Michael Jeffrey Jordan is considered by many to be the greatest basketball player of all time – the standard by which the game’s best players for decades to come will be judged.
Born in Brooklyn, N.Y., on Feb. 17, 1963, as the fourth of five children to James and Deloris Jordan, the family soon moved to Wilmington. At Laney High School, as a sophomore, he decided to try out for the varsity team but was cut because he was raw and undersized. The following summer, he grew four inches and practiced tirelessly. The hard work paid off as he averaged 25 points per game in his last two seasons and was named a McDonald’s All-American as a senior.
Rodney Rogers came to Wake Forest from Durham Hillside High School in the fall of 1990 as one of the most decorated recruits in Demon Deacon basketball history. He was a Parade All-America third-team selection after averaging 28.9 points and 13 rebounds per game as a high school senior, where his games were considered a “must-see” by long-time residents and sports enthusiasts in the Bull City.
The accolades were endless for the powerfully-built forward with a surprisingly silky smooth left-handed jump shot. Rogers was a first-team all-state pick and named the state high school Player of the Year by the Associated Press following his senior season. He was named Mr. Basketball by the Charlotte Observer and was selected as the Gatorade Player of the Year in North Carolina. In the McDonald’s All-America game, he scored 17 points in helping the East beat the West, 115-104.
Rogers made an impact on the Demon Deacons right from the outset of his freshman season. He averaged 16.3 points and 7.9 rebounds in earning ACC Rookie of the Year honors in 1991. He was also named the national Freshman of the Year. As a sophomore, Rogers averaged 20.5 points and 8.5 rebounds per game. He was a first team All-ACC pick in 1992, the only sophomore so honored.
The following year, as a junior, he was a unanimous first team All-ACC pick, the ACC Player of the Year and an All-America selection after leading the ACC in scoring at 21.2 points per game. He also became the only player in Wake Forest history to earn both ACC Rookie of the Year (1991) and Player of the Year (1993) honors.
For his career, Rogers averaged 19.3 points and 7.9 rebounds, and he scored in double figures in 86 of 89 games including the final 66 contests of his career. He was part of three NCAA Tournament teams, leading the Demon Deacons to the second round in 1991 and to the Sweet 16 in 1993. Further, he was honored with consecutive Arnold Palmer Awards in 1992 and 1993.
With the support of coach Dave Odom, Rogers chose to turn pro after his junior season and was a first-round draft pick (ninth overall player selected) of the Denver Nuggets. He spent two seasons in Denver before he was traded to the Los Angeles Clippers following the conclusion of the 1995 season. He spent four years with the Clippers before signing with the Phoenix Suns in 1999. A year later, he was honored as the NBA’s Sixth Man of the Year.
In 2002, Rogers was traded to the Boston Celtics. He signed with the New Jersey Nets in August of 2002 and helped the club advance to the NBA Finals. His final year in the NBA came during the 2004-05 season, which he split between the New Orleans Hornets and the Philadelphia 76ers.
Rogers had his No. 54 jersey retired by Wake Forest in 1996. In 2004, he was inducted into the Wake Forest University Sports Hall of Fame.
Raleigh native Randy Denton arguably is one of the best basketball players ever to come out of the state of North Carolina. He stood apart in numerous sports as a youth, including basketball, football, baseball and track. And in addition to starring in basketball at Enloe High School, he also played football and ran track.
But it was on the basketball court where the 6-foot-10 center stood tallest – both literally and figuratively. A high school All-America selection who has had his jersey retired, he was a star in the classroom as well, being recognized as a three-year member of the National Honor Society.
More than 200 schools recruited Denton during his junior and senior years. But with all of the excitement also came abundant sadness, as his father died in 1966 and thus wasn’t able to watch his son rise to prominence. Denton chose to attend Duke to play for Vic Bubas – in part because of his father’s respect for the Hall of Fame coach and the university.
Denton went on to become an All-ACC performer in each of this three varsity seasons. Armed with a soft touch and a nose for the ball, he led the Blue Devils in scoring and rebounding all three years and as a senior in 1970-71 was named All-America. He started every game of his Blue Devil career, averaging 19.7 points – fifth all-time – and 12.7 rebounds per game, which still ranks as No. 1 in Duke’s storied basketball history.
Back before it became a recognized achievement and part of basketball vernacular, Denton recorded an incredible 58 “double-doubles” – games in which he amassed double figures in both points and rebounds. And six times in his career he reached the rarest of air with games in which he totaled at least 20 points and 20 rebounds.
Drafted in the fourth round by the NBA’s Boston Celtics in the summer of 1971, Denton instead chose to sign with the ABA’s Carolina Cougars, which split most of its home games among Charlotte, Greensboro and Raleigh. He went on to play professionally for six years combined in the ABA and NBA, averaging 11.5 points and 8.6 rebounds per game. He spent two more years playing in the Italian League.
Denton, who graduated from Duke with a degree in psychology in 1971, was inducted into the Duke University Sports Hall of Fame in 1991. Ten years later, he was inducted into the prestigious Duke Hall of Honor.
An outstanding athlete in every sport he touched while growing up in Pittsburgh, Eddie Biedenbach starred in basketball, baseball and football at Edgewood High School. He was signed to a basketball scholarship at North Carolina State University, where he initially played on the freshman team coached by former Wolfpack All-America Lou Pucillo. He played for three Hall of Fame coaches (Everett Case, Press Maravich and Norm Sloan) in his three varsity seasons and also played baseball for legendary Wolfpack coach Vic Sorrell.
Biedenbach quickly became a fan favorite at Reynolds Coliseum, known as a speedy defensive guard who had uncanny hand and foot quickness, great ballhandling skills and an innate knack for the game. Sportswriters bestowed upon him two nicknames – the “Pittsburgh Pickpocket” and the “Pittsburgh Pirate” – due to his propensity to steal the basketball.
His N.C. State varsity career included two years as the team’s leading scorer. He also was a two-time All-ACC selection and a two-time All-ACC Tournament selection. As a senior, he was named a preseason co-captain; at season’s end he was honored as of the Wolfpack’s MVP. And in 2003, when N.C. State voted on its all-time men’s basketball teams, Biedenbach was voted Player of the Decade for the 1960s.
Drafted by four different pro sports teams, Biedenbach was first selected by the St. Louis Hawks (drafted after his redshirt senior year, which he missed due to major back surgery). Three teams drafted Eddie following his basketball senior year – the NBA’s Los Angeles Lakers, the ABA’s New York Nets, and the NFL’s Dallas Cowboys. He played briefly with the Lakers and the Phoenix Suns before returning to N.C. State to begin what became a long and rewarding coaching career.
As an assistant coach he was instrumental in recruiting the players that brought N.C. State national championships in 1974 and 1983, and he also served as an assistant to Hugh Durham when they led the Bulldogs to the 1983 Final Four.
As a head coach, Biedenbach took Davidson of the Southern Conference from last place to first in just three years. Later, in winning a school-record 256 games – most in Big South Conference history – in 17 seasons at UNC Asheville, he led the Bulldogs to a combined nine regular season and tournament championships. Four times he was named Big South Coach of the Year.
Biedenbach’s contributions to college basketball and campus life extend off the court as well. In 20 years as a head coach, his teams posted an impressive 95 percent graduation rate. And his endless energy and engaging personality have led to more than $5 million being raised for student scholarships and facility upgrades.
His years and many successes in myriad sports were recognized by his Pittsburgh roots in 1998 when he was inducted into Pennsylvania’s East Boros Sports Hall of Fame. He also was inducted into the Western North Carolina Sports Hall of Fame in 2014.
Rosenbluth averaged 27.9 points and 8.6 rebounds per game during the regular season and the Helms Hall of Fame named him Collegiate Player of the Year over Chamberlain [more…]
A native of Wallace who excelled as a multi-sport star at Wallace-Rose Hill High School, M.L. Carr was one of the greatest basketball players in Guilford College history [more…]
One of the truly magical dribblers and shooters in basketball history, Fred “Curly” Neal embraced the imagination of fans all over the world, playing in more than 6,000 games in 97 countries as a key member of the World Famous Harlem Globetrotters. Number 22 played for 22 seasons in the red, white and blue, from 1963 to 1985.“Curly’s” became just the fifth Globetrotter to have his jersey number retired by the team on Feb. 15, 2008. “Curly” is also one of only 27 people honored in the Harlem Globetrotters’ prestigious “Legends” ring, presented to those who have made a major contribution to the success and the development of the Globetrotters organization. After an outstanding career at James B. Dudley High School in Greensboro, N.C., “Curly” moved on to Johnson C. Smith University in Charlotte, N.C., where he averaged over 23 points per game and led his team to the CIAA title his senior year. [more…]
After a sterling high school career in Benson, Beasley played women’s basketball at NC State from 1977-1980. She scored 2,367 points, and remains first in NC State history and 3rd in ACC history. Her career 1,245 rebounds is first in NC State history, and 3rd in ACC history. Beasley is second in ACC history with 1,017 field goals. She made the All-ACC Tournament teams in 1978, ’79, and ’80 and was MVP of the1980 ACC Tournament, won by NC State. Beasley earned Kodak All-America honors also. [more…]
Brennan was a member of UNC’s 1957 NCAA basketball championship team and its leading rebounder. He led the ACC in scoring (21.3) and rebounding (11.7) his senior year (1958). Brennan’s honors include Final Four 1st team (1957), ACC Player of the Year, Dixie Classic MVP, All-America 1st team. He ranks third in career rebounds per game (10.5) at UNC. [more…]
After earning All-America honors at Wingate Junior College in 1954, Floyd became a basketball legend at Furman. He led the NCAA in scoring his junior and senior seasons and was named a first-team All-America both years. Known for his long-range shooting, he averaged 32.1 points per game and is one of 4 Furman basketball players to have his jersey retired. Floyd scored a career high 67 points in 1955 and finished with over 40 points in 15 games with Furman. The Thomasville native died in 2000. [more…]
All-America and All-ACC point guard for N.C. State in late 1950s. One of smallest basketball players ever to make All-America. Led Wolfpack to ACC championship in 1959 and was named ACC Player of the Year [more…]
Outstanding basketball player at Wilmington’s Williston High School. Went on to become a star attraction for the Harlem Globetrotters and played throughout the world. [more…]
All-America basketball star at N.C. State, leading Wolfpack to four Southern Conference championships, one NCAA Final Four and two Dixie Classic titles. Was Wolfpack’s second highest scorer of all time in 1981. [more…]
Basketball legend at Western Carolina from 1965-1968. Scored 50+ points six times and had 60 against Atlantic Christian. Led the nation in scoring in 1968 with 36.2 average. Was first black player at a predominantly white college in the Southeast. [more…]
All-America and All-ACC basketball forward at UNC-Chapel Hill. ACC Player of the Year, first-round pick by Syracuse in 1960 NBA draft and averaged 17 points for three seasons. In 1985 selected by national coaches on Sports Illustrated’s Silver Anniversary All-America team. [more…]
Star in basketball and tennis at Durham Hillside High before going to Maryland where he was All-ACC three years in a row in basketball and twice winner of ACC singles tennis title. Played with six different NBA teams. Coached Spurs and 76ers. [more…]
Two-time All-America, All-ACC center led N.C. State to three straight ACC championships. Scored 1,761 points in three seasons. ACC’s No. 2 career rebounder with 1,598. Scored 55 points against William & Mary in 1955. [more…]
Duke coach Vic Bubas called him “the most complete basketball player I ever coached.” On Duke’s NCAA Final Four teams (1964 and 1966). Averaged 14.8 points in 11 NBA seasons, six with Baltimore. On 1966 NBA All-Rookie team and two NBA All-Star teams. [more…]
All-America basketball player at Appalachian, led team to two conference titles. NAIA’s MVP in early 1940s. Spent five seasons in NBA with St. Louis, Syracuse and Baltimore. Third best NBA free-throw shooter in 1951 (.850) [more…]
Kinston native played on two Boston Celtics NBA championship teams in an 11-year career and NBA Playoffs MVP (1981). First round NBA pick with career 12.5 point and 54.6 FG career averages. Led UNC Charlotte to NIT finals (1976) and NCAA Final Four (1967). [more…]
Shelby native called by many the best basketball player in ACC history. Led N.C. State to NCAA title in 1974, and 79-7 record over three seasons. Twice named national college Player of the Year. Played on All-Star teams six times in ABA and NBA. Member of national basketball Hall of Fame. [more…]
Basketball star at Smith High in Greensboro who later played one year at UNC-Chapel Hill. Led Tar Heels to 1972 Final Four. NBA player-of-year in 1975 and league’s leading scorer three times. Played 14 years in pros with seven different teams. [more…]
Rocky Mount native led his high school basketball team to state title. ACC Rookie of the Year at Maryland (1979). Scored 16,000 points and had 13,000 career rebounds in 17-year NBA career [more…]
Clinton native who starred on the basketball court at Davidson in the early 1960s, then had outstanding career as coach (1974-90) and AD (1990-95) at Virginia [more…]
Basketball standout at Durham High, N.C. State, UNC-Chapel Hill and professionally with Washington Caps and Boston Celtics. Guided Wake Forest to two ACC titles in 8 years. Reached Final Four in 1962. Twice ACC coach-of-year. [more…]
Gastonia native and MVP in the 1982 NCAA Final Four with national champion UNC-Chapel Hill. A first round NBA draft pick who spent 12 seasons with LA Lakers, scoring 16,320 points in 926 games, and earning all-star honors seven times. [more…]
Greensboro native who gained All-America basketball honors at Minnesota. Played in the NBA with Hawks and Lakers. All-Pro and played in several All-Star games. Averaged 20 points per game for 13 seasons in the NBA. [more…]
All-America guard at NC State and member of three Atlantic Coast Conference championship teams. Made 27 straight free throws, including 16 against Wake Forest. Averaged 18 points per game in his Wolfpack career from 1954-56. [more…]
Outstanding basketball career at UNC-Chapel Hill. Earned All-ACC honors in 1974. No. 1 pro draft choice. Stalwart defensive player with Denver of the ABL and Philadelphia 76ers of NBA for 13 years. Made NBA all-defensive team 8 times. [more…]
Basketball All-America at Duke and member of Gold Medal winning Olympic team in 1964. Scored over 13,000 points while with three NBA teams. Selected to three NBA All-Star teams. Had successful tenure as coach at UNC-Charlotte. [more…]
Finished outstanding basketball career at North Carolina College in 1957 before moving to the NBA where for 12 years he was a clutch shooter for the Boston Celtics. Played in five All-Star Games. Inducted into National Basketball HOF in 1984. [more…]
All-ACC basketball guard at Wake Forest in 1960s, winning two ACC titles and reaching NCAA Final Four once. Later achieved acclaim as a basketball television broadcaster, first in the ACC and later as analyst for NBC and CBS. [more…]
Member of the Hanes Hosiery 3-time national champion basketball team and 5-time All-America 1950-54). Captain of 1951 All-America team. Teague Award winner and member of the NC Softball HOF and AAU HOF. [more…]
Black Mountain native earned All-America honors as a UNC-Chapel Hill basketball player and led the ACC in scoring and rebounding in 1986. Number one draft pick in 1986 by Cleveland. Cavs all-time leading scorer and top five in nine other categories. [more…]
A Pineville native who posted a 15.7 scoring average at UNC-Chapel Hill. Earned All-ACC and All-America honors. Member of 1976 Gold Medal Olympic team. NBA Rookie-of-Year in 1978 and six-time All-Star in 11 years with Phoenix. Scored 19,521 NBA points. [more…]
Star athlete at Rocky Mount and All-America at UNC-Chapel Hill. Had 18.6 scoring average in 123 games for Tar Heels. ACC Player-of-Year 1978. First-round draft choice in 1978. NBA Rookie-of-Year 1979. Assistant coach of Tar Heels. [more…]
Member of Hanes Hosiery basketball team which won three consecutive national championships and 102 straight games in the mid 1950s. Basketball All-America teams from 1952-54. Teague Award winner and member NC Softball and AAU HOF. [more…]
A two-time basketball All-America at Duke and the 1979 ACC Player of the Year. Still the Blue Devils career rebound leader. Played 7 seasons with the New Jersey Nets and ended his NBA career with Charlotte. [more…]
First Wake Forest All-America basketball player and twice Player-of-Year in ACC. Played two years in Southern Conference and two in ACC. Career records of 2,587 points and 1,802 rebounds are still standing. Played two years in NBA with Boston Celtics [more…]
New Bern native and twice an All-America basketball star at University of Indiana. Member of the 1960 gold medal winning U.S. Olympic team. Had a 13-year pro career, including selection to four NBA All-Star teams. Scored 20.941 points in the NBA. [more…]
Newland native was All-America center on N.C. State’s NCAA championship basketball team. Averaged 19 points and 12.7 rebounds in 84 games. Twice named MVP in ACC Tournament. Member of 1972 U.S. Olympic team and a seven-year pro. [more…]
The second All-America basketball player in history at UNC-Chapel Hill, earning the honors three consecutive years, 1924-25-26, when the White Phantoms put together a three-year record of 61-10. National Player-of-Year in 1926 [more…]