INDIANAPOLIS (USBWA) – The U.S. Basketball
Writers Association selected its 2022 Hall of Fame
class. The USBWA men's and women's basketball boards nominated and
selected the following honorees: Vahé Gregorian,
The Kansas City Star; Charles Hallman,
The Spokesman-Recorder; Joe Juliano,
The Philadelphia Inquirer; Tom Kensler,
The Denver Post; and Mike Waters,
Gregorian, Juliano and Waters will be honored at the men's Final
Four in New Orleans, where Kensler will be posthumously inducted.
Hallman's induction ceremony will take place at the women's Final
Four in Minneapolis. With these additional five selections, the
USBWA will have honored 100 men and women in its Hall of Fame, which
was established in 1988.
• Vahé Gregorian: Gregorian is a
columnist who makes you think and makes you feel. The Kansas
City Star columnist has displayed his expertise in every sport,
covering the Olympics, the World Series and Super Bowl in a 30-year
career. As a college basketball reporter and columnist, Gregorian
has covered more than 20 Final Fours, often chronicling the play
that evokes passion and angst among Kansas, Kansas State and Missouri
After spending 25 years at the St. Louis Post-Dispatch,
Gregorian joined The Kansas City Star in 2013.
Among Gregorian's numerous awards and accomplishments: an Associated
Press Sports Editors winner for large newspaper column writing in
2017, a Pulitzer Prize nominee and a multi-year winner of the Missouri
Sports Writer of the Year award. He's also authored several books.
Gregorian is a 1983 graduate of the University of Pennsylvania, where
he played football, and then earned his journalism degree from
the University of Missouri's graduate school in 1988. He is considered
the ultimate teammate among his colleagues and a role model among
• Charles Hallman: Hallman is a longtime
reporter for the Minnesota Spokesman-Recorder in Minneapolis,
the oldest Black newspaper in the state. His coverage of women's
basketball spans several decades from the prep level to college
to the pros.
He is the longest-tenured beat writer for the Minnesota Gophers,
while also covering the Minnesota Lynx since the team's inception
in the WNBA. His work includes covering the entire playing careers
of many Minnesota women's basketball greats, including Lindsay Whalen
and Linda Roberts (the first African-American woman to have her
jersey retired by the university).
A tireless supporter of girls and women in sports, Hallman frequently
writes about overlooked and underrated Black female athletes.
Hallman studied journalism at Michigan State University and then
worked as an editor, freelancer, teacher and journalist, joining
MSR in 1990. In 2021, the Tucker Center for Research on Girls &
Women in Sport included him in a Title IX honor roll list that highlights
individuals' contributions to women's athletics in Minnesota. A
friendly fixture at Minnesota games, one fellow writer described
him as "Uncle Charles" for his willingness to lend a hand to young
• Joe Juliano: As a versatile reporter
for more than 35 years at The Philadelphia Inquirer, Juliano
has been a consummate beat reporter of Villanova basketball for
nearly 19 total years and chronicling some of the most significant
basketball stories in Philadelphia.
From Christian Laettner's shot in the 1992 East Regional final
at the Spectrum to Kris Jenkins' buzzer-beating 3-pointer to win
the national championship, Juliano was there. He covered Jay Wright's
first two seasons at Villanova starting in 2001 and has been the
team's beat reporter for the last 14 years. He also covered Steve
Lappas' last four Villanova teams and Rollie Massimino's 1988 Elite
A Temple graduate, Juliano joined the Inquirer in 1985 after
a decade as a reporter and editor at UPI. A self-described "utility
infielder" among reporters, Juliano also has covered Penn State
football, golf and the Penn Relays.
Receiving a heartfelt applause from the crowd, he covered his
last Villanova game in December before retiring. A friend to everyone
on press row, Juliano has been hailed by colleagues for his humble
and dedicated approach to the job through the years.
• Tom Kensler: It's fitting that Kensler
will be inducted into the USBWA's Hall of Fame in New Orleans. This
is where he attended about 25 Jazz Fests and where he got down on
one knee in Jackson Square and proposed to his wife Pam. Kensler,
who died at age 64 from complications from a brain aneurysm in 2016,
built his career to the west of the Mississippi River that drains
from this city, covering the great Wayland Baptist women's teams
for the Amarillo Globe-News, Billy Tubbs' Oklahoma Sooners
for the Daily Oklahoman and bucking the pro sports scene
at The Denver Post.
"Tom made sure colleges got coverage in Denver," said longtime
Colorado SID David Plati.
Kensler's newspaper career spanned four decades. At 29, he was
the first sports writer from outside Dallas or Houston to be named
Texas' sports writer of the year and he became one of just three
(along with Mike Downey and Dave Kindred) to win in three states.
Kensler was a beat writer's beat writer, a stickler for accuracy
who enjoyed the grind. He won or placed in game stories/spot news
– unofficially the USBWA's category for beat writers – four times
from 2004-09, a number matched over that time only by John Feinstein.
And he was as friendly as he was competitive. Few enjoyed being
a part of a gathering of sports writers more than Kensler, who always
put himself in charge of finding the perfect restaurant on the road.
It is telling that his nomination to the Hall of Fame was signed
by five past USBWA presidents and that his funeral was attended
not only by colleagues from the Post and friendly rivals from the
old Rocky Mountain News, but by now-fellow Hall of Famers,
past presidents, longtime members and sports writers from Charlotte;
Columbia, Mo.; Dallas; Omaha; St. Louis; Seattle and, yes, New Orleans.
• Mike Waters: It's often joked that Waters'
longevity around the Syracuse basketball beat is only surpassed
by Jim Boeheim. Waters has covered the team for The Post-Standard
since 1989, becoming a historian of one of college basketball's
most storied programs. He quickly jumped into capturing the glory
days of the Big East and all of its larger-than-life personalities
from Lou Carnesecca to, of course, Boeheim.
Waters, an author of four books, has received numerous writing
awards, including several from APSE and the USBWA, including the
Jim O'Connell Award for Excellence in Beat Reporting. He's held
several leadership positions with USBWA, including the organization's
president in 2019-20.
A 1986 graduate of the University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill,
Waters previously worked at the Nashville Banner and
The News & Observer. Known for his ability to recall
obscure stats and role players from decades past, Waters has attacked
his beat with renewed energy and fresh ideas season after season
– from disappointing ones to championship years. "I've got my blinders
on, my head down and I just focus on basketball," he said when he
won the O'Connell Award.
The U.S. Basketball Writers Association was formed in
1956 at the urging of then-NCAA Executive Director Walter Byers.
With some 900 members worldwide, it is one of the most influential
organizations in college basketball. It has selected an All-America
team since the 1956-57 season. For more information on the USBWA
and its award programs, contact executive director Malcolm
Moran at 814-574-1485.