everything in life, not just the good things. It’s as if some people want to forget that the reason he died was because he did something wrong. That’s a fact, and there’s no getting away from that fact. I saw the results of it up close. If the publicity from this reminds some kids that this can happen, this does happen, not just to famous athletes, then maybe that way some good can come of it.”

The other players in the 2021 class are Bradley’s Hersey Hawkins, UCLA’s David Greenwood and Ohio State’s Jim Jackson. Penders, one of the two coaches in next year’s class, won 649 games at seven schools, including 49 at George Washington, which he led to one NCAA tournament appearance in three seasons from 1998 to 2001.

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