KANSAS CITY, M.O. – The 2012 Buffalo Funds-NAIA Division I Men’s Basketball National Championship marks the 75th Anniversary of the longest continuous national basketball tournament in any sport in the country. To commemorate this celebration of basketball, the NAIA has announced the 75 members on the 75th Anniversary All-Star Team. This team is comprised of 60 athletes and 15 coaches. Pfeiffer University's all-time leading scorer Tony Smith receives the great honor of being named to the All-Star Team.
Smith currently holds a massive 26 school records at Pfeiffer. Five of those come in single game action including a game-high 50 points back on February 6th, 1992 against Belmont Abbey. The biggest chunk of records for Smith comes in single season (10) and career records (11) which includes 3,350 career points. Smith also stands fifth on the all-time scoring list in college basketball history. In addition, Smith has had his jersey number retired at the high school, college and professional levels.
"Tony was a special player and even better person," remarked Bobby Lutz, Smith's head coach while at Pfeiffer. "He changed the culture of Pfeiffer basketball and is the most complete player I have ever coached. His talent was matched by his competitive spirit and will to win. No one was better than Tony with the game on the line. When his best was needed he delivered."
Members of the All-Star Team were invited to be a part of the festivities at Municipal Auditorium in downtown Kansas City. Attendees were recognized with a special reception preceding the National Championship final and then introduced at halftime of that contest.
A special committee of current and former coaches, tournament staff, dedicated media and long-time supporters was created to help with the selection process. After fans voted on a web site ballot, this committee followed several criteria to select the 75th Anniversary All-Star Team. Criteria included and in no particular order: performance at a national tournament, game statistics, involvement in a national championship-winning team; status on All-Tournament Team and/or Tournament MVP.
The NAIA is proud of its 75-year history and the advancement of character-driven intercollegiate athletics. From the origins in 1937 when Central Missouri State Teacher’s College (now University of Central Missouri) won the first title game to the creation of the National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics in 1952, the NAIA has evolved into a membership-driven association. Icons such as John Wooden, Dr. James Naismith, Emil Liston, Travis Grant and Terry Porter have all been an integral part of our history.