1983 | What they were saying during the Wolfpack's magical run

November 21, 2012 

What they were saying before

For the Cinderellas from N.C. State, midnight is near. You can hear it coming when you listen to the Houston brain, Guy Lewis, who figures State’s best chance at winning is also the reason it is likely to lose.

“I’ll probably eat these words,” he said, reaching for humility he never grasped, “but I’ve never felt that teams can beat you consistently from the outside. Of course, one time would be bad for us right now, wouldn’t it?”

– Dave Kindred, The Washington Post

“I don’t think we’re being taken as seriously as we should be. But we’ve been facing that the last couple of weeks – and still managed to win. I can understand that. If we win, they don’t have to call us champions.

“We’ll know.”

– N.C. State guard Sidney Lowe

“Ab-so-lute-ly awe-some. I missed the first half, and wished I’d missed the second. It seems like every basket was a dunk. They dunk off the fast break, they dunk off steals, they dunk off missed shots ... And awesome dunks. Oh, I saw a couple sixes and sevens in there, but Clyde Drexler gave a 10-plus once and then was even able to explain it.”

– Jim Valvano’s review after Houston’s dominant, dunk-filled 94-81 semifinal win over Louisville.

What they said during

Billy Packer: “It’s down to 7 seconds ...”

Gary Bender: “You can see the time .... Whittenburg ... Oh that’s a long ways! Good!

Packer: “They won it .... on the dunk!”

What they said after

“When my wife has the baby, I’m going to name it Al B. Querque.”

– Valvano to the Washington Post.

No doubt about it. North Carolina State is the unlikeliest, luckiest and most opportunistic NCAA tournament champion ever.

– Gary Long, Miami Herald

North Carolina State believed it could, even if nobody else did. It wasn’t just rhetoric: Sidney Lowe could control the pace, Dereck Whittenburg could shoot jumpers over anybody and State’s long-distance shots would count just as much as Houston’s dunks.

So when Lorenzo Charles slammed Whittenburg’s 32-foot air ball to kingdom come with one second remaining, it was North Carolina State that had the last laugh, and the last jama. ... The first basket of the second half not scored by one of the itty-bitty guards.

– Michael Wilbon, Washington Post

“I think I’d get nervous if we ever had the lead. I don’t know what we would do.”

– Valvano, describing the Cardiac Pack

N.C. State made its last-second magic work one more time, this time for the national championship.

– Joe Tiede, The News & Observer

It was the dunk heard around the college basketball world and beyond.

– David Scott, Charlotte Observer

The baskets had been stripped; Cozell McQueen even had come down from standing atop the one nearest Raleigh; Akeem Abdul Olajuwon had peeled himself off the floor after nearly being trampled by North Carolina State fans wearing candy-striped jackets and waving trombones and trumpets. The bizarre dream played on.

Basketball’s most accurate long-range shooter in recent weeks, Dereck Whittenburg, had ended his college career with an air ball, and was loving it. Of the 10 men on the court, the only one who could see the horrible, and heavenly, flight path of that 32-foot prayer was the hero of other State near-miracles.

If in the first game of the Atlantic Coast Conference tournament, Lorenzo Charles had not been unerring from the foul line in the final seconds against Wake Forest, State very likely would not have been in the NCAA tournament at all, let alone celebrating the championship.

– Ken Denlinger, Washington Post

“If we played them 20 times, I still don’t think they’d win but that one game. So it had to be destiny.”

– Clyde Drexler to ESPN in 2003

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