In its February 11th edition, The Sporting News handed out its midseason awards that included Coach of the Year to Wolfpack great, Nate McMillan.
“McMillan has taken a team that was 37-45 last season and pushed it into the league’s elite. Buoyed by a back-against-the-wall situation (McMillan is in the last year of his contract), Mr. Sonic has imposted tougher defense and a more aggressive, attacking offense – a style he had long wanted to employ – and the results have shown why.”
Updated: February 18th 9:45am ET:
Below in the comments section, JPS made some comments with which I totally agree and am going to add to here:
* Nate McMillan is one of my all-time favorite Wolfpackers. You know how you have some favorite players that just were your favorites for whatever the reason? The player didn’t necessarily have to be the best of all-time (like DT). That is what my list is comprised of – favorite players that were really good, but that I can’t tell you all of the reasons why I loved them so much. My top three (in no order, as that would be blasphemous) are Nate McMillan, Derek Whittenburg, and Hawkeye Whitney.
* Those 1984-86 years to which JPS referred were as “classic” as they ever come…and he is correct that there doesn’t seem to be much tape or video archive of those years. In addition to an amazing level of ACC talent in the mid-80s, Valvano’s Wolfpack consistently battled highly ranked non-conference foes like Louisville, SMU, Kentucky, Oklahoma, etc that created a high-level play and a very exciting atmosphere in Reynolds. I wish that more of these seemed to exist out there.
* I have/had the 1985 or 86 Carolina @ State game on tape. It is truly UNBELIEVABLE to watch!!! At one point of the game, there is a time when literally ALL TEN PLAYERS ON THE COURT ultimately played in the NBA. Think about that. Every player on the court for both teams was an NBA player. The Pack won this one by about 10 Nate had an amazing pass to Washburn for a slam that is still one of my favorite plays of all-time. Probably one notch below Sidney Lowe’s between the legs backwards pass to Thurl Bailey for a facial jam in 1983 vs Carolina in Reynolds.