BANGOR — Legends packed a tiny media room at the Cross Insurance Center about an hour before Thursday’s induction of the Maine Basketball Hall of Fame’s inaugural class.

But even amid the collection of talent, prestige and knowledge, Rachel Bouchard thought something was missing.

“If we could put a blackboard in here …,” said Bouchard, the former Hall-Dale High and University of Maine star.

The first class to enter the Hall of Fame assembled for a class photo, and swapped handshakes and hugs before joining 500 family, friends and fans for a gala dinner and two-hour induction ceremony.

Bouchard was one of the 16 players in the class. Players are eligible for enshrinement 20 years after their careers.

Many of the inductees were connected long before the Hall of Fame brought them together. Former Brunswick star and University of Maine coach Joanne Palombo McCallie counted former teammates, assistant coaches and mentors among her fellow honorees.

“I learned to shoot at Bob Brown’s ‘Swish’ camp. I remember girls getting an opportunity to shine at those camps. I remember seeing Dick Whitmore at camps,” said Palombo-McCallie, in her eighth year as the Duke women’s coach. “We’ve benefited from each other. Rachel Bouchard was on my Maine staff. Lisa (Blais Manning) and I were on a team that toured Taiwan. We’re all so interconnected.”

Brown, who coached for 50 years and won more than 600 games in high school and college, was joined by his son, Brett, the coach of the Philadelphia 76ers, who was inducted as a player.

“It’s an overwhelming feeling of pride,” Bob Brown said, “because this doesn’t usually happen, a father and son being in the same class.”

“Any time you’re inducted into a Hall of Fame, you feel old,” said Brett Brown, who played on South Portland teams that won two Western Class A championships and a state title in 1979. “Both of us being here tonight is definitely a reflection of our age and our past. I’m very grateful people thought enough of us to put us both in this position.”

Matt Hancock, a three-time All-American and all-time scoring leader at Colby College, was one of the four inductees who played or coached there, with Hall-Dale star Brad Moore, Coach Dick Whitmore and his longtime assistant, John (Swisher) Mitchell.

“I became so much better when I got to Colby,” said Hancock, who led Lake Region to the Class B state title in 1985. “I came into a place where creativity was encouraged. To be here with (Whitmore) and Swisher, it’s emotional because these things don’t happen without people allowing them to happen.”

Mitchell, 87, was Whitmore’s assistant for 44 years, and was the point guard for Waterville High, the 1944 New England champion and the first team enshrined in the Hall.

“I wish some of my teammates could be here,” said Mitchell. “When we won New Englands, it was during a time when (World War II) had just started turning in our favor, and I think it brought a lot of good feeling to the state. We met so many GIs who came back from overseas telling us ‘Way to go. Us farm boys showed them.’ ”

Other player inductees were Lisa Blais Manning (Westbrook, Old Dominion), Skip Chappelle (Old Town, University of Maine), Danny Coombs (Brewer, Seton Hall), Don Crosby (Cony, Boston College), Matt Donahue (Westbrook, Southern Maine), Steve Pound (Stearns, Acadia), Doug Roberts (Rumford, Acadia), Jack Scott (Ellsworth, Husson), Joe Harrington (Morse, Maryland) and Jon MacDonald (Stearns, Maryland). Paul Vachon, the longtime Cony girls’ coach, also was inducted.

Stearns Coach George Wentworth and referee Jim DiFrederico were inducted posthumously. Bob Butler of York was honored as a contributor. Wally Donovan, Durward Heal, Charlie Wotten, Tony Tammaro, Bill Mansfield, William Hanscom, Estella McLean, Anita Belanger and Clara Swan were recognized as Legends of the Game.

Only subscribers are eligible to post comments. Please subscribe or to participate in the conversation. Here’s why.

Use the form below to reset your password. When you've submitted your account email, we will send an email with a reset code.