I loved to his story and how he ended up a Tiger. Being from Anderson he was always one of my favorite players. I remember one game where he drove the baseline And dunked the ball from behind the backboard. Amazing!!!!
I have to admit we used to say we went to basketball games to see the other teams sometimes in the 80’s. Got to see Ralph Sampson, Len Bias , and the UNC team with Jordan, Worthy and Perkins all play at Littlejohn. Some really great ball players.
We beat the UNC team you mentioned with Worthy, Jordan,
May 24, 2020, 9:24 AM
and Perkins at Littlejohn during the 1979-80 season. That same season we also beat Duke in OT 87-82. That game had the largest crowd ever at Littlejohn. The stairways from the bottom to the top were filled with students as the game was two days before classes started. The fire Marshall said never again. That was a great season, and was Clemson's only Final Eight NCAA team.
In those days the student seats went from the floor behind the Clemson bench to the top of the coliseum. We had a small group of four that would camp out the night before the games. I sat in the first row behind the Clemson bench every game for four seasons from the 1978-1979 through the 1981-1982 season. Great memories.
The most famous first row student was a guy names "Fulton". Those of you from those days will remember him. He was older than your average student, but he never missed a game.
Re: We beat the UNC team you mentioned with Worthy, Jordan,
May 24, 2020, 2:07 PM
Wasn't it Fulton who was chosen to take a half-court shot to win a car? (If you can call a Chevrolet Vega "a car.") I remember seeing him out there and thinking, "It's that guy who's always sitting behind the bench." And dang if he didn't make the shot!
Larry and I became friends while at Clemson As we were in a few classes together.. I enjoyed watching him play, and quite often he would choose me for pickup games at Fike (only because we were friends, not my abilities) At 6 ft, I played guard in these games and I remember Billy Williams was on the other team. I told Larry I wanted to guard Billy. He laughed and said go for it. First time down the court, I was determined to stay in front and be a pesky kind of defender. Welllllll - one quick move and Billy dunked the ball. Both teams and waiting players laughing. I then chose the other guard - much better suited. Lol. Billy was amazing. Anyway - Larry was as good a person as he was a player. Good times. So long ago. Seems like the blink of an eye.
It’s hard put my finger on it , but it’s not just Clemson , but basketball in general is not as exciting or as interesting as it was during the ‘70s and ‘ 80’s .
Even the teams that usually put “ talent laden “ teams on the floor are not as exciting .Sure , a Zion comes along and there’s a renewed excitement comes back . But , in general , games don’t seem to be all that exciting anymore .
Larry Nance played on possibly the best Basketball team ever at Clemson (beating #1 Duke and UNC). BUT arguably the best DUNK ever in Littlejohn was at the end of the last home game in 1976 (non-ACC in those days?) by Marvin Dickerson. Running full speed on a breakaway he left the floor before the Foul line (like Dr. J) and did a tomahawk DUNK that brought on a thunderous ovation from the crowd and a technical foul because dunking was still illegal. Wish we could get some of those great Tiger teams again.
Watch a game from that time - and then watch one from now. Not sure what happened. IMO - if today’s team played the 1980 ish team - the 80 team would win 95% of time. Was fun to watch. People came to the “crappy Littlejohn “. We simply did not know it was crappy until recent years when we were told as such. Teams well coached. Students (including me) lined up hours before the game to get seats. Clemson supported the team same as today.
Kind of boring compared to back then. How much is the style we play? How much is coaching? How much is recruiting? How much is the deterioration of talent? (Assuming you think talent has deteriorated - I do.)
It seems that many of us that are not CBB fans have been influenced by that era. Maybe our happy memories cloud our judgement. I personally think Basketball was just better then.
100% agree! Those (Bill Foster) teams attacked the basket and kicked the ball out for jump shots if the inside was not open. They played tough defense too. He recruited SC players as well. We did not know good we had it with Foster and Danny Ford, along with Wilhelm and Ibrahim...... We felt like we could beat any top ranked team that showed-up in Clemson in almost any sport; the way we feel about football and Dabo now!!!
I remember that 1980 team well. Undefeated in Littlejohn that season. The Duke team that we be featured Mike Gminski. The Maryland team that we beat had Albert King and Buck Williams. Clemson’s front court of Nance, Campbell, and Wyatt were each 6 foot 10. We made it to the elite eight where we got beat by UCLA.
I was at that game, and I remember the scene well. I think Dickerson knocked away a pass at the top of the opponents' key, and the ball and his momentum were heading right for the Clemson basket. He was all alone. The great thing was that everyone in the stands knew he was going to do it. As you say, dunking was still illegal, but it had already been approved to return the following year. It was the final couple of minutes in the last game of the season. We were well ahead, so it wasn't going to hurt to lose a few points. Everyone in attendance jumped to their feet in anticipation, and when he slammed the ball home, we all screamed in celebration of the joyous anarchy of the moment.
Besides all the great (at least, we thought so) players of the late '70s, I have two personal memories of CU basketball at that time. I was driving one day on the road between the parking lot and the Coliseum just when what seemed like the whole basketball team came up the incline from underneath the building to the road. Colin Abraham got in the road and waved for me to stop. He gave me some story about the coach telling them to be on the lookout for someone who had been vandalizing the building. Of course he was just having a laugh, but what I remember as I sat there in my school-bus-yellow Mustang II was Tree Rollins walking around my car, and all I could see of him was his knees.
While I was a student, I worked in the Communications Center for a couple of years. When Jefferson-Pilot would come to town to do a live game, they would hire us to help them set up--pulling cables from the truck to the floor, etc. During the games, while our boss, Al Littlejohn, usually sat at the table with the broadcasters, we students would help the cameramen, primarily making sure the cables were out of the way as they rolled those giant cameras around the floor. (I always wanted to work the crow's nest, but never got to do that.) But what I remember most was that during halftime, we got to go into the little room just to the left of the tunnel entrance. I guess it was the press room, but it had tables stacked with food. I particularly recall large, thick submarine sandwiches and some delicious blondies. I remember Jim Phillips being in there, "holding forth." He was a great broadcaster, but I thought he was kind of a jerk, from my brief encounter with him. Big personalities can come across that way.
In high school Larry was 6’2” soph. junior year 6’4” senior year 6’6” and could handle the ball would always put on dunk show in practice and say Dr.J Dr. J. Back in the day we would get the lead spread the floor and put Larry in the middle handling the ball no big man in the state could guard him one on one. Back in 77 there was a fuel shortage and school district shut the gyms down for a week so we played a game at the playhouse small gym owned by Wellington Mill Bill Foster came that night to watch Larry play. Still no offer then after the season a lot of AC, Clemson and high school kids would play pick up games at A.C. one night Foster was there Larry took the ball down the lane went up did a 360 in the air and slammed over Moose Cambell, Bill Foster signed Larry the next day his comment you don’t teach a kid to do that that is natural ability Larry was 6’8” by the time he arrived on campus