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click on photo for larger view     Cox Sports Television's Eric Richey interviews former Xavier men's basketball standout Donald "Slick" Watts during CST Tonight's announcement of the Louisiana Sports Hall of Fame 2011 class.

Official release about the 2011 Louisiana Sports Hall of Fame class, including Induction Celebration information

XU star Watts selected for Louisiana Sports Hall of Fame

December 11, 2010


     NEW ORLEANS — Donald "Slick" Watts, a standout player during the 1970s renaissance of Xavier University of Louisiana men's basketball and one of three from XU to play in the NBA, has been selected to the Louisiana Sports Hall of Fame.
     The announcement of the eight-member 2011 class came Saturday on Cox Sports Television's CST Tonight. The class will be enshrined Saturday, June 25 in Natchitoches to culminate the June 23-25 Louisiana Sports Hall of Fame Induction Celebration. A 30-member Louisiana Sports Writers Association committee selected the inductees.
     Watts will be the first Louisiana Sports Hall of Fame inductee whose XU accomplishments factored significantly in the selection. Watts' XU coach, Bob Hopkins, was inducted in 1978 primarily because of his playing career at Grambling and in the NBA.
     Watts, a 6-foot-1, 170-pound guard from Rolling Fork, Miss., played three seasons for the Gold Rush (1970-73) and set XU career records of 1,460 points of 331 assists. Nearly 40 years later, Watts still ranks in the top 10 of both categories.
     He teamed with another future NBA player, Bruce Seals, to lead the Gold Rush to records of 22-5 in 1971-72 and 21-6 in 1972-73 and NAIA District 30 championships both seasons. Those were Xavier's first back-to-back 20-win seasons since the 1930s. Both teams won first-round games at the NAIA Division I National Championship, and the 1972-73 team reached the
     Donald 'Slick' Watts

Donald "Slick" Watts

quarterfinals after upsetting unbeaten and top-seeded Sam Houston State 67-60 in the second round.
     The Seattle SuperSonics signed Watts as an undrafted free agent in 1973. He played six NBA seasons, and with the Sonics in 1975-76 he was the first to lead the NBA in steals and assists in the same season. He was first-team All-Defense that same season and the second winner of the NBA's J. Walter Kennedy Citizenship Award for exemplary community service. Many credit Watts for popularizing the wearing of the headband by basketball players. His 2.20 steals per game rank eighth in NBA history.
     Watts played for the New Orleans Jazz in 1977-78 and the Houston Rockets, his final NBA team, in 1978-79. He averaged 8.9 points and 6.1 assists in 437 NBA games.
     In 2004 ESPN ranked Watts 13th among the "coolest athletes of all time."
     Watts received honorable mention on the All-Louisiana Team of the Century in 1999 and was inducted into the Louisiana Basketball Hall of Fame in 1991. In 2007 he was named to the Sonics' 16-member 40th-anniversary team.
     Watts still lives in the Seattle area and teaches physical education at an elementary school.
     "This is a well-deserved honor for Slick Watts and a wonderful honor for Xavier University," said Dennis Cousin, XU's director of athletics. "Slick was a special athlete who made his mark at Xavier and in the NBA. And his work with the youth of Seattle deserves special recognition. We at Xavier are proud of Slick and congratulate him for his selection to the Louisiana Sports Hall of Fame."
     Also in the 2011 Louisiana Sports Hall of Fame class are former LSU and major league baseball player Todd Walker, former New Orleans Saints players Morten Andersen, Vaughn Johnson and Buford Jordan, former Louisiana-Lafayette softball pitcher Kyla Hall, West Monroe High School football coach Don Shows and deceased LSU athletics director Thomas P. "Skipper" Heard.
     The eight new inductees will raise the total of Hall of Fame members to 285 men and women honored since the first induction class — baseball's Mel Ott, world champion boxer Tony Canzoneri and LSU football great Gaynell Tinsley — were enshrined in 1959 after their election a year earlier.
     Construction of a 27,500-square-foot Louisiana Sports Hall of Fame museum, operated by the Louisiana State Museum system in a partnership with the Louisiana Sports Writers Association, is hoped to be completed in the National Historic Landmark District of Natchitoches in time for the 2012 Induction Celebration.


 

 
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The Xavier Gold Rush and Gold Nuggets compete in Division I of the NAIA (National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics) as a member of the Gulf Coast Athletic Conference (GCAC). Xavier fields men's teams in basketball, cross country and tennis and women's teams in basketball, cross country, tennis and volleyball.

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