Former UE basketball great Scott Haffner will be inducted into the Indiana Basketball Hall of Fame’s 52nd class, its board of directors announced Tuesday morning.
Haffner remains a legend locally after scoring 65 points in a 109-83 win over Dayton on Feb. 18, 1989. That season he won Midwestern Collegiate Conference Player of the Year and guided UE to the second round of the NCAA tournament for the only time in its Division I history.
The Illinois transfer is fifth on UE’s all-time scoring list with 1,686 points, which he accumulated in three seasons after one with the Illini. Haffner went on to be selected in the second round of the 1989 NBA draft by the Miami Heat, where played his rookie year before a second and final pro season for the Charlotte Hornets.
Haffner previously led Noblesville to an undefeated season in 1984 while averaging 28 points per game.
The Terre Haute native Haffner is now 46. He’s still one of only 25 players all-time to score at least 60 points against a Division I opponent.
Haffner, also a member of the UE Athletics Hall of Fame, is the first Aces basketball inductee from the program’s Division I era into the Indiana Basketball Hall of Fame.
As a whole, this hall of fame class includes two Indiana Mr. Basketball winners, two members of Indiana state championship teams and the men behind noted 1986 sports film “Hoosiers.” They inductees will be honored at a ceremony in Indianapolis in March.
Said Haffner on making the hall of fame: “I’ve been trying to get my thoughts and words around this. It’s just a great honor. Growing up in the state of Indiana, you certainly learn to appreciate basketball, but I think I learned to appreciate it at an especially young age. My dad played at Butler for Tony Hinkle and coached me growing up. Really, I think he instilled a love of basketball. I just feel really humble in terms of receiving this. There are so many great players and tradition in the hall of fame. I’m thankful at the same time for people who influenced my career and instilled a passion for basketball along the way.”
Haffner on playing for Jim Crews at UE: “I thought about this as well when I started reminiscing about my journey. I remember falling asleep when I was like 10 or 11 years old – that would have been back in 1976ish – and I fell asleep every night listening to the IU Hoosiers tape of Don Fisher announcing the undefeated season. It was an 8-track tape that would go through every game and highlight the undefeated season. Jim Crews’ name was on there as a player, and I’d listen to that every night. It’s so ironic that I’d actually get the opportunity to play for coach.”
Haffner on what he was most proud to accomplish at UE: “The biggest thing I’m proud of in my career is basically what coach (Crews) built for us down there. He had a vision, and it took a lot of hard work. If you look at the progression I made – I was down there three years and Marty Simmons there two years – and then those guys who came in behind us, we built a tradition back down there where Evansville basketball could compete, win championships and get into the NCAA tournament. That’s the biggest self satisfaction I have – to be part of something with a bunch of guys who had to basically sweat and really have a lot of passion for building something we can have a legacy. There’s a lot of guys behind the scenes too other than me and Marty, who got a lot of publicity, that worked just as hard, and I think coach had such a team focus.”
Haffner on the current state of UE basketball: “I think it’s awesome. I think Marty has done a fabulous job. I roomed with Marty for two years. We remain close friends today. I can tell you, as a leader he’s the best leader I ever played with on the floor, and he’s done an outstanding job there. It’s not an easy task to compete in the Missouri Valley Conference. We didn’t play in that conference when I was there, and to be able to recruit against these schools that probably have more resources at times in terms of recruiting budgets and different things and then to do it at a school the size of that, it’s a challenge to compete at that level. If you look at what Marty’s done while he’s been there, I think anybody in that league would say, ‘I don’t like playing Evansville. They play hard. They play together. Their players represent the university. And these kids graduate.’ I can tell you, it’s a direct reflection of Marty, what he puts into that, and what he expects by his players respecting him back. It’s a hard thing to do today, and I can just say that any program that’s looking to have that reputation – winning plus character and integrity – would be lucky to have Marty Simmons. He’s just outstanding.”
The Full 2013 hallf of fame class:
LaVern Benson, Crispus Attucks, 1958
Phil Dawkins, East Chicago Washington, 1960
Gene Demaree, New Marion, 1961
Chuck Franz, Clarksville, 1979
Scott Haffner, Noblesville, 1984
Bob Heady, Frankton, 1960
James Master, Harding,1980
Carl Meditchh, Indianpolis Arsenal Tech, 1955
Alan Nass, Huntingburg, 1959
Bill “Fig” Newton, Rockville, 1968
Dan Palombizio, Michigan City Rogers, 1981
Dick Piper, Chester Township, 1948
Robert Rousey, Anderson, 1949
Chad Tucker, Cloverdale, 1983
Angelo Pizzo of Bloomington, Ind. (“Hoosiers”)