DT vs Dr J: The Day the Dunk was Born

Last year, Street & Smith magazine attempted to rank the nation’s college basketball programs for all of history. If I remember correctly, NC State came in somewhere around 20th. (For some reason my memory is blurry on this and I feel relatively confident saying that we were somewhere between 17th and 22nd. Don’t ask me why those numbers stick in my mind.)

Because of the program’s gradually deteriorating position on college basketball’s national landscape over the last 15 years, I can’t complain very much with a ranking around #20. But, it doesn’t make it any less painful when you consider that just 20 years ago NC State was undoubdtedly one of the Top 10 programs in college basketball history. (You can see a related link to contemplate by clicking here)

One of the more unique components of NC State’s Basketball history is the significant amount of “high magnitude” events for which the program is responsible compared to its ranking of (approx) #20. This is interesting to me because it mirrors the uniqueneness of college basketball as a sport — largely a tournament sport that creates situations where a team can make a huge impact on a single, high-intensity stage. You need look no further than NC State’s 1970 and 1987 ACC Championships over South Carolina and North Carolina as examples of etching your name into history without having to dominate the entire season.

NC State has had a similar impact in more ancillary items related to college basketball. A quick laundry list of high impact events that grow from Raleigh are things like:

* Everett Case, credited with “bringing basketball to the South” and accepted as the “grandfather” of the greatest basketball conference in the country

* Reynolds Coliseum (formerly the largest on-campus arena in the country) and its many tournaments (Dixie Classic & ACC)

* the tradition of cutting down the nets after a Tournament Championship

* the creation and evolution of the alley-oop

* responsibility for stopping UCLA’s unprecedented string of National Championships in 1974

* Willis Casey’s role in expanding the NCAA Tournament Championship and creating “March Madness” as we know it today

* the greatest run in NCAA history to the NCAA Championship in 1983

* Jim Valvano’s significant impact on coaching and the ongoing focus and fight on cancer

^ That list could be much longer with a little more time, and it would include the role of Spud Webb and his dunk contest championship in the NBA in the mid 1980s. Spud came back to the spotlight this weekend when Nate Robinson used Spud to jump over on his way to jumping towards the 2006 NBA Dunk Contest Championship in what was easily the best dunk contest since the “good old days.”

I find former Wolfpacker, Spud Webb’s influence on the role of the dunk in the NBA particularly unique when you consider that it was just 10 years earlier that another former-Wolfpacker played a primary role in the evolution of the art form known as dunking.

As most old-schoolers remember, the 1976 ABA Dunk Contest was actually the event that got the dunk rolling towards what it is today. And, of course, David Thompson played a monster role in the event. I’d like to thank ESPN.com for running this great retrospective on the 1976 Dunk Contest that I think that you will enjoy in light of this weekend’s re-emergence of Spud.

But the night belonged to Skywalker and Doc and their dueling dunks. They were so much the show, in fact, that other players in the game didn’t go into the locker room at halftime, preferring instead to stay courtside and watch what they’d come up with. “The guys were all there,” Hundhausen said. “Some of them on the bench, some of them laying on the floor, and some of them sitting cross-legged near center court. It was crazy.”

Alums General NCS Basketball Tradition

24 Responses to DT vs Dr J: The Day the Dunk was Born

  1. BJD95 02/20/2006 at 12:22 PM #

    If only Classic would show more video (college and pro) of the DT era. Like when I discuss Rodney Monroe with younger fans, it’s hard to paint a picture of the level of dominance unless you’ve seen it with your own eyes.

  2. Fred 02/20/2006 at 12:41 PM #

    My kids are amazed at the speed of the Maryland game form the 1974 ACC Tornament. David Thompson could take over a game like no other athlete in any sport, from any era, period.

  3. class of '74 02/20/2006 at 1:12 PM #

    I remember when we were freshmen you took a couple of running, jumping and agility tests in phys ed. Well guess who held the school records for the jumping and agility tests. Yep, DT. Everyone knows of the 44 inch leaping ability but his quickness for someone of his size was just insane. Their were a couple of track guys that were faster but from a standing start his first couple of steps were incredible.

  4. choppack 02/20/2006 at 2:21 PM #

    David Thompson was one of the elite players in the history of college basketball. He really changed the game.

    I’m hoping that we are re-establishing ourselves as a team to be reckoned with now. No need to rehash how we ended up in the position so that we’re now just being discussed again when folks talk about college b’ball – but hopefully, we’re turning that corner.

  5. Wolfpacklawyer 02/20/2006 at 2:28 PM #

    I recently watched the Skywalker dvd. That is great dvd to use to introduce the younger kids to DT. It had a lot of film from the dunk contest with Dr. J.

  6. Phil Melton 02/20/2006 at 5:09 PM #

    The ranking in the magazine was 17th-I remember it clearly. (I’ve been a Carolina fan since Dean’s first Final Four team, but have always had respect for the State basketball program.) For the sake of argument, let’s stipulate that the magazine was correct and State’s program is the 17th best in history. At that ranking, it seems to me the program deserves a coach with the stature and ability to go head to head with Roy and Coach K. I’m not a Sendek hater, but can anyone believe he has the ability to bring the Pack to the level of consistently being in the national championship mix along with Carolina and Duke?

  7. BJD95 02/20/2006 at 5:41 PM #

    If Sendek developed more of a killer instinct, I could have some realistic hope that Sendek is devloping beyond the pretty good level. I’m not convinced, but open to the possibility (for the first time in years).

  8. PACDADDY 02/20/2006 at 7:04 PM #

    It’s amazing as to how far the dunk contest has evolved. Dj won the contest with a dramatic free throw line dunk that was a classic.

    Jordan does that dunk again but the “leaner” was considered by some as one of the best of all time.

    Josh Smith runs down the court and dunks with 2 HANDS from the FT line and gets a 41 score and hardly a mention. I doubt anyone(or very few) in the world could do that. I guess he madfe it look too easy.

    Hey Phil…we are currently 2nd place and hopefully will finish with(at worst) a tie for second…2 out of 3 seasons in 2nd…4 of 5 in front of UNC and 2 of 3(hopefully) in front of Roy…what was your question again?

  9. Jeff 02/20/2006 at 7:25 PM #

    WOOO!!! We’re #2!!!!

    Phil…tell us about what it was like to win the National Championship last year while you are answering questions.

  10. Sammy Kent 02/20/2006 at 7:32 PM #

    Add these to the list of basketball innovations started at State:

    Lights out/spotlight introductions.
    Pregame music (for Case and Les it was an organ.)
    The noise meter.
    High profile holiday tournaments (Dixie Classic).
    Conference Championship Tournaments. (No other league except the SC had the guts to do it before the NCAAs expanded. Now everybody’s tried to copy the ACC.)

    Hey Phil (and PACDADDY), my answer is no. He does not. Too bad we’re stuck with him unless some place like Kentucky comes calling.

  11. packbackers 02/20/2006 at 10:48 PM #

    Too bad we’re stuck with him? That’s a ridiculous comment. By the way, congrats to the Pack for being back in the Top 15 in both polls!

  12. class of '74 02/21/2006 at 7:12 AM #

    Are there any banners for 2nd place or 15th in the country in February?

  13. class of '74 02/21/2006 at 7:42 AM #

    To try and remain on topic maybe banners for 2nd place or top 25 rankings in February could be another innovative idea we could lay claim.

  14. packbackers 02/21/2006 at 10:12 AM #

    Sorry ’74, but no banners are handed out in February. I forgot, you can’t be excited about anything unless there are banners involved. Hopefully we can hang up some sort of banner come March and April.

  15. class of '74 02/21/2006 at 2:41 PM #

    ^That’s correct 2nd place doesn’t excite most people regardless of what you are talking about. That’s why they keep score to identify a winner!

  16. PACDADDY 02/21/2006 at 3:33 PM #

    Why was my post deleted? That is annoying…bottomline…2nd place is competing…delete that!

  17. Phil Melton 02/22/2006 at 2:53 PM #


    Well, for the sake of argument, let’s say the Pack does finish ahead of Carolina in the ACC regular season standings this year (and ACC and NCAA tournament as well). Do you think Sendek is the person who can bring State to the Duke and Carolina level consistently? He’s had 10 years to do so, and while he has done a good job at bringing the Pack back to being competitive (and playing pretty well this year), it doesn’t seem to me that Sendek has the personality, charisma, or whatever you want to call it that consistently great coaches have. I might be wrong, but I think the Pack is going to be a 3rd choice for years to come as long as it’s Sendek going against Williams and Coach K.


    I can’t believe a flagship program like Kentucky would have Sendek in the mix as a possible choice. Tubby Smith is already suffering from his lack of recruiting success, and Sendek has yet to prove that he can consistently get the top-flight prospect.

    Maybe the RBC Center will have a long -term beneficial effect on recruiting, as indicated in the recent N&O article. It seems to me that State sacrificed distinctiveness and the ability to capitalize on its heritage when the RBC center was conceived. Reynolds should have been refurbished and turned into the State equivalent of Cameron Indoor Stadium. At the very least, the arena should have been primarily for NC State basketball. Now the Pack has a time share arrangement with the City of Raleigh and a hockey team instead of a building dedicated to its basketball heritage like the Smith Center or Cameron. No matter how loud it gets on game days, the fact remains that the Pack are part time tenants in what should be a building dedicated to them. That’s another reason they need a coach with some juice who can consistently compete for the best recruits.

  18. VaWolf82 02/22/2006 at 3:21 PM #

    it doesn’t seem to me that Sendek has the personality, charisma, or whatever you want to call it that consistently great coaches have.

    Great coaches have titles….personality and/or charisma in front of TV cameras and radio mikes is not required.

  19. class of '74 02/22/2006 at 4:41 PM #

    Don’t worry too much about UK going after Herb. If anyone thinks Herb has had a rough time here then you need to see how UK treats their coaches. It’s a little bit like the triangle but just one team under the microscope day in and day out. Daytight compartments would not survive in their world. If Tubby leaves look for someone with recent UK ties to take the spot.

  20. Phil Melton 02/22/2006 at 4:49 PM #

    Great coaches have titles….personality and/or charisma in front of TV cameras and radio mikes is not required.

    And who said anything about television or radio? Part of leadership at any level is having a personality with the ability to sell ones vision to the people one wants to lead to success. Compare the communication skills of Herb with Williams and Coach K, and my point is made. Even a mild mannered great coach like John Wooden had an intensity and focus that seems to me to be lacking in Sendek. The coaches that win titles on a consistent level have leadership ability that bonds their teams to them with intensity and loyalty. I imagine the Pack teams have an affection to Herb, but do they have that intense commitment to their leader that Williams’s and Krzyzewski’s players have shown for them?

  21. K. Harper 02/23/2006 at 8:50 PM #

    I am an NCSU fan from way back. I watched the NCAAT semis and finals in ’74, in fact I did not miss a game that was televised that season. The thought I have concerns the institution of NCSU, is it committed to national prominence in basketball/football or is it the same institution that de-emphasized basketball in the wake of the Personal Foul/Valvano debacle? I left NC shortly after the Valvano firing and was gone for nearly 15years and only followed NC State athletics peripherally. I honestly don’t know anything about Les Robinson’s tenure as coach or the hiring process that got us Sendek. Sendek has good coaching bonafides and maybe that is all NCSU really wants.

  22. EFFFFDuke&Carolina 04/03/2006 at 4:50 PM #

    Before there was an MJ in the state of NC there was a DT. David Thompson is the greatest player to ever step on a college basketball floor. I remember as a child sitting in front of the TV idolizing this man.

  23. Devon162 04/25/2006 at 11:50 PM #

    You all can thank me for this. 🙂
    Here is a link to a video of the Top 10 dunkers of all-time according to the pro-UNC scumbags at ESPN. Nonetheless, you can see footage of DT and Spud Webb making us proud (while holding your nose during the MJ and Vince Carter pieces).


    I will admit that MJ and VC are impressive and deserve to be listed (nose held while writing the above).


  1. StateFans Nation » Blog Archive » David Thompson Gives Team Postgame Talk - 01/14/2007

    YrFM1o kgbyvnhlamoo, [url=http://tetpglqgwaqa.com/]tetpglqgwaqa[/url], [link=http://vbxpmbgrihnd.com/]vbxpmbgrihnd[/link], http://sbixqjxnqgcs.com/

Leave a Reply