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Beavers to honor former player Payton

CORVALLIS — Gary Payton, Oregon State's all-time leader in points, assists and steals, will be honored at the Beavers game against California on Saturday for being enshrined into the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame.

The first 2,000 fans to enter Gill Coliseum will receive a commemorative GP glove, courtesy of Oregon Community Credit Union, to honor the Hall of Famer. The doors will open at 4 p.m. for the 5 p.m. contest. Payton will be honored during halftime festivities with a video tribute from fans, players and coaches. There will also be Gary Payton trivia and highlights throughout the game.

Payton was enshrined in the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame on Sept. 8 and joined Oregon State coaching legends Amory "Slats" Gill and Ralph Miller among the all-time greats to be honored in Springfield, Mass.

"I dedicate this night to the memory of my late college coach Ralph Miller," Payton said during his Enshrinement Speech. "Coach, I'm honored to be joining you in the Hall. To my coach Jimmy Anderson, you recruited me to Oregon State and became my head coach after Ralph retired. You and Fifi are wonderful. Thank you.

"My career is complete. Gary Payton is evolving, but GP is in the Hall of Fame."

Payton was presented by Hall of Famers John Stockton ('09) and George Gervin ('96).

The Class of 2013 also included seven-time NCAA Final Four coach Rick Pitino; four-time NCAA Final Four coach Jerry Tarkanian; five-time WNBA All-Star Dawn Staley; five-time NCAA Final Four coach Guy Lewis; four-time NBA All-Star Bernard King; three-time National Coach of the Year Sylvia Hatchell; ABA legend Roger Brown; early African-American pioneer Dr. E.B. Henderson; Brazilian scoring machine Oscar Schmidt; six-time NBA All-Star Richard Guerin and former President of USA Basketball and NBA Deputy Commissioner Russ Granik.

When Payton entered Oregon State in 1986 as a 6-foot-2, 170-pound guard from Oakland, Calif., Miller said at the time: "Gary Payton is awfully quick. He is an excellent penetrator and possibly is the point guard type more so than anyone else on the team. He averaged over 10 assists a game in high school, prides himself on the pass and, while he probably shoots just better than average, he can make things happen."

Payton certainly made things happen in his four years at Oregon State. He led the Beavers to three NCAA Tournament appearances, became the school's career leader in points (2,172), assists (938) and steals (321), and was a consensus All-American in 1990 when he was selected Sports Illustrated National Player of the Year.

"It's not a surprise to me that Gary is in the Hall of Fame," said Jim Anderson who played for Gill, was a long-time assistant for Miller and the head coach during Payton's senior season in 1990. "He showed signs that he would be a great player when he came to Oregon State. But like any young kid coming into a program, he had to prove himself. He kept getting better and he definitely proved himself. He verified everything in the pros.

"With Gary joining Slats and Ralph in the Hall of Fame, it shows the longevity of three basketball minds. Gary helped Ralph get in the Hall of Fame and vice versa."