LAS VEGAS — Chauncey Billups never played a minute of basketball in the Pac-12 Conference. Jenny Simpson never raced in any Pac-12 track or cross country meets.
Nevertheless, the two University of Colorado legends played a small role, in absentia, in a meaningful Pac-12 event on Friday. Billups, represented by parents Ray and Faye Billups, was inducted into the Pac-12 men’s basketball Hall of Honor.
Simpson, winner of the bronze medal in the 1,500-meter run this past summer at the Rio Olympics, was scheduled to appear alongside other Olympians at an event where the USCOC recognized Pac-12 institutions for their commitment to Olympic sports, but Simpson was forced to cancel due to an illness.
“He couldn’t be here, but I’m sure he’s happy and he asked us to come in and accept the award for him,” Ray Billups said. “I haven’t really had a chance to sit down and talk with him about it about, but I know he’s happy. He wouldn’t have asked us to come in and accept the award if he wasn’t happy about it. Just knowing that he asked me to come in and accept it made me feel good.”
Another former basketball star with Colorado ties in the same boat as Billups is former Denver Nuggets guard Andre Miller, a former standout at Utah who also was inducted into the Pac-12 Hall of Honor despite never playing in the league. Miller, a native of Los Angeles, said he would have loved to have played in the Pac-12 but found it odd to be going into a shrine to the Pac-12 when his collegiate career was highlighted by four consecutive WAC regular-season titles.
“It’s weird,” Miller said. “I got the call and I was like, ‘I didn’t even play in the Pac.’ It feels kind of odd, but I’m blessed to be affiliated with a lot people in the basketball community that represented the Pac-12. It’s just an honor every time I can be involved in something like this and be considered for this type of award.”