Alaska basketball has always been about guard play, so it makes sense that two of the best at the position will be inducted into the Alaska Sports Hall of Fame.
Mario Chalmers of Anchorage and Jeannie Hebert-Truax of Wasilla by way of Fairbanks headlined the Class of 2014 as inductees in the people category.
Joining them will be the Yukon Quest 1,000-mile International Sled Dog Race in the event category and the UAA men’s basketball’s 1988 upset of No. 2 ranked and eventual NCAA champion Michigan in the moment category.
“The Selection Panel had a spirited meeting and some extremely difficult decisions to make,” said Alaska Sports Hall of Fame executive director Harlow Robinson. “In the end they arrived at a group we can all be very proud of.”
This year’s ballot drew 1,600 online voters, the third highest turnout in the eight-year history.
Chalmers, of Bartlett High fame, is the only Alaska basketball player and one of only a handful nationally to win championships at the high school, NCAA Division I and pro levels.
He has two NBA championships with the Miami Heat, and in college he sank a dramatic 3-pointer with 2.1 seconds left in regulation to force overtime and help lead Kansas past Memphis in the NCAA title game. He was a two-time Class 4A state titles with Bartlett.
Chalmers was a three-time Alaska Player of the Year in 2003, 2004 and 2005. As a senior, he played in the McDonald’s All-American Game and led the West team with 20 points.
In college, he averaged 12.2 points in 110 games with Kansas and was the Big 12 Co-Defensive Player of the Year. He was also the Most Outstanding Player of the 2006 Big 12 Championships and the Most Outstanding Player of the 2008 NCAA Final Four. Kansas retired his No. 15 jersey.
In the NBA, Chalmers has appeared in 79 playoff games, the most of any Alaskan, and is the Heat’s all-time postseason leader in 3-pointers. He also shares the single-game record with 10 3-pointers en route to scoring his career high of 34 points. He has averaged 8 points and 4 assists in 385 career regular-season games.
Hebert-Truax is one of Alaska’s greatest basketball players of all-time and today she remains involved in the game as head coach of the Wasilla High School girls team that has won four Class 4A state championships, including three in a row in 2010, 2011 and 2012.
As a high school star in Fairbanks at North Pole and Monroe Catholic, she won three player-of-the-year awards in 1986, 1987 and 1988.
She was even better at the University of Miami, where she started 119 games and finished her career ranked second in assists , third in scoring [1,766] and fourth in steals . She helped Miami earn its first berth to the NCAA Tournament in 1989 and post an 18-0 Big East record in 1992.
Hebert-Truax was included into the Miami Hall of Fame in 2003.
The Yukon Quest is run every February between Fairbanks and Whitehorse, Yukon. Because of the harsh winter conditions, difficult trail and the limited support that competitors are allowed, it is arguably the toughest race in the world.
First run in 1984, the race course follows the route of the historic Klondike Gold Rush and challenges mushers with harsh weather, arduous climbs and long, lonely stretches between checkpoints.
On Dec. 28, 1988, the UAA men’s basketball team shocked the college basketball world by upsetting the No. 2-ranked Michigan Wolverines, 70-66, at a tournament in Utah.
Michael Johnson had 20 points and Todd Fisher added 18 to lead UAA past a Michigan team that featured five future NBA players and went on to win the 1989 NCAA championship.