This year’s Big Five Hall of Fame class features five former players, and honors Saint Joseph’s athletic director Don DiJulia as his long tenure on Hawk Hill comes to a close.
The most prominent name is Rasual Butler, the La Salle great who died in a car crash in Los Angeles in late January. Butler’s 2,125 career points for the Explorers rank fourth in school history, behind only Michael Brooks, Tom Gola and Lionel Simmons — all of whom are also Big Five Hall of Fame members. Butler was a three-time all-Big Five honoree at La Salle, and went on to play 13 years in the NBA.
Following Butler on the marquee is Curtis Sumpter, a key player on the great Villanova teams of the mid-2000s that also featured Randy Foye, Allan Ray and Jason Fraser. Though he twice suffered ACL injuries as . a Wildcat — including one during the 2005 NCAA tournament — he returned to the floor in the 2006-07 season and was first-team all-Big East and all-Big Five.
The top women’s honoree this year is Candice Dupree, a two-time Big Five Player of the Year (2005 and 2006) who still ranks as the Temple’s all-time leader in field goal percentage (51.4%). She’s also No. 3 on the Owls’ career scoring list (1,698 points), No. 3 in rebounds (968) and No. 2 in blocks (218).
Going back to the men’s side, St. Joseph’s is represented by Pat Calathes. He was a Hawks stalwart from 2004-08, and helped the Hawks reach the NCAA tournament in his senior season — their first March Madness appearance after the departures of Jameer Nelson and Delonte West. That year, Calathes averaged 17.5 points, 7.5 rebounds and 1.2 blocks.
DiJulia is also being inducted, as he brings down the curtain on his 35 years in the job.
Penn’s honoree this year is Natasha Rezek. She led the Ivy League in points (19.7) and rebounds (12.7) per game as a senior, and graduated with the school record for career rebounds (972). That now ranks third in school history, behind Sydney Stipanovich and record holder Diana Caramanico. Rezek was a first-team all-Big Five honoree as a junior in 1995, and was first team all-Big Five and all-Ivy League as a senior in 1996.
This year’s Hall of Fame induction ceremony will be held April 16 at the Palestra. Ticket information is available through the five schools. A limited number of tickets will be sold on the day of the event at the Palestra box office.