Greensboro, NC—Seven former All-Americans, six National Basketball Association first-round draft picks and three second-round selections, two members of the ACC’s 50th Anniversary Team and a total of 94 years of experience in the NBA are represented among the 12 Atlantic Coast Conference Basketball Legends announced today by Commissioner John D. Swofford.
Led by two of the best rebounders in ACC history in former North Carolina All-American Billy Cunningham (1963-65) and Maryland All-American Buck Williams (1979-81) this year’s ACC Basketball Legends Class contains one legend from each ACC school and includes some of the premier rebounders and long-distance shooters in conference history.
Joining Cunningham and Williams among this year’s Legends are a quintet of former standouts who earned fame outside the ACC in Boston College point guard Dana Barros (1986-89, Big East), Florida State All-American forward George McCloud (1986-89, Metro), Miami All-American forward Dick Hickox (1959-61, Independent), NC State forward Bobby Speight (1951-53, Southern) and Virginia Tech All-American guard Dell Curry (1983-86, Metro)
Completing this year’s class are Clemson All-ACC point guard Chris Whitney (1992-93), Duke All-American forward Mark Alarie (1983-86), Georgia Tech All-ACC point guard Drew Barry (1993-96), Virginia’s Curtis Staples (1995-98), who completed his career as the NCAA’s all-time three-point field goal shooter and Wake Forest’s versatile multi-sport standout Rusty LaRue (1993-96).
The Legends will also be presented to the Tournament crowd at halftime of the first semifinal game on Saturday, March 11.
Cunningham, nicknamed the “Kangeroo Kid” for his jumping ability, led the ACC in rebounding for three consecutive seasons during the 1963-65 seasons and was named ACC Player of the Year as a senior. For his career at North Carolina, he averaged 24.8 points and 15.4 rebounds. He was named to the ACC’s 50th Anniversary Basketball Team in 2003, and, after an 11-year all-star career in the NBA, he was named one of the Top 50 players in NBA history in 1997. He played on a world championship team for the Philadelphia 76’ers in 1967, and then coached Philadelphia to the NBA title in 1983.
Williams, who opted for the NBA after his junior season, led the Conference in rebounding as a freshman in 1979, finished third as a sophomore and second as a junior and is currently the No. 4 all-time rebounder at Maryland after averaging 10.9 boards for his career. An all-American selection as a junior, Williams was the third overall draft pick in the 1981 NBA draft and went on to enjoy an 18-year NBA career.
Barros, who still ranks second on the all-time Boston College scoring list with a total of 2,342 points, was a three-time All-Big East selection during the 1987 through 1989 seasons and was the Big East Rookie of the Year in 1986. In a 119-game collegiate career, he averaged 19.7 points and 3.7 assists per game. Selected by the Seattle Supersonics in the first round of the 1989 NBA draft, he enjoyed a 13-year career in the NBA.
Whitney, who played just two seasons (1992-93) at Clemson, still completed his career as the Tigers’ all-time leader in three-point field goals with 167 three-pointers in a 59-game career. He was named a third-team All-ACC selection in 1993 and also earned second-team All-ACC Tournament honors that year. A second-round draft pick of the San Antonio Spurs in 1993, Whitney recently completed an 11-year professional career in the NBA.
Alarie, a pivotal member of Duke’s 1986 Final Four team, earned third-team All-America honors that year and was also named to All-ACC teams in 1984, 1985 and 1986. He still ranks fifth on Duke’s all-time scoring list and 21st on the all-time ACC scoring list with 2,136 career points. He helped lead the Blue Devils to three consecutive NCAA Tournament appearances in 1984, 1985 and 1986. A first round draft pick by the Denver Nuggets, he played five seasons in the NBA, mainly with the Washington Bullets.
McCloud, a finalist for the Wooden Award as a senior in 1989, earned third team All-America honors for the Seminoles that year, averaging 22.8 points per game. A two-time All-Metro Conference selection in 1988 and 1989, he was named the Metro Conference Player of the Year in his final season. He led Florida State to NCAA Tournament appearances in 1988 and 1989 and was the first lottery selection in Florida State’s history, being tabbed 7th overall in the first round of the 1989 NBA draft by the Indiana Pacers.
Barry, one of a great line of Georgia Tech point guards, ranks eighth in ACC history with 724 career assists. He is just the third player in Conference history—after North Carolina’s Phil Ford and Wake Forest’s Tyrone Bogues—to lead the ACC in assists for three straight seasons. A second-team All-ACC selection in 1996, he and his brother Jon, who played for the Yellow Jackets in 1991-92, are only the third brother combination in ACC history to each score at least 1,000 or more career points. He and his dad, former Miami All-America Rick Barry, also become the first father-son combination to be honored as ACC Tournament Legends as the elder Barry was feted as Miami’s Legend last year.
Hickox, a second team All-America selection in 1960, was Miami’s first All-America honoree. The sharp shooting guard still ranks seventh on the Hurricanes’ all-time scoring list and led Miami to its first NCAA Tournament appearance and its first finish in the Top 10 as Miami finished 10th in the 1960 final Associated Press poll. For his three-year career, Hickox helped lead Miami to an overall 61-18 record while he averaged 19.4 points per game.
Speight, a two-time All-Southern Conference selection in 1952 and 1953, earned third team All-America honors in 1952 and second-team in 1953. Speight still ranks fourth on NC State’s career rebounding list with 1,057 career rebounds and was only the third NC State player to score over 500 points in a single season. He was a leader on Wolfpack teams that posted a three-year record of 80-23, two NCAA appearances and two Southern Conference Championships.
Staples is currently the all-time three-point field goal shooter in ACC and NCAA history, having made a total of 413 three-pointers during his four-year career at Virginia. A third-team all-ACC selection in 1998, he started 97 of 122 total games during his college career and, as a senior, led the nation in three-point field goals per game and averaged 18.1 points per game. He led the ACC in three-point field goals per game in all four seasons of his career, becoming only the third player in ACC history to lead the conference in a statistical category for four consecutive years.
Curry, who was the Metro Conference Player of the Year in 1986, still ranks second on Virginia Tech’s all-time scoring list with 2,389 career points and completed his career as Tech’s all-time scoring leader. He was a first-team All-America selection in 1986 and was a three-time All-Metro Conference selection during his career. He still holds at least eight school records and was a first-round draft choice of the Utah Jazz in the 1986 NBA draft. He went on to a successful 17-year NBA career, 10 of which with the Charlotte Hornets.
LaRue was a key contributor to Wake Forest’s ACC championship teams in 1995 and 1996, lettering for three consecutive years from 1994 through 1996. An excellent shooter, LaRue led the Demon Deacons in free throw percentage in 1996, making 88 percent of his charity tosses. He played five years in the NBA, three seasons with the Chicago Bulls including their NBA Championship Year of 2000. A multi-sport standout, LaRue still holds five ACC single-game football records as a quarterback for the Deacons and set also an NCAA mark for most passing yards in three consecutive games.