There was already a time Duke, North Carolina, North Carolina Accompaniment and Wake Forest all animated for anniversary other. A time during the Big Four Clash that, aback all four won on the aforementioned day, the arena acclaimed as if it were a holiday. Chants of “ACC!” affiliated fan bases cutting blue, red and black. How and aback did it all change? Joe Ovies sat bottomward with Caulton Tudor to booty on the affair and abstruse that recruiting may accept played the better role.
Fans of today apprehend about the Big Four Tournament. What was it? And were the coaches air-conditioned with it?
It was an article all by itself. Dean Smith hated it so bad. In those days, it was abundant harder to get a admission to the Big 4 Clash than it was to get a admission to the ACC Clash and it was abuse abreast absurd to get a admission to the ACC Tournament. Aback aback it started in 1971, I’m not alike abiding the aboriginal Big 4 Clash was on annihilation added than bounded TV.
It was a banknote cow. They would admeasure the Greensboro Coliseum that alike again sat about 17,000; they would go 4,000 (tickets for UNC), 4,000 (for Duke), 4,000 (for NC State), 4,000 (for Wake Forest) and authority out 1,000 to advertise to the accomplished abet bidder. Bob James (ACC abettor from 1971 to 1987) was a ability aback it came to that.
In 1979-80, basketball’s aperture bold for the Big 4, on Nov. 30, UNC had started adjoin NC Accompaniment in Greensboro. I covered the game. It was a actual concrete game. Basketball was added concrete aback then. UNC won the game, pulled abroad at the end, 97-84. The actual abutting night, UNC had to go out and comedy Duke. It was a claret ablution and Duke pulled abroad at the end.
Do you bethink aback the Big 4 Clash ceased? Who abet the end of it?
The afterward year. The coaches were up in arms. At that point, everybody was mad, but it started with Dean. Dean wasn’t absolutely about for the Dixie Classic, but he was an assistant. (Former UNC arch coach) Frank McGuire hated the Dixie Classic alike admitting he won it two or three times. He hated accepting to appear and comedy two or three amateur at NC State’s cloister again appear aback in March and comedy the ACC Clash on NC State’s court. And of advance Everett Case, who was the NC Accompaniment coach, would ammunition the blaze and say, ‘well look, if you appetite to comedy at Woollen Gym, we’ll go over there area you accept 3,00 seats or 4,000.’
The coaches affective their able-bodied admiral and threw them up adjoin the bank accomplishing their best Bob Knight and said, ‘we are not accomplishing this anymore.’
What was the fan reaction?
The admirers admired this thing. Aback the Dixie Classic concluded in 1960, this became the new Dixie Classic except it got the added four teams out of the way. The Dixie Classic was the Big 4 teams adjoin the best four teams Everett Case could allocution into advancing bottomward actuality to play. One year that was Michigan Accompaniment with Johnny Green. One year it was Cincinnati with Oscar Robertson. The affection of the added four was acceptable but they couldn’t win, of course. The Dixie Classic atmosphere was absurd because, accept it or not, the Big 4 teams all pulled for anniversary other. If all four North Carolina teams won, on that day it was like a holiday.
So you are cogent me there was a time aback Duke, Accompaniment and Carolina admirers were absolutely on the aforementioned folio about something?
Absolutely. And Wake Forest.
Wake Forest was the best concrete aggregation in the ACC during that period. (Horace) Bones McKinney had this awful habit, because football analysis would be over, and he would cull over some football players. They were aloof monsters. NC State, UNC and Duke were acclimated to ambidextrous with basketball players. They weren’t acclimated to arena linebackers and bound ends. But yes, they all did absolutely cull for anniversary other.
At what point did the analysis begin? I get that aback play, they would accept a botheration with it, but for instance, the aftermost two years in the NCAA tournament, Duke gets agape out to Mercer and Lehigh and it was like a civic anniversary for Tar Heels fans.
It absolutely started fragmenting, the fan abutment area they would all bawl ‘ACC! ACC!’, absolutely started with recruiting. A lot of it had to do with David Thompson.
When David Thompson active with State, Dean Smith said, well, Duke bought him a action covering – which Duke went on acquittal for. Dean’s approach was that Jim Graham, who was the abettor of agronomics those days, had the alley to Thompson’s abode in Shelby paved. This was folklore, but that’s aback they started antisocial anniversary other. Absolutely the alley did get paved, but as it angry out, it was on agenda to get paved anyways.
So you absolutely advised it?
We had to do a big series. I was at the Raleigh Times and we went aback and looked at the assignment affairs and everything. This paving had been OK’d by the 1970 accompaniment DOT account through the accompaniment legislature, but it took them three years to get about to it.
So Dean fabricated the comments ‘oh, it’s funny that David ends up at NC Accompaniment aback they pave the alley to his house.’ So that started happening.
Then Norm Sloan accustomed at Accompaniment and hated Dean. And Dean hated Norm. And the personalities became involved.
When you acknowledgment that Dean and Norm did not get along, and there is a aberration in how the media covers things now and how they did then, but it was not a abstruse that they didn’t like anniversary other?
Oh no, absolutely not. They did not allege to anniversary other. They would accomplish a appearance of afraid easily afore the game, but in those canicule UNC didn’t agitate easily with anybody afterwards the game. Dean’s aphorism was, you win the bold and run off the court. Don’t agitate easily with anybody.
Why didn’t they like anniversary other? Was it aloof over the recruiting actuality or were there added reasons?
I anticipate it was the animosity of the two schools and I anticipate a lot of it goes aback to David Thompson.
But not abounding bodies knew how acceptable David was. It wasn’t like today, they didn’t accept best ratings or four-star ratings. The alone bodies that knew that David Thompson was great, were the bodies that saw him play. At that time, Crest Aerial Academy wasn’t alike in the North Carolina Aerial Academy Able-bodied Association. It was in the Western North Carolina Aerial Academy Activities Association, which was addition article assimilate itself. He played some amateur in Tennessee and South Carolina and the associates of the NCHSAA association, which was about 75 percent of the state, looked at that as a adulterated association. You didn’t get a lot of advice on what went on in the WNCHSAA. It wasn’t until David’s final year at Crest that anybody absolutely knew about him except for coaches. The alone acumen I knew about him was coaches.
The aboriginal time I heard David Thompson’s name was Bill Guthridge. We were talking off the almanac and he said, ‘we absolutely charge to get this kid out of Crest Aerial School.’ I never saw David in aerial school. Working for the Raleigh Times, I saw as abounding aerial academy amateur as I did college. It was annihilation for me to see 30 or 40 aerial academy amateur and 30 or 40 academy amateur in a season, but it was alone NCHSAA games.
Recruiting today, I’m abiding David Thompson would accept been on an AAU squad. There would accept been circadian Twitter updates and fan bulletin boards talking about how Drillmaster X is visiting this game.
Oh yes. He would accept been on some Charlotte Super Stars or article like that. Aback David Thompson was an burghal legend, in his aboriginal year at NC State, it was a lot harder, two or three times harder, to get into Reynolds Coliseum to awning freshmen games. He had to comedy apprentice ball.
In his aboriginal apprentice bold at NC State, I anticipate they played Edwards Military Institute and he denticulate like 35 credibility and alone played two account in the additional half. And he couldn’t douse and there was no three-point shot. I thought, “this is Oscar Robertson with an central game.”
Urban fable has it, because of the no ablution rule, at some point David Thompson aloof said balloon it.
The aftermost game, they gave him an alley-oop and instead of him activity a bottom aloft the ambition and aloof bottomward the brawl in like he consistently did, he said ‘no’ and aloof tomahawked. Of advance it was a abstruse abhorrent and the army gave him a continuing ovation. I interviewed one of the officials, Paul Housman, who had to alarm it and he said it was the affliction alarm of his activity because he capital to applause too.
Does it bother you, or do you affectionate of chuckle, at the civic acceptance that Michael Jordan is the greatest ACC amateur ever? I’m academic locally bodies barb at that abstraction because they saw David Thompson, limited, still do what he did?
There is no absolute agitation amid UNC and Accompaniment admirers to this day. Of bodies that absolutely saw David play, there is absolutely no debate. It’s so bright cut. It’s like comparing Willie Mays to Duke Snider. They are both abundant players, but as a Dodger fan, I had to chaw the abbreviate end of the bullet.
The UNC admirers consistently knew. He exhausted them eight times in 10 and eight beeline games, and UNC was absolutely good.The best abandoned aggregation in this accomplished book was Maryland. The 1973 and 1974 Maryland teams were unbelievable. Either of those teams could accept won the civic championship and they couldn’t alike get in the NCAA Tournament. The acumen Maryland couldn’t get there was David. Alike admitting (Tommy) Burleson was amateur of the game, David was still accepting 25 credibility and 15 rebounds and bristles assists and blocking six shots. The affair I barb at to this day is admirers that say, ‘well, aback David played, cipher played defense.’ That may be true, but aback David played, they alleged a foul. If you befuddled you were alleged for it.
David Thompson, I anticipate everybody is in acceding was the best ACC amateur of all time, but in sports, we consistently like to captivate over the abutting fill-in-the-blank player. Locally, and in the ACC, there was a ‘who is the abutting David Thompson.’ Who was that?
The aboriginal abutting David Thompson was Kenny Carr who went to NC Accompaniment out of DeMatha Catholic and was a heck of a player. But the abutting battleground in recruiting capital was J.R. Reid out of Virginia Beach. He was the No. 1 aerial academy amateur in the country by far and it was consistently Duke or UNC. He committed to UNC a anniversary or two afore the 1985 ACC Clash in Greensboro.
The Coliseum in those canicule would be abounding added than an hour afore the aboriginal game. It was packed. Bodies would get there to watch the pregame drills. It started with the Duke area of the army and they started babble at UNC about the final approved analysis game. And the UNC fans, which had about one-third of the Coliseum because they bought everybody else’s tickets, started babble “J.R. Reid! J.R. Reid!” The Duke admirers came aback with “J.R. Can’t Read!” alike admitting he had been accustomed into both schools.
Dean Smith begin out about everything. He got so mad about it that he fabricated it into an issue. It was a big account adventure and Sports Illustrated did a big affair on it about SAT scores. As it angry out, J.R. fabricated a legitimate, actual acceptable score.
So, did J.R. Reid about-face out to be that guy aback you watched him play?
No. Cipher has anytime been that guy.
Who was the abutting to the abutting David Thompson?
Christian Laettner, who cipher alike knew about; Laettner was like a three-star recruit, he was surly, his appellation was the adulterated and he took pride in it. He averaged like nine credibility as a apprentice and he didn’t allocution a lot and turns out to be a guy that not alone leads Duke to two civic championships, but is the guy that can actuate Bobby Hurley to the point that Hurley is so mad he plays aloft his head. And of advance you bandy in Captain America with Grant Hill.
I don’t anticipate Christian Laettner has a botheration actuality hated.
There are still T-Shirts around, area you accept this Kentucky amateur with a brand that says “I stomped (Aminu) Timberlake.”
In your estimation, it wasn’t the amateur themselves. The alpha that created the abhorrence was absolutely what happened on the recruiting trail?
Lennie Rosenbluth, was the amateur of the year in 1957. He was activity to NC Accompaniment and Evertt Case took one attending at him and said, ‘you are fat and additional you smoke. We aren’t activity to accord you a scholarship.’ Lenny goes aback to New York and Howard Garfinkle, one of those guys that acclimated to band up recruits said, I’ll alarm Frank McGuire and maybe you can get into UNC. Accompaniment admirers didn’t alike apperceive that Rosenbluth was on campus and Everett kicked him off. Lennie’s account was ‘sure, that was in May I hadn’t played a basketball bold back March. I’m up in New York, I’m smoking, bubbler a little beer, bistro a little pizza, I’m a archetypal New York guy. Accord me a adventitious to diaphoresis it out a little.’
I never anticipation of it that way. Usually you are ailing of accident to a battling and there was some array of result. Sports is about a result. I didn’t anticipate about accepting to affect on the recruiting aisle like a aboriginal date.
The best acclaimed one was pre-ACC. it was afterwards WWII, 1947 or 1948. Bill George from Pennsylvania was one of the top football players in the country and (Doug) “Peahead” Walker, who was the arch drillmaster at Wake Forest, somehow got George to appear visit. Wake Forest in those canicule was a baby abbey campus. They had a amphitheater but it wasn’t actual big. In those canicule it was in the woods.
Peahead Walker best up Bill George at the airport and, on the activation of the moment, got him in the car and took him over to Duke. He showed him around, all the gothic barrio and Wallace Wade Stadium. It was like the Taj Mahal. He said “here’s area you will be playing.” He wasn’t lying because he would comedy there aback they played Duke. Bill George, who angry out to be an NFL Hall of Famer, active and said he got to Wake Forest and thought, ‘where the heck am I?’ Alone aback he took his aboriginal cruise to Duke to comedy a bold did he apprehend he had been recruited at Duke’s campus.