Today in NC State History: Washburn walks away from Wolfpack

April 15, 2015
By Chris Saunders

historyIconCollege basketball is now living in the “one-and-done” era, with much of the top talent at joining in a mass exodus for the NBA after spending a year or two on campus. Just last week, the University of Kentucky’s top seven scorers from its men’s basketball team, most of whom were underclassmen, announced they were declaring for June’s NBA draft.

But similar decisions were also at play in the 1980s. It was on this day in 1986 when the Technician reported that sophomore standout Chris Washburn was bypassing his last two years of eligibility in order to go to the NBA.


Chris Washburn

Washburn was coming off the 1985-86 season, when he averaged 17.6 points and 6.7 rebounds per game, according to the Technician.

But it was off the court where Washburn became infamous. “…Washburn drew more national attention his freshman year when he stole a stereo from another student’s dormitory room in December 1981,” the Technician reported. “After playing only seven games he was booted off the team and pleaded guilty to three misdemeanor charges.”

It was during his court proceedings that Washburn’s SAT scores were publicized. The low mark resulted in “alarming many observers and raising questions about admissions requirements,” the Technician reported.

Washburn was the third overall pick in the 1986 draft, by the Golden State Warriors. But given that high spot, there were those at NC State still surprised by his decision.

“He had said earlier in the year that he had no plans to go hardship and finish his time at State,” the Technician reported. “[Jim] Valvano had also said that Washburn had told him that he was not going to turn pro.”


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