March 15, 2009

March Madness Memories: NC State stops Phi Slama Jama

In this edition of March Madness Memories, we flashback to 1983 as the NC State Wolfpack was an unlikely team to make it to the NCAA championship game. They needed to win their conference tournament and some unlikely upsets to make it through.

They had guards like Derrick Whittenburg and a solid forward in future NBA player Thurl Bailey. They also had a future-legendary coach in Jim Valvanno who epitomized the underdog.

In the title game, they faced off against the Houston Cougars who had future NBA stars in Clyde Drexler and Hakeem Olajuwon. They were coached by Guy Lewis who created the nickname of "Phi Slamma Jama" because of his love of the dunk.

The title game itself was exciting and saw NC State jump out quickly against the Houston Cougars. However, Houston then took control but much like Valvanno's motto, "NC State stayed within striking distance at the end of the game.

With about 44 seconds left, NC State had tied the score and had the final possession to try and win the game. The ball was nearly stolen on two different opportunites by Houston and Derrick Whittenberg threw up a prayer for three. The shot was off but Lorenzo Charles grabbed it in the air and pulled it down for the slam.

NC State won the championship on the dunk and the image of Jim Valvanno running around the court looking for someone to hug. The NC State team was then noted as the first ever "Cinderella" but twenty-three years later, another team stuck claim to that title.

We will cover them in our next edition of March Madness Memories.

By Ben Chew with No comments


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