12-11-23 roundup: Pro football, basketball and soccer, College football and basketball, High school football and basketball, Middle school wrestling

By Richard Walker

Last week, N.C. State University immortalized one of the greatest athletes every produced by this state when a statue of former Crest High standout David Thompson was unveiled.

N.C. State’s unveiling ceremony for the David Thompson statue outside Reynolds Coliseum.

A 1971 Crest High graduate who grew up just outside of Boiling Springs, Thompson’s statue was unveiled on Dec. 6 a few hours before the Wolfpack men’s basketball team defeated Maryland Eastern Shore in its annual “Heritage Game” at Reynolds Coliseum.

Thompson is widely recognized as one of the greatest players in college basketball history. A 2003 story in The Gaston Gazette ranked him No. 1 in the league’s first 50 years and a 2008 ESPN story ranked him as one of the 10 best all time in college basketball.

The first 1,000-point scorer in Crest history who led the Chargers to their first conference championship and state championship game in 1971, Thompson eventually was inducted into the Naismith Basketball Hall of Fame in 1996.

Thompson’s college career began for the Wolfpack freshman team in the 1971-72 season as NCAA rules of the time forbade freshman playing varsity athletics.

In another rule of the day that has since changed, Thompson and many of his N.C. State teammates – most notably point guard Monte Towe – perfected the “alley oop” play to take advantage of Thompson’s extraordinary jumping ability since dunking was not allowed in college basketball.

Once on the varsity team, Thompson was named 1st team All-American three straight seasons, ACC player of the year each year and is one of just five players in college basketball history to be named national player of the year twice (in 1974 and 1975). During his final game at Reynolds Coliseum, Thompson’s No. 44 jersey was retired and remains the only jersey ever retired in N.C. State men’s basketball history.

During Thompson’s career, the Wolfpack went 27-0, 30-1 and 22-6 with back-to-back unbeaten ACC regular season and tournament finishes in 1973 and 1974 and a 1974 NCAA title. In that Final Four played at the Greensboro Coliseum, N.C. State and Thompson (28 points, 10 rebounds) knocked off 7-time reigning NCAA champion UCLA 80-77 in double overtime win in the semifinals. Thompson hit a go-ahead bucket with less than a minute left and hit 2 free throws with 38 seconds left in a contest many consider one of the greatest Final Four games in history.

Two days later, Thompson scored 21 points in the 76-64 NCAA title game victory over Marquette and was named Final Four most outstanding player.

Additionally, N.C. State’s 103-100 triple overtime victory over No. 4-ranked Maryland to win the 1974 NCAA tournament in which Thompson was a star performer when only one ACC team advanced that season is considered to be one of the best game played in ACC and college basketball history.

In his college varsity career, Thompson finished with 2,309 points in 86 games. He led the ACC in scoring all three seasons including a 29.9 scoring average in his senior year that ended in the ACC tournament finals and he N.C. State and the ACC’s career scoring leader when he graduated.

The No. 1 overall pick in the 1975 NBA Draft, Thompson would instead sign with the Denver Nuggets in the final year of the ABA and spent 10 years in the ABA and NBA while earning All-Star Game MVP honors in each league. A 5-time professional All-Star, Thompson’s No. 33 Denver Nuggets has been retired.

On Dec. 6, a bronze statue in Thompson’s like over more than 13 feet from the base to the top of the basketball was unveiled. The statue sits on a 44-inch stainless steel pedestal in honor of Thompson 44-inch standing vertical leap when he played at NC State.

A nationwide search selected David Alan Clark of Wyoming to create the sculpture. The final product weights 2000 pounds and took a little over 10 months to complete.










College football

The Charlotte 49ers got good news while the Charlotte Sports Foundation got some bad news on Monday.

Max Brown

Florida quarterback Max Brown announced on social media that he’s committed to the 49ers after making his 1st collegiate start in the Gators’ finale against Florida State.

A 6-foot-2, 220-pounder, Brown is a former 3-star recruit from Tulsa, Okla. who completed 19 of 28 passes for 192 yards in 6 games last season for the Gators. Brown, who will have 3 years of eligibility remaining, played in games against McNeese, Vanderbilt, South Carolina, Arkansas, Missouri and Florida State but not in Florida’s 22-7 home win over Charlotte on Sept. 23.

Brown completed 9 of 16 passes for 86 yards in his lone start against Florida State in a 24-15 loss that ended Florida’s season with a 5-7 record.

Also on social media Monday, Charlottean Drake Maye announced he would not be playing in the Dec. 27 Duke’s Mayo Bowl for North Carolina against West Virginia and declaring for the NFL draft.

Maye, a 2021 Myers Park High graduate, is a 6-foot-4, 230-pound quarterback who completed 618 of 952 passes for 8,018 yards and 63 touchdowns in his 30-game careers at North Carolina. Maye has two years of college eligibility remaining but is considered one of the top-rated prospects for the 2024 NFL Draft.

The school announced Maye is one of 5 Tar Heels who have already declared for the 2024 NFL draft – OL Corey Gaynor, LB Cedric Gray, DL Myles Murphy and WR Tez Walker are the others. Only Murphy will play in the bowl game.

Also, 2 Tar Heels’ players have announced intentions to transfer and 5 players with injuries won’t play in the bowl game.

Here is the full 2023 college football bowl schedule:

Myrtle Beach Bowl: Ohio U. vs. Georgia Southern
Dec. 16, Conway, S.C., ESPN, 11 a.m.

New Orleans Bowl: Jacksonville State vs. Louisiana-Lafayette
Dec. 16, New Orleans, La., ESPN, 2:15 p.m.

Cure Bowl: Appalachian State vs. Miami (Ohio)
Dec. 16, Orlando, Fla., ABC, 3:30 p.m.

New Mexico Bowl: New Mexico State vs. Fresno State
Dec. 16, Albuquerque, N.M., ESPN, 5:45 p.m.l

LA Bowl: UCLA vs. Boise State
Dec. 16, Inglewood, Cal., ABC, 7:30 p.m.

Independence Bowl: Texas Tech vs. California
Dec. 16, Shreveport, La., ESPN, 9:15 p.m.

Famous Toastery Bowl: Western Kentucky vs. Old Dominion
Dec. 18, Charlotte, Jerry Richardson Stadium, ESPN, 2:30 p.m.

Frisco Bowl: Marshall vs. Texas-Antonio
Dec. 19, Frisco, Tex., ESPN, 9 p.m.

Boca Raton Bowl: South Florida vs. Syracuse
Dec. 21, Boca Raton, Fla., ESPN, 8 p.m.

Gasparilla Bowl: Duke vs. Central Florida
Dec. 22, Tampa, Fla., ESPN, 6:30 p.m.

Birmingham Bowl: Georgia Tech vs. Troy
Dec. 23, Birmingham, Ala., ABC, noon

Camellia Bowl: Northern Illinois vs. Arkansas State
Dec. 23, Montgomery, Ala., ESPN, noon

Armed Forces Bowl: James Madison vs. Air Force
Dec. 23, Fort Worth, Tex., ABC, 3:30 p.m.

Idaho Potato Bowl: Utah State vs. Georgia State
Dec. 23, Boise, Id., ESPN, 3:30 p.m.

68 Ventures Bowl: Eastern Michigan vs. South Alabama
Dec. 23, Mobile, Ala., ESPN, 7 p.m.

Las Vegas Bowl: Northwestern vs. Utah
Dec. 23, Las Vegas, Nev., ABC, 7:30 p.m.

Hawaii Bowl: Coastal Carolina vs. San Jose State
Dec. 23, Honolulu, Hi., ESPN, 10:30 p.m.

Quick Lane Bowl: Bowling Green vs. Minnesota
Dec. 26, Detroit, Mich., ESPN, 2 p.m.

First Responder Bowl: Texas State vs. Rice
Dec. 26, Dallas, Tex., ESPN, 5:30 p.m.

Guaranteed Rate Bowl: Kansas vs. UNLV
Dec. 26, Phoenix, Ariz., ESPN, 9 p.m.

Military Bowl: Tulane vs. Virginia Tech
Dec. 27, Annapolis, Md., ESPN, 2 p.m.

Duke’s Mayo Bowl: North Carolina vs. West Virginia
Dec. 27, Charlotte, Bank of America Stadium, ESPN, 5:30 p.m.

Holiday Bowl: Louisville vs. Southern California
Dec. 27, San Diego, Cal., Fox, 8 p.m.

Texas Bowl: Oklahoma State vs. Texas A&M
Dec. 27, Houston, Tex., ESPN, 9 p.m.

Fenway Bowl: Boston College vs. SMU
Dec. 28, Boston, Mass., ESPN, 11 a.m.

Pinstripe Bowl: Miami (Fla.) vs. Rutgers
Dec. 28, Bronx, N.Y., ESPN, 2:15 p.m.

Pop-Tarts Bowl: N.C. State vs. Kansas State
Dec. 28, Orlando, Fla., ESPN, 5:45 p.m.

Alamo Bowl: Oklahoma vs. Arizona
Dec. 28, San Antonio, Tex., ESPN, 9:15 p.m.

Gator Bowl: Clemson vs. Kentucky
Dec. 29, Jacksonville, Fla., ESPN, noon

Sun Bowl: Oregon State vs. Notre Dame
Dec. 29, El Paso, Texas, CBS, 2 p.m.

Liberty Bowl: Iowa State vs. Memphis
Dec. 29, Memphis, Tenn., ESPN, 3:30 p.m.

Cotton Bowl: Ohio State vs. Missouri
Dec. 29, Arlington, Tex., ESPN, 8 p.m.

Peach Bowl: Penn State vs. Mississippi
Dec. 30, Atlanta, Ga., ESPN, noon

Music City Bowl: Auburn vs. Maryland
Dec. 30, Nashville, Tenn., ABC, 2 p.m.

Orange Bowl: Florida State vs. Georgia
Dec. 30, Miami Gardens, Fla., ESPN, 4 p.m.

Arizona Bowl: Toledo vs. Wyoming
Dec. 30, Tucson, Ariz., 4:30 p.m.

ReliaQuest Bowl: Wisconsin vs. LSU
Jan. 1, Tampa, Fla., ESPN2, noon

Citrus Bowl: Iowa vs. Tennessee
Jan. 1, Orlando, Fla., ABC, 1 p.m.

Fiesta Bowl: Oregon vs. Liberty
Jan. 1, Glendale, Ariz., ESPN, 1 p.m.

(College Football Playoff)
Rose Bowl: Michigan vs. Alabama
Jan. 1, Pasadena, Cal., ESPN, 5 p.m.

Sugar Bowl: Washington vs. Texas
Jan. 1, New Orleans, La., ESPN, 8:45 p.m.

CFP championship game
Jan. 8, Houston, Tex., ESPN, 8 p.m.









Pro soccer

According to London’s Daily Mail, Dean Smith is expected to be appointed as the next coach of Charlotte FC as soon as Tuesday.

Dean Smith

Smith, 52, has coached European powers Aston Villa, Leicester City and Norwich City and would become Charlotte FC’s 3rd head coach in its 3-year history.










Pro basketball

Miami 116, Charlotte 114: Terry Rozier (34 points, 13 assists), Miles Bridges (18 points, 4 rebounds), Gordon Hayward (17 points, 6 rebounds, 7 assists), Brandon Miller (16 points, 4 rebounds) and P.J. Washington (15 points, 8 rebounds, 3 assists) led the Hornets as they fell short in a comeback bid against the Heat.

Charlotte guard LaMelo Ball is hopeful he’ll return to the lineup sooner than expected after a severe sprain of his right ankle on Nov. 26.

“Just slow progress,” Ball told The Charlotte Observer. “I’m doing treatment every day, just trying to get better. From when it happened, it feels a little better.
“It feels way better than when it happened because at first I couldn’t even put any pressure on my foot. But now I can stand on two feet, walk a little. Still a little limp, but way better than it was.”

Here is the Charlotte Hornets’ 2023-24 regular season schedule:

Wed. 25 ATLANTA (W 116-110)
Fri. 27 DETROIT (L 99-111)
Mon. 30 BROOKLYN (L 121-133)
Wed. 1 at Houston (L 119-128)
Sat. 4 at Indiana (W 125-124)
Sun. 5 at Dallas (L 118-124)
Wed. 8 WASHINGTON (L 116-132)
Fri. 10 at Washington (W 124-117)
Sun. 12 at New York (L 107-129)
Tue. 14 MIAMI (L 105-111)
Fri. 17 MILWAUKEE (L 99-130)
Sat. 18 NEW YORK (L 108-122)
Mon. 20 BOSTON (W 121-118, OT)
Wed. 22 WASHINGTON (W 117-114)
Sun. 26 at Orlando (L 117-130)
Tue. 28 at New York (L 91-115)
Thu. 30 at Brooklyn (W 129-128)
Sat. 2 MINNESOTA (L 117-123)
Wed. 6 at Chicago (L 100-111)
Fri. 8 TORONTO (W 119-116)
Mon. 11 MIAMI (L 114-116)
Wed. 13 at Miami 7:30 p.m.
Fri. 15 NEW ORLEANS 7 p.m.
Sat. 16 PHILADELPHIA 7 p.m.
Mon. 18 at Toronto 7:30 p.m.
Wed. 20 at Indiana 7 p.m.
Sat. 23 DENVER 7 p.m.
Tue. 26 at LA Clippers 10:30 p.m.
Thu. 28 at L.A. Lakers 10:30 p.m.
Fri. 29 at Phoenix 9 p.m.
Mon. 1 at Denver 9 p.m.
Tue. 2 at Sacramento 10 p.m.
Fri. 5 at Chicago 8 p.m.
Mon. 8 CHICAGO 7 p.m.
Wed. 10 SACRAMENTO 7 p.m.
Fri. 12 at San Antonio 10 p.m.
Sun. 14 at Miami 6 p.m.
Wed. 17 at New Orleans 8 p.m.
Fri. 19 SAN ANTONIO 7 p.m.
Sat. 20 PHILADELPHIA 7 p.m.
Mon. 22 at Minnesota 8 p.m.
Wed. 24 at Detroit 7 p.m.
Fri. 26 HOUSTON 7 p.m.
Sat. 27 UTAH 7 p.m.
Mon. 29 NEW YORK 7 p.m.
Wed. 31 CHICAGO 7 p.m.
Fri. 2 at Oklahoma City 8 p.m.
Sun. 4 INDIANA 6 p.m.
Mon. 5 L.A. LAKERS 7 p.m.
Wed. 7 TORONTO 7 p.m.
Fri. 9 at Milwaukee 8 p.m.
Sat. 10 MEMPHIS 7 p.m.
Mon. 12 INDIANA 7 p.m.
Wed. 14 ATLANTA 7 p.m.
Thu. 22 at Utah 9 p.m.
Fri. 23 at Golden State 10 p.m.
Sun. 25 at Portland 9 p.m.
Tue. 27 at Milwaukee 8 p.m.
Thu. 29 MILWAUKEE 7 p.m.
Fri. 1 at Philadelphia 7 p.m.
Sun. 3 at Toronto 6 p.m.
Tue. 5 ORLANDO 7 p.m.
Fri. 8 at Washington 7 p.m.
Sat. 9 BROOKLYN 7 p.m.
Mon. 11 at Detroit 7 p.m.
Wed. 13 at Memphis 8 p.m.
Fri. 15 PHOENIX 7 p.m.
Sat. 16 at Philadelphia 7 p.m.
Tue. 19 at Orlando 7 p.m.
Sat. 23 at Atlanta 7:30 p.m.
Mon. 25 at Cleveland 7 p.m.
Wed. 27 CLEVELAND 7 p.m.
Fri. 29 GOLDEN STATE 7 p.m.
Sun. 31 LA CLIPPERS 6 p.m.
Mon. 1 BOSTON 7 p.m.
Wed. 3 PORTLAND 7 p.m.
Fri. 5 ORLANDO 7 p.m.
Sun. 7 OKLAHOMA CITY 6 p.m.
Tue. 9 DALLAS 7 p.m.
Wed. 10 at Atlanta 7:30 p.m.
Fri. 12 at Boston 7:30 p.m.
Sun. 14 at Cleveland 1 p.m.









Pro football

The 2023 Carolina Panthers’ schedule:

Sept. 10 at Atlanta (L 10-24)
Sept. 18 New Orleans (L 17-20)
Sept. 24 at Seattle (L 27-37)
Oct. 1 Minnesota (L 13-21)
Oct. 8 at Detroit (L 24-42)
Oct. 15 at Miami (L 21-42)
Oct. 22 OFF WEEK
Oct. 29 Houston (W 15-13)
Nov. 5 Indianapolis (L 13-27)
Nov. 9 at Chicago (L 13-16)
Nov. 19 Dallas (L 10-33)
Nov. 26 at Tennessee (L 10-17)
Dec. 3 at Tampa Bay (L 18-21)
Dec. 10 at New Orleans (L 6-28)
Dec. 17 Atlanta, 1 p.m.
Dec. 24 Green Bay, 1 p.m.
Dec. 31 at Jacksonville, 1 p.m.
Jan. 7 Tampa Bay, TBD











High school basketball

Results and schedule for Cleveland, Gaston and Lincoln counties’ high school basketball:

(Monday, Dec. 11)
Cherryville 63, North Gaston 48

Cramer 57, South Iredell 49: Amari Littlejohn (10 points, 3 assists, 2 steals), Javien Robbs (9 points), Taelan Whitley (7 points, 12 rebounds) and Makhi Brown (8 points, 4 rebounds) led Cramer.

Stuart Cramer Record 4-3, at King Mountain Friday 12/15

Bradford Prep 63, Highland Tech 45

Catawba Ridge, S.C. 84, South Point 66

Cherryville 41, North Gaston 39

Cramer 59, South Iredell 57 (OT)

East Rutherford 56, Bessemer City 41

Highland Tech 34, Bradford Prep 27

South Point 48, Catawba Ridge, S.C. 37: Amya Graham (18 points, 14 rebounds, 3 assists) led South Point.

(Tuesday, Dec. 12)
Christ the King at Mountain Island Charter
Lincoln Charter at Community School of Davidson
Crest at Burns
East Gaston at Olympic
East Lincoln at Ashbrook
Fort Mill, S.C. at South Point
Kings Mountain at Shelby
Lincolnton at Cherryville
South Iredell at North Lincoln

(Wednesday, Dec. 13)
Maiden at Burns
Mountain Island Charter at East Rutherford
West Lincoln at Foard

(Thursday, Dec. 14)
Highland Tech at Sugar Creek

(Friday, Dec. 15)
Ashbrook at South Point
Forestview at Crest
Kings Mountain at Cramer
North Gaston at Huss
Bandys at West Lincoln
Bunker Hill at Lincolnton
Lincoln Charter at Langtree
Burns at McDowell
Gaston Christian at Rabun Gap, Ga.
Gaston Day at Westchester CD
Hibriten at East Lincoln
Piedmont CC at Cherryville

(Saturday, Dec. 16)
Gaston Christian at Weddington

(Monday, Dec. 18)
Gaston Day at Grace Christian

(Tuesday, Dec. 19)
Ashbrook at Kings Mountain
Cramer at North Gaston
Huss at Crest
South Point at Forestview
Sugar Creek at Piedmont CC
Bessemer City at East Rutherford
Shelby at Watauga

(Wednesday, Dec. 20)
East Gaston at North Gaston
East Lincoln at Hickory
North Lincoln at Statesville
Burns at Polk
Lincolnton at Hibriten

(Thursday, Dec. 21)
Gaston Christian at Davidson Day
Shelby at Crest

(Thursday, Dec. 28)
Gaston Christian at Mallard Creek










College basketball

Results and schedule for area men’s college basketball:

(Monday, Dec. 11)
Gardner-Webb 79, North Greenville 60

(Tuesday, Dec. 12)
Cleveland CC at Spartanburg Methodist

(Wednesday, Dec. 13)
Appalachian State at Queens
Catawba Valley CC at Cleveland CC
Converse at Belmont Abbey

(Thursday, Dec. 14)
J.C. Smith at Lincoln, Pa.

(Saturday, Dec. 16)
Belmont Abbey at Mount Olive
Charlotte at Richmond
Fayetteville Tech at Cleveland CC
Gardner-Webb vs. Appalachian State at Greensboro
J.C. Smith at Virginia Union
Lynchburg at Davidson

(Sunday, Dec. 17)
Gaston College at Chipola College











Middle school wrestling

Full top 4 individual placement from Saturday’s Gaston County Conference championship tournament held at Cherryville High’s Nixon Gymnasium:

76-pound weight class
1st Place – Grey McQuirter of Belmont
2nd Place – Jacob Thompson of Cramerton
3rd Place – Exavier Byrd of Stanley
4th Place – Jamarion Brown
83-pound weight class
1st Place – Rylan McSwain of WC Friday
2nd Place – Lukas Cala of Cramerton
3rd Place – Espn Carpenter of Bessemer City
4th Place – Andrew Fisher of Mount Holly
90-pound weight class
1st Place – Serious Corzine of Belmont
2nd Place – Bryson Yarbro of Chavis
3rd Place – Cole Overstreet of Holbrook
4th Place – Wyatt Stuart of Cramerton
98-pound weight class
1st Place – William Shaw of Belmont
2nd Place – Karlos Watson of Holbrook
3rd Place – Case Conner of Stanley
4th Place – Gunner Luschel of Cramerton
106-pound weight class
1st Place – Gabe Sides of Stanley
2nd Place – Coley Pruitt of Cramerton
3rd Place – Ethan Johnsen of Chavis
4th Place – Daniel Lewis of Belmont
113-pound weight class
1st Place – Josiah Holt of Belmont
2nd Place – Titus Davis of Cramerton
3rd Place – Debron Rodriguiz of WC Friday
4th Place – Keagan Lucas of Stanley
120-pound weight class
1st Place – Elijah Christenbury of Holbrook
2nd Place – Caleb Johnson of Cramerton
3rd Place – Reagan Beard of Stanley
4th Place – Ethan Conner of Belmont
126-pound weight class
1st Place – Josh Williams of Belmont
2nd Place – Danny Ross of Southwest
3rd Place – Levi Martin of Cramerton
4th Place – Easton Christenbury of Holbrook
132-pound weight class
1st Place – John Hedgpeth of Chavis
2nd Place – Liam Martin of Cramerton
3rd Place – Aiden Gibson of Stanley
4th Place – Darius Stinson of WC Friday
138-pound weight class
1st Place – Johnny Thompson of Stanley
2nd Place – Ryker Hobbs of Cramerton
3rd Place – Quavious Lindsay of Grier
4th Place – Aiden Hollingsworth of WC Friday
145-pound weight class
1st Place – Khalib Huggins of Cramerton
2nd Place – Jayden Morris of Holbrook
3rd Place – Nate Taylor of Chavis
4th Place – Jada Reid of Belmont
152-pound weight class
1st Place – Ammon Scott of Belmont
2nd Place – Braylon Vernon of Grier
3rd Place – David Pugh of Cramerton
4th Place – Christian Carmoma of WC Friday
160-pound weight class
1st Place – Lucas Gunn of Southwest
2nd Place – Micah Gordon of Grier
3rd Place – Jackson Penley of Belmont
4th Place – David Pruitt of WC Friday
170-pound weight class
1st Place – Brayden Jordan of WC Friday
2nd Place – Jackon mayhew of Chavis
3rd Place – Frank Coleman of Holbrook
4th Place – Devon Moore of Stanley
182-pound weight class
1st Place – Gustavo Sanchez of Mount Holly
2nd Place – John Bumgaars of Belmont
3rd Place – Quinston Gordon of Grier
4th Place – Jaden Wilson of Southwest
195-pound weight class
1st Place – Wade Jeffries of Belmont
2nd Place – Kendrell Wray of Bessemer City
3rd Place – Christian Ervin of Stanley
4th Place – Lillian Rogers of WC Friday
220-pound weight class
1st Place – Kolton Jordan of Belmont
2nd Place – Nicholas Schwartz of Cramerton
3rd Place – Malikian Holland of Mount Holly
4th Place – Michael Davis of Southwest
250-pound weight class
1st Place – Gavin Wallace of Cramerton
2nd Place – Josiah Armstrong of Southwest
3rd Place – Jonathan Salgado of Grier
4th Place – Xzavionne Thacker of Bessemer City