American University will honor three of its greatest basketball players this weekend as Ed Clements and Wilbur Thomas are inducted into the school's Hall of Fame and Kermit Washington's jersey is retired.
Thomas, a Theodore Roosevelt High alumnus and star forward for the Eagles from 1971 to 1975, still ranks among the leaders in several categories in the American record books. Clements was a four-sport participant, earning 10 letters in track and field, baseball, basketball and cross-country.
"Their accomplishments speak for themselves," said Athena Argyropoulos, an associate athletic director at American who chaired the selection committee.
Clements and Thomas will be honored at a banquet Saturday evening, but activities extend throughout the weekend -- which includes a critical homestand for the Eagles, who will face Colgate at 7:30 tonight and Holy Cross on Sunday at 1 p.m.
Clements worked in the Montgomery County public school system for 36 years as a teacher and administrator. The greatest testament to his athletic versatility came on a day when he participated in both a morning track meet in Washington and an afternoon doubleheader against Loyola in Baltimore, traveling between events via helicopter.
"We lost the first game 10-5, but I went 2 for 4 and got on base four times in the second and we won," Clements said. "I guess it was a publicity stunt, but it was fun."
Washington and Thomas each scored more than 1,400 points in their careers, one of the best eras in American basketball, leading the team to its first NIT bid. Thomas is a Herndon resident and businessman whose son Jason is a sophomore swingman.
"We beat Georgetown two out of three years, George Washington three out of four and Catholic every time we played them," Thomas said. "We never got to play Maryland, but I feel comfortable that we had bragging rights from a local standpoint."