Phil Jackson, the greatest basketball coach that the state of North Dakota has ever produced, was on Monday sent straight to the Basketball Hall of Fame in his first year of consideration. We assume that it wasn't for his tenure coaching the Albany Patroons. Jackson of course won six titles with the Chicago Bulls and three with the Lakers, matching Red Auerbach's record. This is a slightly better resume than that of Dick Vitale, who did not get in. Also in the house on Monday was North Carolina's Roy Williams, the 1966 NCAA champion Texas Western team, four-time WNBA championship coach Van Chancellor, former NBA referee Mendy Rudolph and international coaches Pedro Ferrandiz of Spain and Mirko Novosel of Yugoslavia. Sorry, Eddie Sutton, you did not make it.
• Wade On Track. Nearly six weeks after suffering a dislocated shoulder, Miami's Dwyane Wade was back at practice, reported that he was pain free, and hopes to be back in the lineup before the beginning of the playoffs. Miami (39-34) has nine games remaining in the regular season. Wade and Shaquille O'Neal have missed a total of 66 games, and have played only 13 together.
• Old School. The Mavericks just signed someone who was born before the Kennedy assassination; how cool is that? Time to welcome once again 44-year-old center Kevin Willis, who signed a 10-day contract Monday, making him the oldest active player in the NBA. Willis has played 20 seasons with seven teams, most recently Atlanta for 29 games in 2004-05. He didn't play last season.