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TUESDAY, APRIL 4, 2006
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BRADLEY HANDWERGER

Barkley elected first state player in basketball hall

As if Charles Barkley needed anything else to prove that he's one of Auburn's all-time best basketball players, he became the first player from Alabama elected to the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame.

The official announcement came Monday afternoon, though it has been expected for the
past
several days now. The former NBA All-Star joins Dominique Wilkins, Joe Dumars, Geno Auriemma, David Gavitt and Sandro Gamba in the class of 2006.

They'll be inducted during Enshrinement Weekend ceremonies in Springfield, Mass., during the weekend of Sept. 7-9.

"Auburn gave me an opportunity to be successful," Barkley said. "As for being the first player from Alabama in the Hall, that's pretty cool, especially being a basketball player."

He added: "I think basketball has given me every single thing in my life. I am 43 and never had a real job, and hopefully, I will never have to get one."

At Auburn, he led the SEC three straight years in rebounding and still holds the Auburn career field-goal percentage record at 62.6 percent.

He was the fifth overall selection in the 1984 NBA draft by the Philadelphia 76ers. As a professional, Barkley made 11 NBA All-Star games and was a five-time all-NBA first-team selection.

  • Water in the White House: Auburn's men's swimming and diving team won its fourth straight national title in March. The women's team won its fourth in the past five years a week before the men.

    Their reward — a trip to the White House in Washington on Thursday. It's the second straight trip for the men and first for the women.

    "Any invitation to the White House is always of the highest honor," Auburn head coach David Marsh said.

    The combined national titles marked the third time that the men's and women's team won them in the same year.

    Marsh is the only coach in NCAA history to lead a men's and women's team to the national title in the same season.

  • AU golfer advances in women's major: Auburn senior Maria Martinez finished in a tie for 62nd in the LPGA's Kraft Nabisco Championship, the tour's first major of the year.

    While 62nd doesn't sound good, it is considering Martinez was one of four amateurs to advance past cut day Friday.

    Martinez's card showed a four-round total of 16-over par, while Karrie Webb of Australia won the tournament with a 9-under par 279. She won on the first playoff hole.

    Martinez now turns her attention to the collegiate postseason, where the Lady Tigers will defend their SEC title in Nashville beginning April 14. Auburn won the 2005 championship when Martinez birdied the third playoff hole against Georgia.

  • Lady Tigers softball playing locally: Auburn's 17th-ranked softball team will play its fifth straight road game today when it plays Tennessee Tech in Huntsville at the Metro Kiwanis Sportsplex at 6 p.m.

    Auburn (24-10) defeated Florida State 7-2 on Thursday in its most recent game thanks to having a bye weekend in SEC play. After today's game, Auburn heads to Baton Rouge, La., for a three-game set.

  • Bradley Handwerger Bradley Handwerger
    DAILY Sports Writer

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