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LV Basketball Hall of Fame set to induct Abdur-Rahkman, Hargrove, Mentesana, Hammer, Russ, Betley next month

첥Ƶ's boys basketball player of the year in 2014, Central Catholic's Muhammad Ali Abdur-Rahkman will be inducted into the Lehigh Valley Basketball Hall of Fame on March 24.
APRIL BARTHOLOMEW / THE MORNING CALL
첥Ƶ’s boys basketball player of the year in 2014, Central Catholic’s Muhammad Ali Abdur-Rahkman will be inducted into the Lehigh Valley Basketball Hall of Fame on March 24.
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The Lehigh Valley Senior All-Star Classic will conclude the 2023-24 high school basketball season on March 24 with four games and a variety of ceremonies at Northampton Community College. The games begin at 10 a.m. and will also feature 3-point shooting and slam-dunk contests along with scholar-athlete presentations.

One of the highlights will be the induction of six new members into the Lehigh Valley Basketball Hall of Fame

The 2024 induction class includes two 2,000-point boys scorers, a prominent local high school and college coach, a longtime radio broadcaster and two female stars.

The Hall of Fame was established in 1978 and honors individuals who have made outstanding contributions to high school basketball in the Lehigh
Valley. A complete listing of members can be found at www.LVSallstarclassic.org.

This year’s class of inductees includes:

Michigan guard Muhammad-Ali Abdur-Rahkman, an Allentown Central Catholic graduate, has started over 100 career games for the Wolverines.
MICHAEL CONROY / ASSOCIATED PRESS
Muhammad-Ali Abdur-Rahkman, an Allentown Central Catholic graduate, helped Michigan reach the national finals in 2018.

Muhammad Ali Abdur-Rahkman

Abdur-Rahkman was a star at Allentown Central Catholic from 2010-14 where he led the Vikings to four consecutive District 11 championship and scored 2,136 points which is the sixth-most in District 11 history. He was a two-time Morning 첥Ƶ player of the year, a four-time all-state selection and one of six finalists for Mr. Pennsylvania Basketball. As a senior, he averaged 23.6 points, 4.1 assists and 6.2 rebounds per game and led ACCHS to the Lehigh Valley Conference and District 11 championships and a 29-0 start before the Vikings fell to Neumann-Goretti in the state quarterfinals.

At the University of Michigan, he set the school record for career games played (144). As a college senior, he was a 2018 All Big Ten Honorable Mention honoree by both the coaches and the media. He was part of the 2016–17 Wolverines team that reached the Sweet 16 of the 2017 NCAA tournament and the 2018 team that reached the national championship game. He also was a key member of Michigan’s Big Ten title teams in 2017 and 2018. He has played in professional leagues in Poland and Italy and is currently playing for Darüşşafaka Lassa of the Basketbol Süper Ligi in Turkey.

Danny Hargrove (with ball), who starred at Faith Christian and East Stroudsburg University, will be inducted into the Lehigh Valley Basketball Hall of Fame on March 24. (Keith Groller / 첥Ƶ).
Keith Groller / 첥Ƶ
Danny Hargrove (with ball), who starred at Faith Christian and East Stroudsburg University, will be inducted into the Lehigh Valley Basketball Hall of Fame on March 24. (Keith Groller / 첥Ƶ).

Daniel Hargrove

An Allentown resident who led his Faith Christian Academy team to three consecutive District 1 titles from 1999-2001, Hargrove was an acclaimed area basketball star who was a four-time conference MVP. He finished his career with 2,378 points and averaged over 25 points per game throughout his career. During his senior year, Hargrove averaged 25.8 points per game and topped 30 seven times. He scored 34, 30 and 41 in successive PIAA playoff games.

After high school, Hargrove headed to the University of North Carolina-Greensboro, coached by former Lehigh Coach Fran McCaffery, on a full scholarship. He played there for two seasons before transferring to East Stroudsburg University, coached by legendary Coach Jeff Wilson. Hargrove was a first-team PSAC all-star and led his team to the playoffs in consecutive seasons. He has continued to give back to the Lehigh Valley basketball community as a PIAA and college basketball official for more than 15 years.

Katie (Kokolus) Betley

A member of the Notre Dame-Green Pond class of 2002, Kokolus scored 1,784 points which placed her 11th all-time among Lehigh Valley players.

She also  grabbed 511 rebounds and helped the Crusaders to a 22-6 record in 2001-2002 and an 89-23 mark in her career. Her teams won the Colonial League title in 1999 and finished second in 2001 and 2002 after winning 47 consecutive league games. Notre Dame was 68-4 in Colonial League games during her career.

She was the Colonial League MVP and the leading scorer in her senior season. She was a two-time first-team all-area selection by two area newspapers and played in the Maryland/Pennsylvania All-Star Classic was the 2002 Via All-Star Classic scholar-athlete.

At Lafayette, she was a team captain in both her junior and senior seniors and later became a graduate assistant coach at Wilkes University where she pursued her masters in business administration. She was inducted into the Notre Dame Hall of Fame in 2015.

Dick Hammer

A fixture on Valley radio broadcasts for decades, Hammer was the play-by-play voice of hundreds of regular season Lafayette College games and high school games involving Easton, Wilson, Phillipsburg, Phillipsburg Catholic, Nazareth and Notre Dame on WEST AM 1400 in Easton. From 1957-1967 and from 1977-2007, Hammer was the voice of morning drive sportscasts on WEST and its sister station WLEV, then at 96.1 FM. The Lafayette NCAA tournament games in 1999 and 2000, the Leopards’ 15-point win over Notre Dame in 1988 and Phillipsburg Catholic’s state championship game appearance in 1963 are among his most memorable broadcasts. Hammer broadcast over 1,000 Lafayette men’s and women’s games and was inducted into the Lafayette College Maroon Club Hall of Fame in 2007. He was also inducted into Easton’s Wall of Fame in 2017 after broadcasting 525 Easton and 287 P’burg games on WEST.

Jen (Kish) Russ

A member of Bethlehem Catholic’s class of 1993, Kish finished her career with 1,186 points. Her teams won the District 11 championship and were state finalists in 1993. She was inducted into the Bethlehem Catholic Athletic Wall of Fame in 2005.

During her college career at DeSales, she earned All-PAC first-team honors twice and second-team honors once. She also earned All-ECAC South Region second-team honors in 1996-97 and helped the Bulldogs win two PAC Championships and make two appearances in the NCAA Tournament. Kish finished her career with 1,448 career points and was inducted into the DeSales University Athletic Hall of Fame in 2012.

Sal Mentesana

Mentesana made his mark on local basketball as the head coach at Notre Dame-Green Pond, East Stroudsburg University and Lehigh University.

He started as a coach at Easton Junior High and then was hired at Notre Dame in 1975. In four years, he took what was a struggling program to the school’s first Centennial League and District 11 Class A championships and the state quarterfinals with a 28-2 record in 1979. He was The Express Times coach of the year and inducted into the Notre Dame Hall of Fame in 1992. He worked as an assistant under Brian Hill at Lehigh and at William & Mary under Bruce Parkhill before being named head coach at ESU in 1987. He led the program to the PSAC title and an NCAA tournament berth in 1990. He was named Lehigh’s coach in 1996 and spent six seasons in charge of the Mountain Hawks and then became an assistant under Brian Hill’s nephew Fred Hill at Rutgers in 2010.

He was inducted into the ESU Hall of Fame in 2011 and the Lehigh Valley/Pocono Sports Hall of Fame last year.

 

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