Past Imperfect: The Wild Ride of Jimmy V

Posted by JWeill on December 8th, 2011

Past Imperfect is a series focusing on the history of the game. Every two weeks, RTC contributor Joshua Lars Weill (@AgonicaBoss|Email) highlights some piece of historical arcana that may (or may not) be relevant to today’s college basketball landscape. This week: the ups and downs of famed coach Jim Valvano.

Jimmy V, Looking For a Hug Back in 1983...

Few coaches in college basketball history have attained the sport’s highest levels of achievement and personal recognition. To do that, a coach must not only be dominant on the court, likely a national champion, but must also show both a sustaining level of that dominance and a personal magnetism that transcends on-court excellence. For those coaches who reach such lofty heights, there’s not much that a man can’t see within his grasp. Fortune and fame, even celebrity if so desired. A career choice originally based on a simple and single-minded goal – to be a major college head coach – can one day lead to possibilities never previously imagined: corporate pitchman, TV star, a brand unto oneself.

For James Thomas Anthony Valvano, the fame and attention he garnered for his team’s improbable victory in the 1983 NCAA title game was an elixir too potent to be sipped and appreciated. To the contrary, Valvano drank fully and became addicted: to the lifestyle, to the accolades, to the fame, to the next opportunity. For ‘Jimmy V,’ as he was known to most, there was, after years of toil in a cut-throat business, all of a sudden everything and anything possible. And Valvano, a boundless personality, a real talker, chomped at the bit to have it all.

The phrase “larger than life” gets used a lot, far too often on folks who simply aren’t. It’s as cliché as cliché comes, an almost meaningless term due to its over- and wrong-use. And yet, when applied correctly, it can be apt. Valvano certainly was someone it applied to. Despite losing his battle with cancer in 1993, Valvano is still very much alive. He lives on through the charitable foundation that bears his nickname, as well as the college basketball events that raise money for them. He lives on too in his much-revered and much-replayed speech at the 1993 ESPYs. You probably saw it recently, and you’ll see it again.

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R.I.P. Lorenzo Charles (1963-2011)

Posted by nvr1983 on June 27th, 2011

We are sad to report news out of Raleigh, North Carolina, where former North Carolina State star and 1983 NCAA Tournament hero Lorenzo Charles apparently died in a bus accident at 5 PM today. Charles is best known for his last-second dunk off an errant shot by Dereck Whittenburg to beat Houston‘s famed Phi Slama Jamma team that featured eventual NBA Hall of Famers Hakeem Olajuwon and Clyde Drexler. That North Carolina State team, a #6 seed–the second lowest seeded team to ever win the title–was known as the “Cardiac Pack” for its tendency to win close games late in the year (winning seven of its last nine games after trailing in the last minute), but none of those wins approached the theatrics of the championship night. Set in “The Pit” at New Mexico, the last university venue to host a championship game, the follow-up dunk by Charles ignited a raucous celebration that was highlighted by a stunned Houston team wandering around the floor and an ecstatic Jim Valvano running around the court looking for someone to hug. [Ed. Note: Please click through video to see the highlights on YouTube due to the NCAA disabling embedding.]

Both the dunk and the surreal celebration with Valvano running around like a madman rank up there with the greatest moments in sports history and have become a staple of every NCAA Tournament highlight package. Charles was selected by the Atlanta Hawks as the 41st pick in the 1985 NBA Draft and although he never achieved anywhere near the same notoriety at any other point in his career, he will forever be a part of college basketball lore as the only player to win an NCAA Championship with a shot at the buzzer. Details remain limited at this time, but we will update you as more become available.

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Morning Five: 12.04.09 Edition

Posted by rtmsf on December 4th, 2009


  1. Fordham head coach Dereck Whittenberg was fired today by the school, after getting off to a rough 1-4 start to the season this year and one day after his star player, Jio Fontan, announced he was transferring.  His record was 69-112 over six-plus seasons, but last year was a nightmare (3-25, 1-15 A10) for the team and the administration obviously wasn’t satisfied that improvements were forthcoming.  Assistant coach Jared Grasso will take over for the rest of the season.
  2. FoxSports has their NPOY watch list out, and while we certainly won’t argue with Evan Turner as the leader right now, how can there not be a single Kansas player in the top 10?
  3. Gary Parrish takes a closer look at why UCLA is struggling so terribly this year and what, if anything, can be done to turn it around.
  4. Here’s Mike DeCourcy’s first-month surprises and disappointments, and yeah, we can’t argue with any of it.
  5. Luke Winn’s Power 16 is the usual awesome, and not only because he mentions RTC in it (although that sure helps).  But the quote in Sarah Palin’s book misattributing John Wooden (instead of John Wooden Legs) is an epic find, and has had us chuckling around here with its tailor-made fittingness.
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Checking In On… the Atlantic 10

Posted by rtmsf on December 2nd, 2009


Joe Dzuback of Villanova by the Numbers is the RTC correspondent for the Atlantic 10 Conference.


  1. Rhode Island (4-0)
  2. Richmond (6-1)
  3. Duquesne (5-1)
  4. George Washington (4-1)
  5. Xavier (4-2)
  6. Charlotte (4-1)
  7. Temple (4-2)
  8. St. Bonaventure (4-2)
  9. St. Louis (4-2)
  10. Dayton (3-2)
  11. La Salle (3-2)
  12. Massachusetts (2-4)
  13. Saint Joseph’s (3-4)
  14. Fordham (1-4)

Early Season Invitational Tournaments, Part 2

The early season invitational tournaments have come to dominate the November schedules of many D1 conferences. For the Atlantic 10 Conference, these tournaments make an offer conference members can rarely refuse. Aside from the allure of playing fall basketball in exotic locations (ok, Cullowhee, N.C., Philadelphia and Chicago in November may not be that exotic…), they provide the A10 with a mix of high and mid-major opponents who, despite pressure from the NCAA, are often reluctant to sign equitable home-and-home agreements. If the locations are not exotic, the preliminary round games are often local (within a day’s drive or a 1 – 2 hour flight) if not at home (see Richmond, Massachusetts & St. Louis), while the final round games are scheduled (for the most part) on neutral courts, thus mitigating home court advantages sought by high-major opponents.

For the A10, 11 members participated in invitational tournaments this past November. The tournaments ranged from the (relatively) prestigious preseason NIT (Charlotte) to tropical locations like the Virgin Islands (St. Joseph’s), to continental destination cities like Charleston (La Salle) to the MVC-hosted (and insurance-sponsored) Traveler’s (St. Bonaventure).

a10 table 1

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Running Into Frantz Pierre-Louis…

Posted by rtmsf on January 27th, 2009

Ray Floriani of College Chalktalk is the RTC correspondent for the NEC and MAAC Conferences. 

IRVINGTON, NJ – Never know who you will meet up with. The past weekend did not bring any games to go out and cover but there were officiating assignments. On Saturday morning was a grade school doubleheader at the Good Shepherd Academy in Irvington. Worked the two girls games which were followed by the boys. After my games I spoke with a gentleman who arrived at half time of the second girls contest. Frantz Pierre-Louis, a dominant Northeast Conference player in his late nineties days at Wagner, was there to watch his son who plays on the 5-6th grade boys team.


Pierre-Louis had a great career at Wagner and we spoke of his days in the NEC when teams were chasing the likes of LIU with sharp shooting Charles Jones. “I really enjoyed the league,” Pierre-Louis said. “I saw a lot of double teams (even occasional triple teams) but it was a great time.”

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Checking in on the… Atlantic 10

Posted by rtmsf on November 25th, 2008

College Chalktalk is the RTC correspondent for the Atlantic 10 Conference.


This Week in the A-10
By Christian Marge | November 24, 2008

PLAYER OF THE WEEKKeith Cothran, Junior, URI.  Quite simply, Keith Cothran had his best week as a collegiate player, leading URI to a 2-0 week with wins over Monmouth and Virginia Commonwealth.  In back to back games, Cothran set new career highs in points, as he poured in 18 against Monmouth, and 23 against the CAA favorites, VCU.  Cothran shot a blistering 17-26 (65%) from the field during the two-game stretch.  On the year, the junior is averaging 14.7 points and 1.7 steals per game, while also shooting 42.9% from three point range; up 19% on the young season, from his figure last season.

HONORABLE MENTION: Aaron Jackson, (Sr.) Duquesne; Dionte Christmas, (Sr.) Temple; Rodney Green, (Jr.) La Salle.

(Note: College Chalktalk’s week runs from the previous Monday through Sunday, given the release of ‘This Week in the A-10′ each Monday morning.)

GAME OF THE WEEK:  November 21st, 2008.  Xavier 63, Virginia Tech 62.

In a week full of close games, this one took the cake as Xavier’s Dante Jackson nailed a half-court buzzer beater to lead the Musketeers to a one-point win in the semifinal of the Puerto Rico Tip-Off.  Jackson had been 0-8 from the field before he let his miraculous shot fly.  The win for Xavier marked the first blemish for Virginia Tech.  In fact, it marked the first game any ACC team had lost this season, as the conference had gone 29-0 til Jackson’s shot banked off the glass and dropped through the net.

HONORABLE MENTION: St. Bonaventure 64, Rutgers 63 (OT).

GAME OF THE UPCOMING WEEK: Ahmad Nivins (21.0 ppg., 12.5 rpg) leads Saint Joseph’s out to Maui to face a Texas Longhorns squad in the Maui Invitational.  Texas has excellent balance, led by A.J. Abrams and Damion James.  The Hawks’ Tasheed Carr, formerly of the Big 12 (Iowa State) will try to contain Abrams and frustrate the Longhorn attack, as SJU would prefer to keep this contest in the sixties.

RPI BOOST OF THE WEEK: Xavier (Current RPI: No. 13)

A perfect 4-0 on the week with your lowest ranked opponent at RPI#119 (Missouri) will certainly boost team standing.  The Musketeers made a final jump, leaping fifteen spots by knocking off Memphis to claim the Puerto Rico Tip-Off Championship.

RPI FALL OF THE WEEK: Charlotte (Current RPI: No. 319)

It’s difficult to fall harder than the 49ers have to start the season.  Their lone win on the season came against RPI #337 UNC-Greensboro.  A strength of schedule at 299 and a 1-3 record hurts the ‘Niner cause.  RPI help is on the way if Charlotte can seize the opportunity in a loaded Anaheim Classic field this coming weekend.

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