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Wolfpack Great Dereck Whittenberg: “We Believed In That Crazy Italian From NY, He Said We Would Win The Nat’l Championship…And We Did”

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(Photo by Grant Halverson/Getty Images)

(Photo by Grant Halverson/Getty Images)

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The Drive Tuesday 3-19-13 -The NC State legend Dereck Whittenberg talks with The Drive about the phenomenal 30 for 30 documentary “Survive and Advance“.  They get into how hard it was to get everyone back in the same room for some of the filming, what Jim Valvano meant to Dereck as a coach and mentor, and of course we talk about the final play of the 1983 championship game.

Dereck Whittenberg threw up a 30 footer that was as he says in the 30 for 30 film “a;ways a pass” in the 1983 National Championship game.  One of the greatest upsets in the history of the tournament.  This being the 30 year anniversary of that historic run we ask Dereck what made him want to make this film now.

“Its the 20th anniversary of the Jimmy V Foundation, its the 75th anniversary of the NCAA tournament, its the 125th anniversary of NC State University, its the 10th anniversary since I won the championship at Wagner College.  With all those significant dates that ties in to it I just thought it was a perfect time to do it”

Jim Valvano has become a legend in college basketball since his passing in 1993.  Dereck was very close to his coach even after his time at NC State so we ask him just what his coach meant to him and how he affected his life as an adult.

“He always said I’m going to look at you 3 ways, as a person, as a student and as player”

“He had the ability to make me not only believe in myself but believe in the cause”

Dereck’s 30 footer that was put back by Lorenzo Charles in Albuquerque, New Mexico back in 1983 is one of the most memorable finishes in the tournaments history.  So we get Dereck’s thoughts on that play and what he remembers of it.

“It has raised the interest in the Final Four and college athletics  across the board.  It coined the phrase March Madness”

“Its like Jim Valvano said ordinary people can accomplish extraordinary things…and we did”

The Jimmy V Foundation has raised over 100 million dollars since its inception in 1993.  Saving hundreds of lives in the process.  People might only think of Jim Valvano as a coach of this great team but not Dereck.

“His legacy people think is the win in the National Championship this miraculous run in the tournament,  his legacy now is what he’s done for the V Foundation.”

“He raised the awareness of cancer and lifestyle, what he has done in his death has been so amazing”

Catch the 30 for 30 documentary  Survive and Advance on ESPN playing all this month







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