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36 Years Ago Today…NC State Won the National Championship



36 years ago today, the Cardiac Pack won the 1983 NCAA Championship against highly favored Houston.

Below is the full writeup from the NC State Media Guide:

NC State’s second national championship was as unexpected as its first was anticipated. The 1983 Wolfpack, head coach Jim Valvano’s third NC State team, was a veteran unit with a gifted backcourt in seniors Sidney Lowe and Dereck Whittenburg, and an All-America candidate at forward in senior Thurl Bailey. Although expectations were high that NC State could return to national prominence
in 1983, few expected anyone from the ACC other than Virginia and North Carolina to contend for the national championship.

The Wolfpack, coming off a 22-10 season the year before, got off to a strong start. The Pack won seven of its first nine games, heading into a January 12 game at Reynolds against Virginia. UVa had won five straight from the Wolfpack prior to that meeting.

The season turned when Whittenburg, who had scored 27 first-half points and led the Pack to a 16-point lead late in the first half against the Cavaliers, broke his right foot when he landed wrong on the foot of a UVa player early in the second half. Not only did the Wolfpack let a big lead slip away and absorb its sixth consecutive loss to the Cavaliers, but team doctors informed Valvano after the game that Whittenburg was lost for the season.

Following Whittenburg’s injury, NC State lost three of its first four games. Then, the tide began to turn. The Wolfpack won eight of its next 10 and began to pull back together as a unit. At 16-8 with three regular-season games remaining, things were looking up again. Whittenburg, recovering faster than expected, was cleared to return to the lineup.

He reappeared against the Cavaliers in Charlottesville, and though the Wolfpack lost, the season began to turn again. The Pack finished the regular season 17-10 following a 130- 89 win over Wake Forest in the final game.


Throughout the postseason, Valvano implored his team to stay close every game and put itself in a position to win at the end. “Survive and advance,” Valvano would say, and the Wolfpack took his words to heart with last-minute wins over Wake Forest, North Carolina and Virginia to capture the ACC Tournament title.

The Pack was sent to Corvallis, Ore., for the NCAA West Regionals and a first-round date against Pepperdine. NC State missed its first 12 shots from the field against the Waves, but recovered and managed to force a 47-47 tie at the end of regulation. After Pepperdine built a six-point cushion with less than a minute to play in the first overtime period, it appeared the Wolfpack’s season was slipping away.

Miraculously, the Wolfpack was able to cut the lead to two after Dane Suttle, an 84 percent free-throw shooter, missed the front ends of two one-and-ones. After Whittenburg missed a free throw, Cozell McQueen grabbed the rebound and threw in an incredible off-balance shot from eight feet to send the game into double overtime. NC State went on to a 69-67 victory in the second overtime, and the push toward Albuquerque had begun.
Sixth-ranked UNLV was up next, and after falling behind 52- 40 with 11:40 to play, the Wolfpack went on a run. Bailey hit a jumper with 37 seconds left to cut the lead to 70-69, and after Vegas missed the front end of a one-and-one, he was able to hit a fadeaway bank shot with four seconds to play for a 71-70 win.

NC State cruised to a 75-56 win over Utah in the regional semifinal matchup, setting up another meeting with Virginia in the regional final. Whittenburg continued his sparkling long-range bombing, and the Pack stayed close throughout. Virginia owned a 62-61 lead, when Sampson fouled Lorenzo Charles with 23 seconds remaining. Charles made both free throws, and the Pack was headed to the Final Four.


Houston vs. Louisville was the headliner game in the first round of the Final Four, a game most people said would really decide the national championship. But while much of the basketball world awaited the Cougars and Cardinals, Jim Valvano and his Wolfpack came to Albuquerque and stole the show, on and off the court. Valvano, glib and mercurial on his feet, immediately stole the media spotlight, taking the pressure off his team, which faced 18th-ranked Georgia in the other semifinal matchup. The Wolfpack smoked the Bulldogs, building an 18-point lead with less than five minutes to play before hanging on for a 67-60 win that sent NC State into its second national championship game in nine years.

When Houston destroyed Louisville in the other semifinal game, the NC State-Houston game was viewed as a major mismatch by the national media, though the Wolfpack had won four games against top 10 teams (North Carolina, Virginia twice, and UNLV) in the month of March.
Houston hoped to control the game with its superior front line, led by All-Americans Akeem Olajuwon and Clyde Drexler. The Wolfpack game plan was simple – control the tempo with its peerless guard play. Lowe played all 40 minutes, scored eight points, had eight assists, five steals and no turnovers. He dominated the game from the backcourt. Whittenburg played 39 outstanding minutes, hit six long-range bombs, scored 14 points and had five rebounds. Bailey and McQueen, meanwhile, helped tighten the defense on Olajuwon. Bailey delivered 15 points and five rebounds, and McQueen added four points and 12 rebounds.

The Pack forced the action in the first half and held a 33-25 lead at halftime, but Houston charged back after intermission and took 42-35 advantage following a 17-2 run. The Pack was once again searching for a miracle.

Turnovers and several missed free throws allowed the Wolfpack to tie the game at 52-52 with 1:59 to play, and after Houston missed the front end of a one-and-one with 1:05 to play, NC State worked the clock to the 44-second mark and called a timeout.

Valvano wanted to hold the ball until 10 seconds remained, and then have Lowe penetrate in hopes of creating a shot. Instead, State wound up with Whittenburg launching a wild shot from 30 feet. When the shot came up short, Charles was there to grab the rebound and slam it home as time expired to give the Wolfpack a 54-52 win and its second national championship.

For the second time in less than a decade, the state of North Carolina celebrated a Wolfpack national championship, and this time, the entire country was captivated thanks to the charismatic Valvano and the manner in which his determined team of underdogs slayed one Goliath after another in the month of March.

NC State Media Guide

The famous buzzer beater…

Check out the FULL GAME below.

NC State Basketball

WatchStadium: NC State Has Picked Up 2 of the Top-50 Transfers



Jeff Goodman of Watch Stadium ranked the Top-50 Graduate Transfers this offseason, and NC State has already inked two of them in Guard Thomas Allen and Forward Pat Andree.

21) Thomas Allen, 6-1, 185, SG, Soph., Nebraska
Stats: 8.7 ppg, 2.8 rpg, 2.0 apg
Scout’s take: “2-guard who shoots it well. Crafty off the bounce. Average defender.”

27) Pat Andree, 6-8, 225, F, Lehigh
Stats: 12.9 ppg, 6.2 rpg, 42% 3-pointers
Scout’s take: “Elite catch and shoot with deep range at a legit 6-foot-7. Good passer if a team values passing, limited off the bounce. Can stretch the defense, but limited on defense.”

Watch Stadium

They are also still in the mix for a few of the other Graduate Transfers in Goodman’s rankings.

Charleston Southern Graduate Transfer Christian Keeling will be taking an official visit to NC State on May 3rd.

9) Christian Keeling, 6-4, 175, G, Charleston Southern
Stats: 18.7 ppg, 6.9 rpg, 38% 3-pointers
Scout’s take: “Elite scorer from 3 and mid-range. Very, very good shooter off the catch-and-bounce. Creative to get his spots. Long and good athlete for his size. Good finisher at the rim, but trusts his jump shot more. Defends.”
Schools: Purdue, NC State (5-3), Clemson (4-19), Georgia Tech, North Carolina (4-23)

Watch Stadium

Valparaiso Center Derrik Smits took an official visit to Raleigh this past weekend.

28) Derrik Smits, 7-1, 240, C, Valparaiso
Stats: 12.2 ppg, 5.7 rpg
Scout’s take: “Huge, very skilled, posts hard. Scores with his back to the basket. Good passer when doubled. Rebounds at both ends. Needs to improve defensively.”
Schools: Arizona State, NC State, Butler

Watch Stadium

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PI EXCLUSIVE: NC State’s Kiara Leslie Talks About Going 10th in WNBA Draft



Two weeks ago, NC State Graduate Senior Kiara Leslie was selected 10th overall in the 2019 WNBA Draft by the Washington Mystics. I caught up with her, and she gave her thoughts:

Leslie started her collegiate career at Maryland, so she is excited to be heading to familiar territory.

I’m going back to an area I’m am familiar with, and I know a few of their players.

Kiara Leslie

Even though some were shocked Leslie went so high, it wasn’t a complete shock to her.

I knew it was possible. I had a few teams with picks in the 1st round that I had been communicating with. They didn’t confirm where they would take me, but I knew it was possible. It’s been a blessing. Nobody but God made this happen.

Kiara Leslie

Wolfpack head coach Wes Moore, who came in 2nd in the voting for National Coach of the Year, made a tremendous impact on Leslie’s game over the past two seasons.

This year I had to play a bigger role on the team. He helped me broaden my game and become more comfortable doing things I wasn’t used to doing before.

Kiara Leslie

As a current resident of Holly Springs, North Carolina, it’s awesome to see a native of the Springs make it as a professional athlete.

Not a lot of people from a small town make it to the big stages and play professionally. I am really happy to represent Holly Springs and be a role model for the youth who desire to play professionally as well.

Kiara Leslie

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Cincinnati’s Nysier Brooks Receiving Interest from NC State



According to CBSSports’ Jon Rotstein, Cincinnati Transfer Nysier Brooks (6’11″/240) is receiving interest from NC State.

Brooks isn’t a graduate transfer, so he would have to sit one year to play one year.

It honestly is an odd move that Brooks submitted his name to the Transfer Portal. He started all 35 games last year for the Bearcats, averaging 8.1 points, 6.5 rebounds and 1.5 blocks per game. He was named Cincinnati’s Defensive Player of the Year.

He’s already 22 years old, and would be 24 by the time he left college if he does in fact transfer.

The reason seems to be stemming from Mike Cronin being hired as UCLA’s coach, as well as a lack of relationship with new coach John Brannen. His Guardian expressed frustration on Twitter that Brannen hadn’t reached out to them yet, and they were leaving Cincinnati as a family.

While it would be huge to add someone of Brooks size and athletic ability, he would suck up 2 years of a scholarship, and only play one. That’s not a big deal if you don’t have anyone already sitting out a year, but Thomas Allen is already doing so. That would leave the Wolfpack with only 11 scholarship players next season.

With that being said, there is some speculation that Brooks could graduate in June, and become a Graduate Transfer.

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NC State is Recruiting Oakland Graduate Transfer Jaevin Cumberland



According to Joe Giglio of the News & Observer, NC State is actively recruiting Oakland Graduate Transfer Jaevin Cumberland (6’3″/185).

On April 11th, news broke that Jaevin Cumberland would be transferring out of Oakland for his final year of eligibility.

To say that 2018-19 was a breakout season for Cumberland would be an understatement. After playing minimal minutes as a reserve his first two seasons, and redshirting his 3rd year on campus due to a chronic ankle injury, Cumberland started all 33 games for the Golden Grizzlies.

Sports Reference

Cumberland averaged 17.2 points and 3.5 assists this past season, shooting 40% from three-point land.

He took an official visit to Oregon this weekend.

With the exodus of Graduate Wyatt Walker this week, NC State now has 1 scholarship available for next season. Valparaiso Graduate Transfer Derrik Smits is on an official visit in Raleigh this weekend.

Senior Point Guard Markell Johnson is going through the NBA Draft process, and 2019 signee Jalen Lecque officially declared for the NBA Draft yesterday, with today’s deadline looming. Both Johnson and Lecque can end up in Raleigh next year if they go through the process and deem that to be their best situation. Obviously if they go pro, more scholarships will become available.

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