O'Koren, Langdon, Whittenburg highlight 2013 ACC Legends class
The former commissioner of the ACC, a pair of highly successful head coaches and one of the only four ACC players who earned first or second-team All-ACC honors in four consecutive seasons headline the 2013 ACC Men’s Basketball Legends Class announced Thursday by ACC Commissioner John Swofford.
The list includes former North Carolina star Mike O’Koren, former Duke star Trajan Langdon and former N.C. State star Dereck Whittenburg.
North Carolina’s O’Koren was one of the most versatile players in Tar Heel history who helped lead the Dean-Smith coached teams to four NCAA appearances and ACC championships in 1977 and 1979.
N.C. State’s Whittenburg was the author of the most famous pass/shot in NCAA Tournament history and a key member of the Jim Valvano-coached 1983 national champions.
Duke’s Langdon was a cog in the Blue Devils 1999 team which advanced to the NCAA national championship game.
Also on the team are:
— Former ACC Commissioner Gene Corrigan, who oversaw the ACC for a 10-year period when the conference captured three NCAA men’s basketball championships among 11 teams that earned berths to the NCAA’s Final Four.
— Georgia Tech All-America point guard Mark Price who was the focal point of the resurgence of the Bobby Cremins-coached Georgia Tech teams of the mid-1980s.
— Former Maryland head coach Gary Williams who led the Terrapins to the 2002 National Championships and to 14 NCAA Tournament appearances in his 22 seasons at College Park and Carl Tacy coached Wake Forest to six post-season appearances and 222 victories in 13 seasons.
— Boston College’s Gerry Ward who completed his career as the Eagles’ third-leading career scorer. Clemson’s Terrell McIntyre was a prolific point guard who three times earned All-ACC honors.
— Florida State’s Tharon Mayes who helped lead Florida State to its first back-to-back NCAA Tournament appearances. Miami’s Mike Wittman was a high-scoring forward for the record-setting Miami teams of the mid 1960s.
—Virginia’s Travis Watson who helped lead the Cavaliers to four consecutive post-season tournament appearances.
— Virginia Tech’s Ace Custis who led the Hokies to the 1995 NIT Championship and an appearance in the 1996 NCAA Tournament.
The Legends will be honored at the March 14-17 ACC Tournament in Greensboro..
2013 ACC LEGENDS
ACC — Gene Corrigan, ACC commissioner 1987-97.
Boston College — Gerry Ward, forward 1961-63.
Clemson — Terrell McIntyre, guard 1995-99.
Duke — Trajan Langdon, guard 1994-99.
Florida State — Tharon Mayes, guard 1988-90.
Georgia Tech — Mark Price, guard 1982-86.
Maryland — Gary Williams, guard 1964-67, head coach 1990-2011.
Miami — Mike Wittman, forward 1964-67.
North Carolina — Mike O’Koren, forward 1976-80.
N.C. State — Dereck Whittenburg, guard 1979-83.
Virginia — Travis Watson, forward 1999-03
Virginia Tech — Ace Custis, forward 1993-97.
Wake Forest — Carl Tacy, head coach 1973-85.
O’Koren (1977-80), one of the most versatile players in Tar Heel history, was the centerpiece of Dean Smith-coached North Carolina teams that captured ACC Championships in 1977 and 1979 and earned NCAA Tournament berths in each of his four varsity seasons, including a Final Four berth and NCAA Championship Game appearance in 1977. During his four seasons in Chapel Hill, he helped lead the Tar Heels to a 94-29 record. He is still the only UNC player to have recorded at least 1,500 points (1,765), 800 rebounds (815) and 300 assists (348) in his career. He also had 183 steals and shot 57.2 percent from the field for his career. O’Koren was a three-time first-team All-America for the Tar Heels after the 1978, 1979 and 1980 seasons. He earned first-team All-ACC honors in 1978 and 1980 and was named first-team All-ACC Tournament in 1977 and 1979. At his best in the big games, O’Koren had 18 points and 11 rebounds, scoring UNC’s final 10 points in a 71-63 win over Duke in the 1979 ACC Championship game. A first-round draft choice and the 6th overall pick in the 1980 NBA Draft by the New Jersey Nets, he played six seasons with the Nets and one with Washington Bullets before retiring with the Nets in 1988. In 407 NBA games he scored 3,355 points (8.2 avg.), had 1,391 rebounds (3.4 avg.) and 856 assists (2.1 avg.). A native Jersey City, N.J., he currently lives outside of New York City in the Township of Washington, N.J.
Langdon (1994-99), one of the most accurate long-range shooters in ACC history, started four seasons for the Blue Devils, missing only the 1995-96 campaign due to injury. He led Duke to four NCAA Tournament berths, helping the Blue Devils to the 1999 ACC Championship and to the championship game of the NCAA’s Final Four later that year. He was named a first-team NABC All-America in 1999 and second-team honors by the Sporting News and Associated Press. He was also named a 2nd-team All-America by The Sporting News in 1998. Langdon earned three first-team All-ACC selections in 1997, 1998 and 1999. An excellent student as well, he was three times named to the All-ACC Academic Basketball Team. Langdon still ranks 5th on the ACC’s career list for free throw percentage, making 86.2 percent of his charity tosses and is 4th in the ACC’s career three-point field goals and 7th in ACC history in career three-point field goal percentage, making 42.6 per cent of his long-range bonus bombs. A first-round selection by the Cleveland Cavaliers in the 1999 NBA Draft, Langdon became the first Alaskan to play in the NBA. He spent three seasons with Cleveland, and then played professionally for eight seasons in Europe, the last six with CSKA Moscow. He averaged 12.7 points per game over his eight seasons and was named the Euroleague Final Four MVP in 2008 while also earning first-team all-Euroleague honors twice and second-team accolades once. Langdon retired from professional basketball in June 2011 after helping CSKA to its ninth consecutive Russian League crown. He currently resides in Arlington, Va.
Whittenburg (1979-83), one of the key players on NC State’s 1983 National Championship team, is the author of the most famous missed shot in NCAA Tournament history. A three-year starter for the Wolfpack under legendary coach Jim Valvano, it was Whittenburg’s desperation heave with time running out that the late Lorenzo Charles grabbed and dunked for the winning basket in the Wolfpack’s historic 54-52 upset of top-ranked Houston to claim the 1983 national championship. A second-team All-ACC selection in 1982, Whittenburg was a likely first-team choice in 1983, but missed 14 games of the season with a foot fracture, only returning to play in State’s third-to-last regular season game. His return, though, helped spark the Wolfpack to a near-miraculous 10-game winning streak that saw them capture the ACC championship and the NCAA title with a series of last-minute heroics that earned the team the nickname “Cardiac Pack.” A four-year contributor at State, he played one season under former Wolfpack coach Norman Sloan and three for Valvano, helping lead the program to three NCAA Tournament appearances and an overall record of 82-41. He was named to the first-team All-ACC Tournament team in 1983, to the second team in 1982, and to the NCAA’s All-Final Four Team in 1983. An excellent outside shooter who also had excellent jumping ability, Whittenburg paired with Sidney Lowe to become one of the Wolfpack’s all-time best backcourts and he is still ranked 28th in career scoring (1,272) and 13th in career free throw percentage (.794). A third-round draft choice of the Phoenix Suns in the 1983 NBA draft, Whittenburg began his college coaching career as an assistant at State (1985-86). He then served as an assistant at George Mason (1987), Long Beach State (1988), again at NC State (1989-91), Colorado (1992-93), West Virginia (1994) and Georgia Tech (1995-99) before spending four years as head coach at Wagner College (2000-03) and six years at Fordham (2004-09). He has a 10-year head coaching record of 135-162 (.454). Whittenburg is a long-time board member for the “V” Foundation, the organization which raises funds for cancer research in memory of Valvano, and he is currently a game-day and studio analyst for ESPNU’s college basketball broadcasts. A native of Washington, D.C., where he played at DeMatha High School for the legendary Morgan Wootten, Whittenburg currently lives in New York City.