Greatest Basketball Players - David Thompson - North Carolina State Wolfpack
March 19, 2008 AT 9:00 AM
Greatest NCAA College Basketball Careers of All Time: David Thompson Born in North Carolina in 1954, David Thompson became known as Skywalker early in his basketball career for his amazing 48 inch vertical leap. Playing for North Carolina State, Thompson lead his team to a perfect 27 and 0 season in 1973, however were not eligible for the NCAA tournament. In the following season, NC State and Thompson rolled on to a NCAA Championship, even taking down the legendary UCLA program in the final. Thompson was best known for his high-flying above the rim game. The alley-oop was a major part of NC State’s offense, and many still consider Thompson and teammate Monte Towe as the inventors of the exciting play. Perhaps more interesting was that Thompson played during a time when the slam dunk was in fact outlawed due to the “Lew Alcindor” rule. Despite his enormous leap, Thompson only had one dunk in his collegiate career, a play that he was quickly assessed a technical foul for and removed from the court by coach Norm Sloan. Thompson played his collegiate career in the Atlantic Coast Conference, the same ACC that was home to players like Michael Jordan, Tim Duncan and Christian Laettner, however Thompson is still regarded by most experts as the best to ever grace the conference. Other accolades for Thompson include USBWA Player of the Year for 1974, AP National Player of the year for 1974 and 1975, as well as MVP for the NCAA tournament in 1974 after NC State took down Marquette in the finals. Perhaps most telling of the impact Thompson had on college basketball is that Michael Jordan claims Thompson as the player he looked up to as a role model during his younger years. Upon graduating from NC State, Thompson became the number one draft pick in both the ABA and NBA. Claiming the Atlanta Hawks seemed “uninterested,” he chose to team up with the Denver Nuggets of the ABA.