Armstrong High students find Ben Wallace is a strong Hall of Fame candidate
According to research by the Armstrong High School Sports Analytics Club in Richmond, Virginia, Ben Wallace, four-time NBA Defensive Player of the Year, is a worthy candidate for the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame in Springfield, Massachusetts.
The Armstrong High students, participants in The Sports Analytics Club Program (SACP), analyzed Wallace’s 16-year NBA career and found that the five-time All-NBA selection has a highly distinguished resume that sets him apart from other defense-oriented centers whose careers are already enshrined in Springfield.
The Armstrong Sports Analytics Club concludes, “Ben Wallace was arguably the league’s most dominant defender since Bill Russell. Wallace was a unique player in that his defense and rebounding were so dominant that they helped elevate a team without a conventional superstar into an NBA champion. Wallace is the only NBA champion with five All-NBA selections who has not been inducted into the Hall of Fame.”
That championship team, the 2004 Detroit Pistons, was renowned for its ability to shut down opponents, with Wallace as its heart, soul and leader on the defensive end. From 2001-02 through 2005-06, Wallace was named the NBA’s first-team All-Defensive center all five seasons.
Wallace was named a finalist for the Naismith Basketball Hall of Fame on Dec. 22, 2020. If he is selected, he might go into the Hall of Fame alongside Pistons teammate Chauncey Billups. Another key member of those celebrated Detroit teams, Richard Hamilton, is a candidate as well.
The Armstrong Sports Analytics Club conducted its research in close collaboration with Dr. Karl T. Jackson, Sr., Chair of Department of Natural Sciences at Virginia Union University, and Dan Rosenbaum, the Pistons’ Senior Director of Basketball Strategy. Wallace is a graduate of Virginia Union and was inducted into the CIAA Hall of Fame in 2015.
“The SACP Board is confident the Naismith voters will be impressed and persuaded by the data-driven advanced performance metrics demonstrated by the Armstrong Club,” said Robert L. Clayton, CEO of The Sports Analytics Club Program, Inc. “Every student deserves an opportunity to experience an exciting, complex and actionable learning environment.”
In their work with SACP and their professional advisors, the students developed data science techniques and presented their work in support of Wallace’s candidacy to the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame. The Class of 2021 Enshrinement ceremony is scheduled to take place in September, with the announcement of the 2021 inductees expected in April.
The Armstrong students found that Wallace’s record of statistical accomplishments and NBA honors exceeded those of Naismith Hall of Fame members Dennis Rodman, Dikembe Mutombo and Wes Unseld. Wallace’s rare dominance as a defender and a rebounder is shown in both the individual honors he attained and his team’s success. The Pistons made the Eastern Conference finals six consecutive years, from 2003 to 2008, and upset the Los Angeles Lakers team led by Shaquille O’Neal and Kobe Bryant in the 2004 NBA Finals to bring the Detroit franchise its third NBA title.