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Flip Saunders

Induction Year: 2003 Sport: Basketball

Arguably the best high school basketball player ever to come out of Greater Cleveland’s small school ranks, he enjoyed a fabled career at Cuyahoga Heights High, culminating with his selection as an All-American in 1973 after leading the state in scoring with a 32.9 ppg average and being named Ohio’s Class A High School Basketball Player of the Year. Those feats earned him a scholarship to the University of Minnesota where he stepped right in to a starters’ role. The heady backcourt general started 101 of the 103 contests he played in for the Golden Gophers and as a senior helped lead the team to a then school best 24-3 record. His playing career ended with that season, but not his association with basketball. A transformation from player to coach was made as easily as the step up from Cuyahoga Heights to Minnesota basketball. It began with four seasons guiding the fortunes of Grand Valley (MN) Lutheran College to a 92-13 record including a perfect 56-0 home court mark, continued through the major college ranks as an assistant for seven successful season and seven more impressive years as a CBA head coach, then culminated in a move to the Minnesota Timberwolves as the NBA team’s general manager in May 1995. It was a job that lasted only until he asked to take over as the team’s head coach seven months later, a position he still fills with the distinction that has marked his entire career.