USBWA Hall of Fame Class of 2024 adds Smith, Fleser

INDIANAPOLIS (USBWA) – Michelle Smith, the first women’s basketball columnist at two organizations, and Dan Fleser, who covered championship teams at the University of Tennessee, will be honored as part of the U.S. Basketball Writers Association’s Hall of Fame Class of 2024. Their presence will give the Class of 2024 more than 180 years of experience covering college basketball at the highest levels of the game.

Smith, of The Next Hoops, and Fleser, formerly of the Knoxville News Sentinel, will be honored on Friday, April 5 at the annual USBWA Awards Brunch at the Cleveland Marriott Downtown at Key Tower from 10 a.m. to 12 p.m., prior to the national semifinals at the NCAA Women’s Final Four.

They will join Bob Baptist of The Columbus Dispatch, Donna Ditota of The Post-Standard, Chris Dortch of Blue Ribbon College Basketball Yearbook and Terry Hutchens of CNHI Sports Indiana and the Indianapolis Star, who will be honored on April 8 in Glendale, Ariz. at the NCAA Men’s Final Four.

“Michelle and Dan became part of a very small group that paid close attention to women’s basketball in a remarkable era,” said USBWA executive director Malcolm Moran. “The commitment they made and the relationships they built helped create a body of work that defines the history of the game.”

Michelle Smith: She has covered college and professional sports for nearly 30 years. Smith became the first women’s basketball columnist for both and Her work has also appeared in The Athletic,, the San Francisco Examiner and Chronicle,, Bleacher Report and AOL Fanhouse. She has written four Scholastic children’s books on the WNBA. Her previous awards include the Women’s Basketball Coaches Association Mel Greenberg Award in 2019 and the College Sports Communicators (formerly CoSIDA) Jake Wade Award for outstanding contribution in the media in 2017. Smith is a member of the Alameda County Women’s Hall of Fame.

“I’m incredibly honored to be recognized by the U.S. Basketball Writers Association,” Smith said. “This is a group of people who like me share a passion for the game, its athletes and coaches and who have been essential storytellers and chroniclers of its history. I’m proud to be among them, and so proud that I have been able to have played even a small role in elevating the women’s game.”

Dan Fleser: He joined the News Sentinel staff in 1988 and during his 25 years on the Tennessee beat he covered one of the most successful programs in the history of the sport. He covered six of the eight NCAA championship teams coached by Pat Summitt, champions that included Daedra Charles, Michelle Marciniak, Chamique Holdsclaw, Tamika Catchings, Semeka Randall and Candace Parker. He received the Women’s Basketball Coaches Association Mel Greenberg Media Award in 2008 and was named to the Tennessee Sports Writers Association Hall of Fame in 2022.

"I'm grateful for the coaches and players who shared their stories with me over the years,” Fleser said. “They took me on a great ride with them. In doing so, they deserve credit for this chapter of my story."