The Maine Basketball Hall of Fame announced its Class of 2017 today. Current Erskine Academy boys basketball coach Tim Bonsant and former Kennebec Journal sports writer and editor Gary Hawkins headline a class that includes 19 individuals, six members of the Legends class, and two celebrated teams.

Bonsant, who played at both Erskine and the University of Southern Maine, coached the Eagles to a state championship in 2004.

“It’s a tremendous honor,” said Bonsant, who was the Little East Conference Player of the Year in 1991 and was named to the LEC’s 25th anniversary all-star team. “You look at the first two classes (to be inducted) and this class, and there’s just some incredible players on the teams. I’m just honored to be a part of it.”

Bonsant fell in love with the game of basketball well before he made it to high school.

“I was playing in sixth grade, and my coach at the time took me to a high school game — Cony against Winslow,” Bonsant said. “I saw one of the players dunk, and I just remember the way the crowed reacted. I fell in love with basketball at that point.”

Hawkins, who will be inducted as one of the state’s Legends, has coached middle school basketball at St. Mary’s/St. Michael schools in Augusta for 43 years. A number of former all-State high school players played for “Hawk” over the course of his coaching career.

“Yeah, I actually was (surprised),” said Hawkins, who retired as the assistant sports editor at the Kennebec Journal in 2014. “I’m quite flattered by it.”

Among the notable players Hawkins coached are Ryan Martin, who led Maranacook to the 2008 state title, and current Winthrop standout guard Jacob Hickey.

“The kids are just starting to separate from their parents a little. They’re learning to be athletes on their own,” Hawkins said of why he likes coaching boys at the middle school level. “It’s a nice development stage.”

Tom Maines, who had coaching stops at Cony, Gardiner and Madison, among several others, will also be inducted as part of the 2017 class. Already a member of the New England Basketball Hall of Fame, Maines’ son, T.J. Maines, is currently the head coach of the Cony boys.

Kissy Walker, the longtime women’s head coach at Husson University, is being inducted, too. Walker starred as a player at Cony and later at the University of Maine, before her coaching career began. Like Maines, Walker is a member of the New England Basketball Hall of Fame.

Cameron Brown (University of Maine at Farmington), Kelly Butterfield (Gorham), Terry Carr (Stearns, UMaine), Bob Cimbollek (Husson), Rick Clark (York), Paul Cook (Lubec, MCI), Derek Counts (Oak Grove-Coburn), Gary Fifield (USM), Dick Giroux (Lewiston, Husson), Derrick Hodge (UMaine, Morse), Cathy Iaconeta (UMaine, Portland), Diane Nagle (Houlton), Bernard Paradis (Mount Deserrt Island), Wally Russell (Penquis, UMaine), Terry Spurling (Ellsworth) and Jim Stephenson (UMaine) are the other individuals who will be inducted as part of this year’s class.

The 2017 Hall of Fame class will be formally inducted into the Maine Basketball Hall of Fame on Aug. 20 at the Cross Insurance Center in Bangor.

Members who will be inducted in the Legends category, in addition to Hawkins, include Red Barry, Dwight Carver, Chick Marchetti, Tom Pelletier and Bob Woodbury.

The 1979 South Portland boys and 1980 Westbrook girls teams will also be honored for their accomplishments.

Travis Barrett — 621-5621

[email protected]

Twitter: @TBarrettGWC

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