Former Hurricane basketball players Jack McClinton, Don Curnutt and Dick Hicox were recognized with honored jerseys during halftime of Wednesday night’s men’s basketball game against Duke at the BankUnited Center.
McClinton was the only recipient in attendance as Hickox’s honor comes posthumously and Curnutt had the flu.
“It’s a blessing just to be back here and have my name in the same legacy as these great UM basketball players,” said McClinton, who received an e-mail from head coach Frank Haith detailing the honor.
The San Antonio Spurs second-round pick in last year’s draft graduated from Miami as the program’s all-time three-point shooter.
Out of high school McClinton didn’t receive any Division I scholarships and elected to attend prep school. He then transferred to Miami without a guarantee of starting.
“That’s been the story of my life. Coach Haith took a chance on me and I feel really honored and blessed to be in the position that I am,” he said. “I think you create history by working hard at anything in this world.
You work hard, rewards come. This is probably one of the biggest rewards I’ve gotten in my life.”
McClinton currently plays for a professional team in Turkey and flies back on Friday.
“It’s going good. I’m playing well out there. It’s a different ballgame,” he said. “They’ve got me working on different things. My game’s really getting polished and I’m getting ready for next year.”
He also said that the culture shock took some getting used to.
“It’s different. you take a lot of stuff for granted once you come back here,” McClinton said. “It’s a very humbling experience and I’m just blessed to be in the position to have a job. I miss the family, the camaraderie…being able to walk outside and get some french fries.”
The selection of the honored jersey recipients was determined by the Director of Athletics Kirby Hocutt, Haith and an anonymous advisory committee.
Athletic achievements at Miami, commitment and loyalty to the continued success of the university and its athletic department and a personal commitment to courage and integrity were all part of the criteria during the selection process.
“There have been some awesome basketball players at Miami over the years,” Haith said earlier in the week. “These three men in particular have meant a lot to this program, and were truly instrumental to the success of their teams and to Miami basketball as a whole.”
The honored jerseys will hang alongside the retired ones of No. 24 Rick Barry (1962-1965) and No. 40 Tim James (1995-1999), but will not be retired.
Barry attended the event and commended Haith and his staff on their drive to create a legacy for the University of Miami men’s basketball program.
“I just think it’s a step in the right direction. It’s trying to establish some type of history with the program and honoring those who came before the guys who are playing right now and try to make that a continuing situation that will grow and get to be like some of the other schools in the ACC, which are some of the greatest basketball institutions in this country,” he said.