Last week, ACC Network posed the question, “Who is the NC State Basketball G.O.A.T.”? We know, we know, ridiculous right? While number one seems unanimous, we wanted to give our definitive Top Five of All-Time.
See above for video and below to vote for your Top Wolfpack Basketball Player.
ACC Network’s nominees were David Thompson, Rodney Monroe, Chris Corchiani, and TJ Warren. With that, here’s our Top-Five.
#5 Ronnie Shavlik
We updated this after talking to Grandpa George. Ronnie owned the ACC in the 50’s. The guy averaged over a THREE YEAR CAREER 19 points and 17 rebounds a game. Yes, it was a two-point game back then, so numbers were inflated (ignore Ronnie’s FG% and FT%), but still solid numbers. 3x All-ACC Tournament, 2x Consensus All-American, 2x All-ACC and Player of the Year in 1955. The following year he went number four overall to the Knicks.
#4 Tommy Burleson
At number four Tommy Burleson. First off, just imagine having to deal with him inside and across the paint is David Thompson…Good Lawwwwwd. Don’t know if there is a steadier player out there for State basketball. In his three years, Burleson averaged 19 points and 13 rebounds. Just look at this postseason run to the 1974 title:
Against Providence – 16 Points / 24 Rebounds
Against Pitt – 26 Points / 12 Rebounds
Against UCLA (Going head-to-head with Bill Walton) – 20 Points / 14 Rebounds
Against Marquette in National Championship – 14 Points / 11 Rebounds / 7 Freaking Blocks
Thompson overshadowed Burleson’s greatness, but we’re showing our respects to the man here.
#3 Rodney Monroe
At number three, Mr. Rodney Monroe. Monroe is State’s all-time points getter at 2,551, thanks to three straight years averaging at least 21 points per game (and his freshman year, while he played every game, he didn’t have a single start). Three-time All-ACC and 1990-91 ACC Player of the Year. Just imagine if he had a big man to dish and rebound (hint, watch for an article soon about that)?
#2 TJ Warren
Uh oh…here comes some recency bias. TJ Warren comes in as number two because if you expand out what he did in two years over four, the numbers are astounding. 1300 points and would have been close to passing State point leader Monroe (2551) by end of junior year, if not beginning of senior year. Grabbed nearly 400 boards to go with over a hundred steals. The man single-handedly carried that 2013-14 State team deep into ACC Tournament and into the Big Dance, while picking up ACC POY win.
#1 David Thompson
Let’s face it, the answer is David Thompson. During his three-year stretch he filled the trophy case – 3x ACC Player of the Year, multiple Consensus All-American, All-ACC/NCAA Tournament Teams, NCAA Tournament Outstanding Player and Naismith Award, among another dozen-plus honors. In ACC history, only he and Ralph Sampson have won ACC POY awards three times. Scoring 2309 points with 694 boards, Thompson was the man.
Here’s Michael Jordan talking about Thompson,
“As I grew up in North Carolina, I was an anti-Carolina guy. I hated UNC,” Jordan said. “I was in love with David Thompson, not just for the game of basketball, but in terms of what he represented. We all go through our trials and tribulations, and he did, and I was inspired by him.”
Which, sidenote…WHY THE HELL DIDN’T MJ COME TO STATE?!?
Bettered only by Bobby f*cking Hurley in NCAA history for assists in a career. Thanks to Monroe, Corchiani was a transition wizard putting up a State record of 1038 assists in his career. All-ACC team nominations his final three seasons, he lead the ACC in steals all four years and assists in his final two seasons.
Whittenburg gets a shoutout just for his 1983 postseason run averaging 20 a game for the Pack. While we love him, his regular-season play was fine and overall the image heightened by that magical championship run.
Similar to Burleson, Bailey was steady during his Pack career. He got you points, he got you rebounds, he got you blocks.
Googs senior season was awesome, averaging 23 points and 10 boards a game. Most definitely matured over his four years, but not enough to crack top-five.
Every night he filled the score sheet in some way.
All we’re going to say…imagine if he had the work ethic that some of these guys above had?
Who do you have as State’s G.O.A.T.?