The Wolfpacker

January 2017

The Wolfpacker: An Independent Magazine Covering NC State Sports

Issue link:

Contents of this Issue


Page 53 of 103

54 ■ THE WOLFPACKER WHEREARETHEYNOW? BY TIM PEELER L es Robinson vividly remembers the time Todd Fuller made the only B of his academic career. It was a first for the 6-11 center from Charlotte, in any grade, in any class. Fuller was down, and Robinson thought he could fulfill a coaching obligation to sup- port and cheer up his star player. "I called him in the office just to talk," said the former NC State men's basketball coach and athletic director. "I told him I remember when I made my first B, they had a damned parade back in West Virginia." Fuller didn't exactly appreciate the at- tempt at humor, but it did put into perspec- tive the accomplishments of the Academic All-American and his affable coach. Not only did Fuller — the centerpiece of Robinson's final team — lead the ACC in scoring with 20.9 points per game and finish second to Wake Forest's Tim Duncan in re- bounding at 9.9 per game, he also graduated summa cum laude with a 3.96 grade point average in applied mathematics. He was part of NC State's inaugural in- ductees into Phi Beta Kappa, a big deal for a university that just a few years before had been denied a campus chapter of the nation's oldest and most prestigious honor society, primarily because of the poor gradu- ation rates of the men's basketball team under Jim Valvano. It was one of the pieces that turned faculty against Valvano, because a Duke professor used the basketball team's academics as a reason to deny NC State's application for membership into the organization. Fuller's induction brought the controversy full circle — a true example of a student- athlete who was accomplished on the court and in the classroom. The two-time aca- demic All-American was named the 1996 GTE top academic men's basketball player, the Paine Webber Scholar-Athlete of the Year and an NCAA Postgraduate Scholar. Had he not wanted to pursue a professional basketball career, he could have become NC State's first Rhodes Scholar, but chose not to go through the application process. Those are all reasons Fuller's No. 52 jer- sey is honored in the rafters of PNC Arena. Fuller eventually became a first-round NBA Draft pick of the Golden State War- riors, the No. 11 overall selection just ahead of high school player Kobe Bryant. He played just five years in the NBA, but spent more than a decade playing professional basketball all over the world. Following his retirement in 2007, Fuller returned to his hometown to begin life as a civilian. He fulfilled a longtime dream of earning his pilot's license. He got married, had three kids and worked as an athletics director of a small private school. Eventually, he became a high school math teacher. He maintained his close ties to NC State, working with mathematics profes- sor John Griggs, who serves as the head of the Wolfpack basketball stats crew, to con- duct the Todd Fuller Mathematics Competi- tion for Raleigh-area high school students. He also served as a member of the Park Scholarship Selection Committee, screening candidates for NC State's most prestigious academic scholarship. "Todd is one of the finest gentlemen I've ever taught and ever known, for that matter," said Griggs. "He was a true student-athlete in every way, maximizing his abilities in both endeavors. "He was the top scholastic athlete in the nation his senior year, while achieving first- team All-ACC honors in basketball." Two years ago, at Griggs' suggestion, Fuller started looking into NC State's in- novative and rigorous Master of Science in Analytics program offered through the Insti- tute for Advanced Analytics. In the brief his- Todd Fuller Men's Basketball (1993-96) Age: 42 Living: Charlotte Occupation: Research analyst at Bank of America Did you know? Fuller played for four NBA teams from 1996-2001. ? WHERE ARE THEY NOW BIG MAN ON CAMPUS ( AGAIN ) The Former All-ACC Center Recently Returned To Raleigh For Another Degree Fuller was a first-team All-ACC pick in 1996 before being drafted 11th overall by the Golden State Warriors. PHOTO COURTESY NC STATE MEDIA RELATIONS Fuller led the ACC in scoring as a senior at 20.9 points per game. He is one of just six for- mer Pack players to top the league in scoring. PHOTO COURTESY NC STATE MEDIA RELATIONS

Articles in this issue

Archives of this issue

view archives of The Wolfpacker - January 2017