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sagegrouse
10-21-2011, 11:42 AM
In a recent column that some of you saw and quoted from, Norman Chad listed 23 supposedly true sports facts. One of them was -- “10. If Verne Lundquist lived next door to me, I’d go over to borrow a cup of sugar every other day.”

I don’t live next door to Verne but I do see him often in our small town of Steamboat Springs. As Chad intimated, Verne is a really good guy, totally pleasant and exceptionally well informed on many subjects. A few weeks ago, I spoke with Verne about “The Shot,” which he called for CBS. Until I saw a recent You Tube clip, I hadn’t even realized that he was the game announcer. I was with another neighbor, former Duke hurler Larry Harrison. “What did you think,” I asked Verne, “when it happened?”

“Well,” he said, “there was total silence [at the mike] for a few minutes and the camera just panned the court and all the celebrations going on. Then Bob Ryan of the Boston Globe came over to the table and asked Len Elmore [Verne’s partner that day – who knew?], ‘Until today I thought the ACC final you played against North Carolina State in 1974 was the best college basketball game I had ever seen. Which game do you think was better?’ Len hesitated for a long minute and finally said, ‘I think this game may have been better.’”

“It was a few minutes later before I could talk to Mike Krzyzewski. One of the things I really admire about Mike (and there are many things I like) is that immediately after the game he went over to talk to the Kentucky radio announcer, Cawood Ledford. Ledford had been there forever and, as the tournament started, had announced that the next Kentucky loss would be his last game. Mike spoke first to Ledford and to the Kentucky fans on the radio network.” K told the Kentucky fans that they had listened to one of the classic basketball games in history.

“When I talked to Mike a few minutes later, he said, 'I knew if I could get the ball to that son-of-a-bitch in the circle, he would make the shot.’ I was asked later why we didn’t mention on the broadcast that Laettner was perfect from the floor and perfect from the line. [He was 10-10 and 10-10.] Well, I didn’t know. I asked my statistician, a guy who had worked with me for years, why he hadn’t told me. He was a bit strange. He said it was in the handwritten notes, which I hadn’t managed to figure out. I believe he ended up getting fired over the incident.

“One more story: Gene Wojchiechowski, a really good guy, is writing a book on the game to be published on the 20th anniversary, and he interviewed me. I told him about my conversation with Mike. He then related it to Laettner. When I talked to him later, he said that Christian was visibly upset with Mike’s remark. ‘What did you tell him,’ I asked? Wojo said he quoted K as saying, 'I knew if I could get the ball to that a**hole in the circle, he would make the shot.’ ‘No! No! No! On my mother’s grave that’s not what Mike said. He something totally different.’ So, Gene went back to Christian with a revised story, and Laettner was relieved.”

Verne also called the famous Tiger Woods chip in on the 16th hole of Augusta in the final round of his last Masters championship. I asked Verne how the two shots compared. The chip put Woods in the lead over Chris Demarco, and he ended up winning in a playoff. Tiger was in the rough beyond the green and chipped up the hill and let the ball roll back toward the hole, much as Davis Love had done a few years before. As the ball made its last rotation and barely fell into the hole, the Nike logo was on full display. (“Three quarters of a second,” according to my friend Harrison.) “That was something,” said Verne, “but if Tiger hadn’t won the tournament, it wouldn’t be remembered nearly as much.” Maybe that is true of the Christian shot as well, but the Duke-Kentucky game was really a classic.

sagegrouse

MCFinARL
10-21-2011, 11:54 AM
In a recent column that some of you saw and quoted from, Norman Chad listed 23 supposedly true sports facts. One of them was -- “10. If Verne Lundquist lived next door to me, I’d go over to borrow a cup of sugar every other day.”

I don’t live next door to Verne but I do see him often in our small town of Steamboat Springs. As Chad intimated, Verne is a really good guy, totally pleasant and exceptionally well informed on many subjects. A few weeks ago, I spoke with Verne about “The Shot,” which he called for CBS. Until I saw a recent You Tube clip, I hadn’t even realized that he was the game announcer. I was with another neighbor, former Duke hurler Larry Harrison. “What did you think,” I asked Verne, “when it happened?”

“Well,” he said, “there was total silence [at the mike] for a few minutes and the camera just panned the court and all the celebrations going on. Then Bob Ryan of the Boston Globe came over to the table and asked Len Elmore [Verne’s partner that day – who knew?], ‘Until today I thought the ACC final you played against North Carolina State in 1974 was the best college basketball game I had ever seen. Which game do you think was better?’ Len hesitated for a long minute and finally said, ‘I think this game may have been better.’”

“It was a few minutes later before I could talk to Mike Krzyzewski. One of the things I really admire about Mike (and there are many things I like) is that immediately after the game he went over to talk to the Kentucky radio announcer, Cawood Ledford. Ledford had been there forever and, as the tournament started, had announced that the next Kentucky loss would be his last game. Mike spoke first to Ledford and to the Kentucky fans on the radio network.” K told the Kentucky fans that they had listened to one of the classic basketball games in history.

“When I talked to Mike a few minutes later, he said, 'I knew if I could get the ball to that son-of-a-bitch in the circle, he would make the shot.’ I was asked later why we didn’t mention on the broadcast that Laettner was perfect from the floor and perfect from the line. [He was 10-10 and 10-10.] Well, I didn’t know. I asked my statistician, a guy who had worked with me for years, why he hadn’t told me. He was a bit strange. He said it was in the handwritten notes, which I hadn’t managed to figure out. I believe he ended up getting fired over the incident.

“One more story: Gene Wojchiechowski, a really good guy, is writing a book on the game to be published on the 20th anniversary, and he interviewed me. I told him about my conversation with Mike. He then related it to Laettner. When I talked to him later, he said that Christian was visibly upset with Mike’s remark. ‘What did you tell him,’ I asked? Wojo said he quoted K as saying, 'I knew if I could get the ball to that a**hole in the circle, he would make the shot.’ ‘No! No! No! On my mother’s grave that’s not what Mike said. He something totally different.’ So, Gene went back to Christian with a revised story, and Laettner was relieved.”

Verne also called the famous Tiger Woods chip in on the 16th hole of Augusta in the final round of his last Masters championship. I asked Verne how the two shots compared. The chip put Woods in the lead over Chris Demarco, and he ended up winning in a playoff. Tiger was in the rough beyond the green and chipped up the hill and let the ball roll back toward the hole, much as Davis Love had done a few years before. As the ball made its last rotation and barely fell into the hole, the Nike logo was on full display. (“Three quarters of a second,” according to my friend Harrison.) “That was something,” said Verne, “but if Tiger hadn’t won the tournament, it wouldn’t be remembered nearly as much.” Maybe that is true of the Christian shot as well, but the Duke-Kentucky game was really a classic.

sagegrouse
Nice story. Thanks for sharing!

OldPhiKap
10-21-2011, 12:00 PM
Nice story. Thanks for sharing!

x2. One of my all-time favorite announcers, and that's a great story Sage.

Turtleboy
10-21-2011, 01:38 PM
I'm confused. What was Laettner upset about? Who quoted K the first time? Who corrected it?

Bluedog
10-21-2011, 01:44 PM
I'm confused. What was Laettner upset about? Who quoted K the first time? Who corrected it?

Unless I'm misreading it, Gene Wojchiechowski quoted K as saying "I knew if I could get the ball to that a**hole in the circle," which came courtesy of Lundquist. Gene told Laettner the quote, and I guess Christian didn't like being called an a**hole from K. But then Verne corrected Gene and told him he actually said "son of a bitch" - I'm not sure why that's so much better though, haha. The book hasn't been published yet so presumably Gene has fixed the quote.

Thanks for sharing the story!

sagegrouse
10-21-2011, 02:00 PM
Unless I'm misreading it, Gene Wojchiechowski quoted K as saying "I knew if I could get the ball to that a**hole in the circle," which came courtesy of Lundquist. Gene told Laettner the quote, and I guess Christian didn't like being called an a**hole from K. But then Verne corrected Gene and told him he actually said "son of a bitch" - I'm not sure why that's so much better though, haha. The book hasn't been published yet so presumably Gene has fixed the quote.

Thanks for sharing the story!

SOB is a more endearing term than the other -- or, at least can have a more endearing connotation. -- sage

mph
10-21-2011, 03:01 PM
x2. One of my all-time favorite announcers, and that's a great story Sage.

Agreed. It's not only one of the all-time classic games, it's also one of the all-time classic calls. There aren't many commentators that would let a moment like that speak for itself. Vern just yells "yes" and then sits silently through the celebration and replays. Great stuff.

Bluedog
10-21-2011, 03:05 PM
Agreed. It's not only one of the all-time classic games, it's also one of the all-time classic calls. There aren't many commentators that would let a moment like that speak for itself. Vern just yells "yes" and then sits silently through the celebration and replays. Great stuff.

I do like Verne's call, but Bob Harris' call of The Shot gives me chills:


http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=v_8z4uEGGls

I love it that he's so excited and yelling so loudly that his voice is cracking. Amazing!


SOB is a more endearing term than the other -- or, at least can have a more endearing connotation. -- sage

I understand -- certainly, makes some sense. I can totally see SOB being endearing between K and Laettner.

OldPhiKap
10-21-2011, 03:11 PM
I can totally see SOB being endearing between K and Laettner.

Probably the nicest thing he called him!

I remember Danny Meagher imitating K's motivational speeches to him -- makes either quote look nice. Of course, to be fair, Dan probably deserved it more than Christian.

Turtleboy
10-21-2011, 03:17 PM
Unless I'm misreading it, Gene Wojchiechowski quoted K as saying "I knew if I could get the ball to that a**hole in the circle," which came courtesy of Lundquist. Gene told Laettner the quote, and I guess Christian didn't like being called an a**hole from K. But then Verne corrected Gene and told him he actually said "son of a bitch" - I'm not sure why that's so much better though, haha. The book hasn't been published yet so presumably Gene has fixed the quote.Thanks. That makes sense.

J4Kop99
10-21-2011, 04:04 PM
Verne has had some classics over the years. Definitely one of the best to ever do it... I love listening to him and Gary Danielson call the SEC games.

weezie
10-21-2011, 04:23 PM
Which game do you think was better?’ Len hesitated for a long minute and finally said, ‘I think this game may have been better.’”


HAHAHAH, great! I can just imagine young Len having to admit the beautiful truth of what he had witnessed with his own eyeballs.
Thanks sagegrouse! GREAT story!

SilkyJ
10-21-2011, 04:48 PM
Awesome, awesome story, SG. You are lucky to have a great sports mind like Verne telling you stories like that. That's the kind of stuff people never hear about, unless its from the horse's mouth.

Thanks for sharing.

duke79
10-21-2011, 04:57 PM
Yea, thanks for posting that story. Great memories. I've always thought Verne was one of the best sports announcers around and he seems like a class act. This story confirms that.

rsvman
10-21-2011, 05:09 PM
I'd never heard the Bob Harris call before. Thanks for posting it. Truly great.

CameronBlue
10-21-2011, 07:34 PM
HAHAHAH, great! I can just imagine young Len having to admit the beautiful truth of what he had witnessed with his own eyeballs.
Thanks sagegrouse! GREAT story!

Not sure what you're driving at. Hard to believe any participant in that State-Maryland game would feel shame or embarrassment at having to admit the Duke-Kentucky game was a better game. It's subjective to begin with and both were epic contests. The State-Maryland game was missing the Cinderella/David and Goliath angle but at stake was the conference's only invitiation to the NCAAs. Not hard to argue that the State-Maryland game was better and that case is made here: http://latimesblogs.latimes.com/sports_blog/2008/12/north-carolina.html

roywhite
10-21-2011, 07:45 PM
Not sure what you're driving at. Hard to believe any participant in that State-Maryland game would feel shame or embarrassment at having to admit the Duke-Kentucky game was a better game. It's subjective to begin with and both were epic contests. The State-Maryland game was missing the Cinderella/David and Goliath angle but at stake was the conference's only invitiation to the NCAAs. Not hard to argue that the State-Maryland game was better and that case is made here: http://latimesblogs.latimes.com/sports_blog/2008/12/north-carolina.html

Yeah, those were definitely two of the greatest college basketball games ever, and a reasonable case can be made for either as THE best.

The State--Maryland game actually did have an amazing David aspect, that of the magical, graceful, flying David Thompson.
It was truly a pleasure to watch him perform.

Rich
10-21-2011, 09:29 PM
SOB is a more endearing term than the other -- or, at least can have a more endearing connotation. -- sage

Not sure Mrs. Laettner, Christian's mother, would agree. ;)

weezie
10-21-2011, 09:41 PM
Not sure what you're driving at.

Not sure what you're driving at either. Len admitted "The Shot" was part of a better game. At least that's what Verne relayed.

tele
10-21-2011, 10:10 PM
Verne is one of the best, nice story on 'the shot". The Harris call is something special to me though because he actually includes "the dribble" in his call. Putting the ball on the floor for one dribble in that situation with 1.2 seconds on the clock has always amazed me. That takes a little nerve, most players would be just trying to catch it and then get the shot off. To be fair, it may be that Laettner needed the dribble to get his balance and get his feet right, but it looks like he used it to fake to his right before pivoting left and shooting, a perfect post move. So besides making the fake more effective, the defender was in good position for the faked shot, it took the ref out of the play and avoided any question of a travel, which would have been an unfortunate call at that point of the game.

I've always thought the dribble was the key part of the play, has anyone ever heard Laettner comment on that part of the play? Maybe it will be in the book.

BobbyFan
10-21-2011, 10:51 PM
I was asked later why we didn’t mention on the broadcast that Laettner was perfect from the floor and perfect from the line. [He was 10-10 and 10-10.] Well, I didn’t know. I asked my statistician, a guy who had worked with me for years, why he hadn’t told me. He was a bit strange. He said it was in the handwritten notes, which I hadn’t managed to figure out. I believe he ended up getting fired over the incident.

Thanks for sharing. The above was particularly interesting. Having watched the game many times, I had always wondered why Laettner's perfect game was not noted as it was happening.

CameronBlue
10-22-2011, 01:24 AM
Not sure what you're driving at either. Len admitted "The Shot" was part of a better game. At least that's what Verne relayed.

Simply this: You seemed to imply that by "admitting" Duke-Ky was the better game he had suffered a great indignity, that a "beautiful truth" had finally been revealed to poor myopic Len. He could have answered "NcState-Md" and have been equally justified.

weezie
10-22-2011, 04:11 PM
Ol' Len has often been pretty grumpy when doing color for Duke games, that's something that has been commented on here several times a year.

Actually, who cares what he thinks anyway.

DevilDan
10-22-2011, 04:40 PM
So glad to see this thread come up... earlier this week I went on an internet safari for the tape (any replay) of the DUKE-KENTUCKY national semifinal at College Park in 1966. That team (Verga/Vacendak/Marin/Lewis/Reidy) is still my favorite Devils team ever, with 1992 a close second. I still think that the Vic Bubas team in '66 was the best team NOT to win the NCAA Title (tho' if it had, they would have screwed up the historic Texas Western story). Now getting back to 1992 ...

I had become a great fan of Caywood Ledford many years before, when I could (barely, at times) pick up his broadcasts late nite on my "transistor" radio -- yes! I wasn't a big fan of the Wildcats, but was of Mr. Ledford and his style. I taped the 1992 Regional with the TV sound off, while listening the radio play-by-play by Mr. Ledford. I would do anything to get that clip and hear it again, but here is my best recollection of the way it went. With Grant Hill, ball in hand, releasing the pass:

"... There's the lonnnnnng pass from Grant Hill... Laettner's got it ... he turns and shoots .... GOOOOOOD ....
(and after the slightest little pause) THAT's WHY THEY'RE NUMBER ONE"

What a great statement, made in the closing moments of the last Kentucky game he would ever call. I will never forget those words, made with such true CLASS, in what likely had to have been the most emotional, heartbreaking moment of his storied career. GREAT STUFF !

Now we are just days away from the new season ... GO DUKE !

CameronBlue
10-22-2011, 04:44 PM
Ol' Len has often been pretty grumpy when doing color for Duke games, that's something that has been commented on here several times a year.

Actually, who cares what he thinks anyway.

The quintessential curmudgeon.

weezie
10-23-2011, 08:46 AM
HAHAHAH, me and Len!

magjayran
10-23-2011, 11:12 AM
Verne is one of the best, nice story on 'the shot". The Harris call is something special to me though because he actually includes "the dribble" in his call. Putting the ball on the floor for one dribble in that situation with 1.2 seconds on the clock has always amazed me. That takes a little nerve, most players would be just trying to catch it and then get the shot off. To be fair, it may be that Laettner needed the dribble to get his balance and get his feet right, but it looks like he used it to fake to his right before pivoting left and shooting, a perfect post move. So besides making the fake more effective, the defender was in good position for the faked shot, it took the ref out of the play and avoided any question of a travel, which would have been an unfortunate call at that point of the game.

I've always thought the dribble was the key part of the play, has anyone ever heard Laettner comment on that part of the play? Maybe it will be in the book.

Not to nitpick, but it was 2.1 seconds and not 1.2. It's still a really smart move by Christian to realize that he had time to dribble with that little time left and avoid a soul-crushing travel call and yes the call by Bob was amazing.

SharkD
10-23-2011, 03:18 PM
I do like Verne's call, but Bob Harris' call of The Shot gives me chills:


http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=v_8z4uEGGls

I love it that he's so excited and yelling so loudly that his voice is cracking. Amazing!

Which is exactly why I posted it to YouTube. :D

I watched the game with the TV muted and the radio tuned to WDNC. That's exactly how I remember The Shot -- to the point that seeing it with the CBS audio seems weird to me. (Icing on the cake was The Herald-Sun, the next day, printing the photo that is my avatar, as a two-page, full-color spread.)


I'd never heard the Bob Harris call before. Thanks for posting it. Truly great.

You're welcome. ;)

alteran
10-23-2011, 04:16 PM
Unless I'm misreading it, Gene Wojchiechowski quoted K as saying "I knew if I could get the ball to that a**hole in the circle," which came courtesy of Lundquist. Gene told Laettner the quote, and I guess Christian didn't like being called an a**hole from K. But then Verne corrected Gene and told him he actually said "son of a bitch" - I'm not sure why that's so much better though, haha.

I have never met Coach K, but I have read several of his books, and he means different things when he says certain, uhm, colorful phrases. "M-Fer" and "son of a bitch" are Coach K parlance for, "a real hard-nosed player who takes no crap, despises losing, and just gets in there and gets the job done whatever it takes."

"A--hole," on the other hand, is Coach K parlance for, "the spoiled, whiny coach of UNC."

Surely you can see why Christian was upset. :)