The Wolfpacker

March-April 2022

The Wolfpacker: An Independent Magazine Covering NC State Sports

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Page 45 of 51

46 ■ THE WOLFPACKER BY TIM PEELER T hey knew from the first day of prac- tice in the fall of 1971 that they had something special. They knew because they had the most talented player any of them had ever seen, a small forward from Shelby named David Thompson, the high-fly- ing queen of basketball's chessboard. They knew because they found a se- cret weapon, an undersized and un- derappreciated recruit from Converse, Ind., who looked more like the lead singer in a mop-hair band than a Di- vision I basketball player. As it turned out, Monte Towe was as popular on NC State's campus and to most ACC basketball fans as Davey Jones or any member of the Beatles. They knew because they had power under the basket that would eventu- ally work well with Tom Burleson, the lanky 7-foot-2 center on the varsity team. Early in preseason practice, East Chicago, Ind., native Tim Stoddard muscled his way into the lane and never really left. They knew because they had finesse, power and speed from a handful of players who had done nothing but win championships in multiple sports in high school. They knew they were destined to win a lot more. "Those games were a lot of fun," Thompson remembered a few years ago. "We had this big recruiting class with seven guys on scholarship, and every one of the guys could play." Fifty years ago, the last all-freshman team in NC State basketball history kicked off a season in which it posted a 15-1 record, with the only loss becoming a significant motivator for what hap- pened over the next three seasons as varsity players. They outscored their opponents by nearly 500 points, averaging 108.6 a game. To put that in perspective, in 1973, '74 and '75, Thompson, Towe, Stoddard and company had three of the five highest-scoring teams in ACC bas- ketball history and the best of those, during the 27-0 season in 1972-73, scored more than 15 points per game less than the freshman team they were part of. Four starters and one reserve aver- aged in double figures, with Thompson leading the way at 35.6 points per game, Towe at 18.4, Stoddard at 15.6, forward Leo Campbell at 11.2 and guard Craig Kuszmaul at 10.5. Makeshift starting PACK PAST Fifty Years Ago, The Last NC State All-Freshman Basketball Team Dazzled Wolfpack Fans The 1971-72 NC State freshman team — front row, left to right: John McNeely, David Thompson and Monte Towe; second row: Nick Nicholls, Danny McGaugan, Mark Moeller and Craig Kuszmaul; third row: Lewis Hardy, Tim Stoddard, Creech Newsome, Mike Dempsey and Leo Campbell — went 15-1 and averaged 108.6 points per game while outscoring opponents by nearly 500 points. PHOTO COURTESY NC STATE ATHLETICS Leo Campbell Mike Dempsey Lewis Hardy Craig Kuszmaul John McNeely Creech Newsome Nick "Biff" Nicholls Danny McGaugan Mark Moeller Tim Stoddard David Thompson Monte Towe 1971-72 NC State Freshman Team

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