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You’ve heard about it for decades now. The mythical Richard Morgan putback dunk that announced his arrival at the University of Virginia. Here is the broadcast of that game. The possession in question starts at the 37:15 mark and ends with Morgan’s dunk that about blows the roof off of venerable University Hall.

Some context for you folks who weren’t around then. UVA had made a surprise run to the Final Four in 1984, the year after Ralph graduated. The 1985 team, in my 4th year, was a bust. Finished around .500. The 1986 team in this video featured Olden Polynice, who was on his way to becoming one of the country’s great centers. He unfortunately was dismissed from school for an honor violation before he completed his eligibility. He hangs with UNC senior center Brad Daugherty, who would go on to have a long NBA career, in this game. Polynice also had a long NBA career. In fact his may be the longest career of any UVA player.

So, on this January night an unranked 13-5 UVA squad faced an undefeated 21-0 and #1 ranked UNC team that featured Daugherty, future NBA star Kenny Smith, and the infamous Warren “Peahead” Martin. Yes, the nickname is accurate. William’s head is absurdly small relative to this 7-foot body.

From the start you can tell that UVA has an extra gear on this night. They are out hustling and out rebounding the taller Heels. Polynice is doing his thing down low, Tom Calloway is getting open against Smith, Mel Kennedy and Drew Kennedy (no relation) are working the boards, and Tom Sheehey is hitting shots all over the court. And then the precocious freshman Morgan hits the court. Dick Vitale opines that Morgan has a true scorer’s mentality and that he shoots more shots per minute-as a freshman-than anyone else on UVA’s roster. That would be true of Morgan for his entire UVA career. He was a natural-born scorer. He shot to get hot and shot to stay hot.

Virginia was pulling away towards the end of the first half. The crowd could feel it. And then Morgan made the play that people still talk about to this day. To be honest, in watching the play again for the first time since 1986, it isn’t as mind-blowing as I have made it out to be over the years, but on that night, in that setting, against that opponent and following the very disappointing 1985 season, IT WAS FREAKING AWESOME. I was living in Colorado and working at a restaurant and the game was on ESPN. I kept sneaking peeks at the game while trying to do my job as a waiter and just happened to be watching when Morgan made his play. I lost my mind and almost lost my job right there on the spot. Apparently a Tourette’s outburst is not appropriate in a fancy Aspen restaurant.

Other things to note in this video:
1. The court looks weird without a 3 pt line
2. The shot clock is 45 seconds
3. Many alumni in the stands are wearing coat and tie
4. UVA asst coaches are Dave Odom and Jim Larranaga. Future Virginia coach and former player Jeff Jones is also an assistant and sharp viewers will also spot 1985 graduate Dan Merrifield coaching in some graduate assistant capacity. Larranaga coaches Miami and Odom had a long career at Wake Forest and the HC during Wake’s golden era. His son, Ryan Odom, was the UMBC coach during THAT game.

Anyway, the Morgan dunk is at about the 37:40 mark. It may not be as awesome now as it was then, but at the time it was one of the most exciting plays ever in UVA basketball history.

[Post edited by sewdog at 02/15/2020 5:27PM]

Link: Richard “The King” Morgan

Posted: 02/14/2020 at 12:07PM


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Current Thread:
I FOUND IT!! -- sewdog 02/14/2020 12:07PM
  That dunk is still my #1 ** -- Just E 02/14/2020 9:59PM
  One slight quibble -- it's Warren Martin, not William. -- 12to87for6 02/14/2020 4:18PM
  12to87: I’m a THS ‘74 grad. Where did you go? ** -- mtbrookwahoo 02/14/2020 8:17PM
  GWHS '83 ** -- 12to87for6 02/15/2020 08:25AM
  I waited outside UHall 2 hours to get into that game. -- 12to87for6 02/14/2020 4:05PM
  Olden stole our hearts ..... and a Walkman. ** -- 1994Wahoo 02/14/2020 3:22PM
  Just headphones, ... from Roses even (link) -- Hoo TV 02/14/2020 4:38PM
  I still think it was the greatest UVa ACC win ever. -- AncientHoo 02/14/2020 3:19PM
  Sheehy's career would be nothing to sneeze at. -- jdubforwahoowa 02/14/2020 3:43PM
  I was there that night ... top 5er for me. ELECTRIC ** -- HiltonHeadHoo 02/14/2020 3:10PM
  Gross haha ** -- ThatDadgumBiscuit 02/14/2020 3:13PM
  I was there. ** -- G-Len Portier 02/14/2020 2:21PM
  Me too. ** -- SaxonHoo 02/14/2020 3:23PM
  I think I just saw myself in the crowd. ** -- CalmHoo 02/14/2020 2:37PM
  Me too... -- WizK80 02/14/2020 2:35PM
  Me too... ** -- WizK80 02/14/2020 2:34PM
  Great to hear the GOS without the idiotic add-ons. ** -- WahooKnows 02/14/2020 2:10PM
  Hey, hey, hey. At least I had hair back then. ** -- PK German 02/14/2020 3:55PM
  Lance Blanks got in at the end. -- andLeftyToo 02/14/2020 2:00PM
  Was it still The Mousetrap then? ** -- NaturalMysticHoo 02/14/2020 1:58PM
  Nope......El Grecos ** -- GoochlandHoo 02/14/2020 2:11PM
  Upstairs in that space. :-) ** -- jdubforwahoowa 02/14/2020 4:28PM
  Orbitz in between ** -- Stimp 02/14/2020 2:03PM
  Ohhh ... Yeah! ** -- Trigon 02/14/2020 2:44PM
  I was there, Seward! -- HarborEastHoo 02/14/2020 1:33PM
  But it turned out that JR couldn't Reid? ;-) ** -- CAVern 02/14/2020 1:59PM
  Sophie's was my Jimmy Jam. -- jdubforwahoowa 02/14/2020 1:35PM
  I'm sure we did...I bar tended there for a bit. ** -- GoochlandHoo 02/14/2020 2:18PM
  I found it -- juano 02/14/2020 1:23PM
  Dickie V. before he became a parody of himself. ** -- MantuaFan 02/14/2020 7:20PM
  He sounds civilized ** -- 02/14/2020 3:19PM
  Yes. Jim Simpson on PBP. -- jdubforwahoowa 02/14/2020 1:35PM
  Dyslin plays in 1H. ** -- CalmHoo 02/14/2020 2:36PM
  UNC almost always had a size advantage or two -- DFW HOO 02/14/2020 2:24PM
  That is really how it looked live. ** -- TriplHoo 02/14/2020 2:17PM

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