BANGOR, Maine — The metamorphosis of a basketball Hall of Fame involves multiple factors, among them recognizing greats of the past before it’s too late for them to appreciate the honor and acknowledging achievements in different phases of the game and various levels of the sport.

The third annual induction class of the Maine Basketball Hall of Fame represented a generational transition of sorts, with standouts from the 1980s among a growing proportion of the newly minted membership.

Such familiar basketball names as Matt Rossignol — though the former Van Buren and University of Maine guard missed the induction ceremony due to illness — Dean Smith, Gregg Frame, Julie Bradstreet, Raymond Alley, Kevin Whitmore, Joe DeRoche, Meghan Lane Kolyszko and Harland Storey, all of whom created memories for basketball fans around the state during the 1980s, were again on center stage Sunday before a gathering of nearly 700 at the Cross Insurance Center’s grand ballroom.

“Many of these players coming in now are a younger group that kind of offsets last year’s group, which trended much older but we wanted to get them in before anything happened,” said Hall of Fame board of directors chairman Tony Hamlin, also a 2016 inductee for his playing career at Milo High School and Penquis Valley of Milo and the University of Maine and a high school coaching career that spanned 400 victories and three state championships — one at South Portland and two at Penquis.

“We’ll have [74] people in now as this year’s class goes in, and shortly we’ll be able to attend to those people from the early 1990’s because there’s a 20-year waiting time for players,” he added. “It puts a newer face on the hall.”

Others chosen to the 23-person Class of 2016 were Kevin Nelson, Bob McAllister, Chris Jerome, Mike McGee, John Jordan, Len MacPhee, Don Sturgeon, I.J. Pinkham, Charlie Wootton, Fern Masse, Ed Guiski, Richard “Doc” Costello and Ron Marks. Guiski and Costello were recognized posthumously.

“Basketball is the centerpiece of Maine for activities in the winter, it just is,” said Nelson, a 1975 graduate of Foxcroft Academy in Dover-Foxcroft who went on to star at the University of Maine. “Last year I remember when the Hall of Fame induction occurred I thought, ‘Wow,’ when I looked at the list of names. I never, and I’m not trying to be falsely modest, but I never thought my name would be called in the third year. This is unbelievable for me, I’m just overwhelmed.”

Lane Kolyszko joins older sister and fellow former Cony of Augusta star Marcie Lane Schulenberg, a 2015 inductee, in the hall while Whitmore, who starred at Waterville High School and Colby College, joins his father Dick Whitmore as an inductee. Dick Whitmore, the longtime former men’s basketball coach at Colby, was part of the inaugural class in 2014.

“It’s a great honor, first of all,” said Kevin Whitmore, “and to be inducted with this particular group for me is so meaningful because I played with or against or saw play a lot of them. Some of these guys were my idols when I was growing up so to be included with them is something I’ve looked forward to.”

Among other unique Hall of Fame combinations was that of Nelson and Smith, both of whom hailed from the small town of Monson before earning Bangor Daily News first-team All-Maine honors at Foxcroft Academy and then starring at the University of Maine.

“Going into the Hall of Fame is just a special time for me,” said Nelson, a 6-foot-8-inch center who led Foxcroft to its only boys basketball state championship in 1975. “I’ve known Dean all my life, and what are the chances of two guys from Monson being inducted in the same year? I’m kind of overcome just by the specialness of all this.”

Smith, a first-team all-conference choice as a senior at Maine, also won the 1990 Walter Byers Award symbolic of the NCAA’s top male scholar-athlete.

“Kevin was an idol of mine growing up,” said Smith. “He was a kid from Monson, Maine, where I was from who had a great career, and just to have him there and to know there was a pathway out of Monson to actually play basketball and to essentially get paid for that in college [through an athletic scholarship], he was my inspiration.”

Two teams also were honored during the banquet.

One was the 1995 Cony High School girls basketball team that capped off an undefeated winter by winning the Class A state championship. Coach Paul Vachon’s high-powered club had an average victory margin of 33 points (74-41) and also won each of its tournament games by double figures.

The second team recognized was the 1947 boys basketball squad from Patten Academy — a school of 88 students, 29 of them boys — that won the Class B state championship and then defeated Boston Latin — a school of 1,800 students — for the unofficial New England Class B title before a crowd of nearly 14,000 at the Boston Garden.

Selected as Legends of the Hall were James Connellan, a former state championship basketball player and coach who also was architect of the “T” defense, a 3-1-1 collapsing zone; longtime Portland sportswriter Dick Doyle; Eddie Griffin, sponsor of the Portland-based Griffin Club semi-pro basketball team; legendary Aroostook County sports announcer Dewey Dewitt; and former Stearns of Millinocket star Terry Healey, who went on to play competitively for 15 years while serving in the Air Force.

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Ernie Clark

Ernie Clark is a veteran sportswriter who has worked with the Bangor Daily News for more than a decade. A four-time Maine Sportswriter of the Year as selected by the National Sportscasters and Sportswriters...