GREENSBORO, N.C. (theACC.com) – Fourteen former standout players and an inspirational national championship coach headline this year’s class of Atlantic Coast Conference Basketball Legends presented by New York Life.
The Legends will be recognized during the 2017 New York Life ACC Tournament, which will be held March 7-11 at Barclays Center in Brooklyn, New York.
The 2017 ACC Legends Class:
Troy Bell, Boston College
Edward Scott, Clemson
Shelden Williams, Duke
Tim Pickett, Florida State
Matt Harpring, Georgia Tech
Rodney McCray, Louisville
Wayne Beckner, Miami
Antawn Jamison, North Carolina
Jim Valvano, NC State
Gary Brokaw, Notre Dame
Curtis Aiken, Pitt
Pearl Washington, Syracuse
Junior Burrough, Virginia
Bobby Beecher, Virginia Tech
Josh Howard, Wake Forest
This year’s ACC Legends class includes two individual that were integral parts of NCAA Championship teams, two National Players of the Year, one National Defensive Player of the Year, four conference Players of the Year and two ACC Tournament MVPs.
A capsule look at each member of the 2017 ACC Men’s Basketball Legends Class is below.
Troy Bell, Boston College (1999-2003) – Bell, who finished his collegiate career as Boston College's career scoring leader with 2,632 points, earned Associated Press All-America second team honors in his senior season. He also captured Big East Player of the Year honors and USBWA District I Player of the Year honors his senior year, when he won the Big East scoring title and finished with a 27.8 points per game average in conference contests. His league scoring average his final season set a Big East single-season record, shattering the 27.4 points per game mark set by Seton Hall's Dan Callandrillo in 1981-82. A native of Minneapolis, Bell was selected with the 16th overall pick of the 2003 NBA Draft by the Boston Celtics. Bell's selection marked the highest selection of a Boston College player since Dana Barros was taken by Seattle with the 16th pick in the 1989 NBA Draft.
Edward Scott, Clemson (1999-2003) – Scott earned first-team All-ACC honors as a senior in 2003 and third-team All-ACC accolades in 2002, establishing himself as one of the nation’s leading point guards. The Eastover, South Carolina, native ranks second in Clemson history with 595 career assists and was selected to the school’s 25-member all-time team that was announced in 2011. Scott finished his senior season ranking third in the ACC in scoring (17.7 ppg) and fifth in assists (161). He led the ACC and was third nationally with a Clemson-record 7.93 assists per game as a junior. He finished his collegiate career with 1,226 points and 433 rebounds while starting 109 of the 112 games in which he appeared as a Tiger.
Shelden Williams, Duke (2002-06) – The 6-foot-9, 250-pound Williams graduated as Duke’s all-time leader in career rebounds (1,262) and blocked shots (422). The Forest Park, Oklahoma, native set a Duke single-season record with 122 blocked shots as a junior en route to capturing the first of his two National Defensive Player of the Year awards. He then broke his own record the following year by blocking 137 shots. Williams’ junior season also saw him become the first player under head coach Mike Krzyzewski to average a double-double (15.5 points, 11.2 rebounds), and he did so again as a senior (18.8 points, 10.7 rebounds). Williams ended his collegiate career as the first player in NCAA history to register 1,750 points, 1,250 rebounds, 400 blocked shots and 150 steals in a career. The fifth pick in the 2006 NBA Draft by the Atlanta Hawks, Williams spent six years in the NBA and currently works as a scout for the Brooklyn Nets. Duke retired Williams’ jersey number (23) on January 8, 2007.
Tim Pickett, Florida State (2002-04) – A first-team All-ACC selection as a senior, Pickett is remembered as one of the most exciting players in Florida State men's basketball history and the preeminent building block in head coach Leonard Hamilton's mission of making the Seminoles an elite college basketball program. Pickett joined All-American Bob Sura (1994) as only the second Florida State player to earn All-ACC first-team honors when he was selected in 2004. Pickett was a second-team All-ACC selection in 2003 and was a two-time All-ACC Defensive Team selection. A star in the junior college ranks before enrolling at FSU, Pickett averaged 16.7 points per game over his two years as a Seminole. At the time of his graduation, he ranked fourth in school history with 194 career 3-point shots made and third in school history with 529 career 3-point shots attempted. A second-round pick in the 2004 NBA Draft by the Charlotte Hornets, Pickett continued playing basketball for almost a decade in Europe and China.
Matt Harpring, Georgia Tech (1994-98) – Harpring joins Mark Price as the only two Georgia Tech players to be named to the All-ACC first team three times. He was named to All-America teams by seven different organizations as a senior, as well as a finalist for both the Naismith and Wooden Awards. His number “15” was retired by the school during the final home game of his senior year. Harpring finished his career as the second leading scorer (2,225 points) and third leading rebounder (997) in Georgia Tech annals, and he is widely considered one of the hardest working players in college basketball history. He remains the Yellow Jackets’ all-time leader in free throws made and attempted. Harpring was named an Academic All-American twice and earned NCAA and ACC postgraduate scholarships. Harpring was selected by the Orlando Magic in the first round (15th pick) of the 1998 NBA draft. Named to the 1998-99 NBA All-Rookie first team, Harpring went on to play 11 years in the NBA and scored more than 12,000 career points.
Rodney McCray, Louisville (1980-83) – A starter on the University of Louisville’s 1980 NCAA Championship team, McCray is one of just four Cardinal players to surpass both 1,000 career points (1,247) and rebounds (1,029). He helped Louisville to a combined 109-26 record and three NCAA Final Four appearances in four seasons, starting 132 consecutive games. The 1982-83 Metro Conference Player of the Year, McCray was the third player taken in the 1983 NBA Draft and played 10 seasons in the NBA with the Houston Rockets, Sacramento Kings, Dallas Mavericks and Chicago Bulls. He was named to the Final Four All-Decade Team of the 1980s. He is one of a select group of former Louisville players with honored jerseys hanging in the KFC Yum! Center and was voted as one of the top 10 players in Cardinal history in a recent fan poll. He was a member of the 1980 U.S. Olympic team, although the U.S. did not compete that year due to a boycott over the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan. McCray, who is from Mt. Vernon, New York, currently resides near Houston.
Wayne Beckner, Miami (1962-65) – Beckner served as the Hurricanes’ team captain for both the 1963-64 and 1964-65 seasons. The 6-foot-5 Flora, Ind., native finished his collegiate career with 960 career points, 386 field goals made and 538 rebounds. Beckner was a career 83 percent free-throw shooter, and his Miami tenure included a game in which he connected on 18 field goal attempts (versus Tampa in 1965) and another in which he pulled down 24 rebounds (versus Rollins in 1963). Beckner averaged 18.3 points per game and 8.2 rebounds per game for the 1964-65 season, helping to lead the Hurricanes to a 22-4 record. The Hurricanes earned postseason appearances in the NIT in both Beckner’s sophomore and junior seasons.
Antawn Jamison, North Carolina (1995-98) – Jamison was the unanimous National Player of the Year in 1998, when he also became the second Tar Heel and third player in ACC history to be named ACC Player of the Year, ACC Tournament MVP, NCAA Regional MVP and National Player of the Year in the same season. Jamison averaged 22.2 points and 10.5 rebounds in 1998, the first double-double by a Tar Heel since Mitch Kupchak in 1976. He was voted the 1998 ACC Male Athlete of the Year. The Charlotte, North Carolina, native was the first player in ACC history to earn first-team All-ACC honors as a freshman, sophomore and junior. He led UNC to ACC Tournament titles and Final Fours in 1997 and 1998. Despite playing just three college seasons, Jamison still ranks sixth at UNC in career rebounds with 1,027 and eighth in scoring with 1,974 points. He played in the NBA All-Star Game in 2005 and 2008 and spent a total of 16 years in the league. Jamison is one of only 40 players in NBA history to score at least 20,000 career points (20,042).
Jim Valvano, NC State (1980-90) – An ultimate motivator and master of in-game adjustments, Valvano and his underdog Wolfpack – led by the senior trio of Sidney Lowe, Thurl Bailey and Derek Whittenburg – captured the imaginations of basketball fans everywhere during their improbable march to the 1983 NCAA Championship. The national title followed an almost equally storybook-like ACC Tournament in which NC State took home the championship trophy following an overtime win over fifth-ranked and defending NCAA champion North Carolina in the semifinals, followed by a win over No. 2 Virginia and three-time National Player of the Year Ralph Sampson the following day. In 1987, Valvano led the sixth-seeded Wolfpack to another ACC Tournament crown, engineering a postseason turnaround that again defied the odds. Valvano, who compiled a 209-114 record in 10 seasons at NC State, later became a leader in the fight against cancer before the disease claimed his life in 1993. The Jimmy V Foundation, which he co-founded prior to his death, has awarded over $170 million in cancer research grants nationwide and has grown to become one of the premier supporters of cutting-edge cancer research funds.
Gary Brokaw, Notre Dame (1972-74) – A native of New Brunswick, New Jersey, Brokaw starred for the early Fighting Irish teams coached by Digger Phelps. The 6-foot-4 guard earned third-team All-America honors in 1974 and scored 1,001 points in 58 games over his two-year varsity career. He shot 56 percent from the floor in his final season, in which he averaged 17.1 points per game. Brokaw played a leading role in the Fighting Irish’s 71-70 upset of No. 1 UCLA in January of 1974, which snapped the Bruins’ historic NCAA-record 88-game win streak. Brokaw led all scorers with 25 points, shooting 10-of-16 from the floor. Brokaw was selected by the Milwaukee Bucks as the No. 18 overall pick in the 1974 NBA Draft, and he went on to play three seasons professionally before entering the coaching ranks. In addition to a head coaching stint at Iona, he returned to Notre Dame as Phelps’ assistant and also served as the NBA’s director of basketball operations (1991–95) and an assistant coach for the Charlotte Bobcats.
Curtis Aiken, Pitt (1983-87) – The first McDonald’s High School All-American to sign with Pitt, Aiken finished his career with 1,200 points in 120 career games (82 starts), while helping the Panthers to 75 wins and four postseason appearances. As a senior, the Buffalo, New York, native captained Pitt to a 25-8 record, a co-Big East regular season championship and an NCAA Tournament bid. Pitt’s 25 wins matched a school record at the time. He averaged 14.2 points per game in his final season, while going 46-of-117 (.393) from 3-point distance in the first year of the 3-point shot in college basketball. Aiken’s top game came Dec. 29, 1986, when he dropped 37 points in a semifinal win over Arkansas in the Rainbow Classic. He was a three-time MVP of the Golden Triangle Classic, as well as the MVP of the 1986 Rainbow Classic and the 1985 Sugar Bowl Tournament. Aiken was also Sports Illustrated and The Sporting News National Player of the Week during his junior season. He holds second-team honors on Pitt’s All-Centennial Team announced in February of 2006.
Pearl Washington, Syracuse (1983-86) – A standout point guard on three of head coach Jim Boeheim’s teams of the mid-1980s, Washington established a lasting legacy during a collegiate career in which he tallied 1,490 career points, a total that still ranks 25th on the school's list. He led the Orange in scoring as a junior, averaging 17.3 points per outing. He distributed 199 assists as a freshman, the top rookie mark at Syracuse, and ranks fourth in career assists with 631. He led the team in assists each of his three seasons. Washington, who passed away last spring at the age of 52, made 220 career steals to rank fifth on the Orange’s all-time list, and Syracuse earned NCAA Tournament invitations in each of his seasons with the program. One of his many show-stopping plays came in his freshman season in the Carrier Dome, when his halfcourt shot as time expired lifted the Orange to 75-73 win over Boston College. Syracuse recognized Washington this past December by affixing his number “31” at the spot on court from which he launched his famous shot.
Junior Burrough, Virginia (1991-95) – A native of Charlotte, North Carolina, the 6-foot-9 Burrough scored 1,970 points over his four year career with the Cavaliers and ranks sixth on the school’s all-time scoring list. Burrough averaged double figures in scoring in each of his four collegiate seasons, including a career-best 18.1 points per game in 1994-95. Voted to the All-ACC third-team both his junior and senior seasons, Burrough had 25 double-doubles, including three during the 1995 NCAA Tournament. Burrough led the fourth-seeded Cavaliers to the finals of the Midwest Regional, where they lost to eventual national champion Arkansas despite Burrough’s 22 points and 16 rebounds. Burrough was selected by the Boston Celtics in the second round of the 1995 NBA Draft, played one season with the Celtics before a long professional career overseas.
Bobby Beecher, Virginia Tech (1982-86) – Beecher joined Dell Curry and Keith Colbert to form one of the top-rated recruiting classes in Tech men’s basketball history during the fall of 1982. Beecher, who had passed up chances to attend all-star summer camps to work on his father’s farm during his high school days in Lawsonville, North Carolina, capitalized on his basketball chances in Blacksburg. Beecher finished his Tech career eighth in scoring (1,548 points) and sixth in rebounds (797). He played in 128 of 129 games as a Hokie, starting 126. Currently, he still ranks among the school’s all-time leaders in blocked shots (170), field goals made (640) and free-throw percentage (.807), in addition to scoring and rebounding. Beecher, who now resides in Roanoke, Virginia, helped the Hokies to a then-school record 23 wins as a freshman and played on three teams that earned postseason berths. He toured Australia with the Nike-NIT All-Stars following his freshman season and played on the USA team in the World University Games the summer before his senior season.
Josh Howard, Wake Forest (1999-2003) – The unanimous selection for ACC Player of the Year as a senior in 2003 and a consensus All-American, Howard left Wake Forest as one of just four players in ACC history to accumulate 1,000 points, 500 rebounds, 200 assists, 200 steals and 100 blocked shots for his career. The Winston-Salem, North Carolina, native helped Wake Forest win the 2000 NIT title and then led the Demon Deacons to three straight NCAA Tournament appearances. He averaged 19.5 points and 8.3 rebounds as a senior, when he was also named the National Player of the Year by Fox Sports, Basketball Digest and College Insider. A finalist for both the John Wooden Award and the James Naismith Award, he led the ACC in scoring and offensive rebounds while leading the Demon Deacons to their first outright ACC regular season championship since 1962. Howard went on to become a first-round pick of the Dallas Mavericks and was named to the 2007 NBA All-Star Team. He also spent time with Washington, Utah and Minnesota during his 10-year NBA career.
About the ACC
The Atlantic Coast Conference, now in its 64th year of competition and 15 members strong, has long enjoyed the reputation as one of the strongest and most competitive intercollegiate conferences in the nation. ACC members Boston College, Clemson, Duke, Florida State, Georgia Tech, Louisville, Miami, North Carolina, NC State, Notre Dame, Pitt, Syracuse, Virginia, Virginia Tech and Wake Forest continue to build upon the cornerstones on which the league was founded in 1953 with a consistent balance of academics, athletics and integrity. The ACC currently sponsors 27 NCAA sports – 14 for women and 13 for men – with member institutions located in 10 states. For more information, visit theACC.com and follow @theACC on Twitter and on Facebook (facebook.com/theACC).