LAS VEGAS – The Washington Huskies were eliminated from the Pac-12 Conference basketball tournament after a stirring quarterfinal game with Oregon on Thursday. Nonetheless, Seattle continued to have an impact on Pac-12 hoops Friday when former Seattle SuperSonics and Oregon State star Gary Payton was named the greatest guard in conference history.
UCLA legend Kareem Abdul-Jabbar (then known as Lew Alcindor) was selected the No. 1 center. Ex-Arizona star Sean Elliott earned the nod at forward in a media vote. The late John Wooden was named the top coach for his spectacular success at UCLA.
The four honorees were saluted in a halftime ceremony during the semifinal game between Oregon and Arizona. The Pac-12, celebrating its 100th year under various names, previously released an All-Century team that including Washington All-America center Bob Houbregs (1950-53) as the lone Husky on the 20-member team.
Seattle’s rich basketball history also will be felt Saturday. Prior to the championship game (7:15 p.m., Fox Sports 1), former Huskies star Isaiah Thomas will be inducted into the Pac-12 Hall of Fame, along with one player from each of the 11 other Pac-12 schools.
A Washington spokesperson said Friday night the Huskies are preparing to play a Tuesday home game if they are selected to play in the National Invitation Tournament (NIT). The game would be played at 6 or 7 p.m. on ESPN or ESPN2.
Tickets would go on sale on www.huskies.com on Sunday night after the NCAA tournament and NIT fields are announced. The UW athletics ticket office opens at 8 a.m. Monday.
Earlier Friday, Pac-12 commissioner Larry Scott announced the conference tournament will move from the MGM Grand Garden Arena to the T-Mobile Arena next year. Both facilities are just off the Las Vegas Strip.
The T-Mobile Arena, which opens next month, is expected to seat approximately 5,600 more fans (18,500) than the Grand Garden and offer luxury suites, which the Grand Garden lacks.
All 12,916 tickets for each session of the tournament sold out for the first time this year. The tournament moved from Los Angeles to Las Vegas in 2012.