The famous Lorenzo Charles, former North Carolina State basketball player, tragically died in a bus crash Monday of this week while driving a bus for Elite Coach.
It was about 28 years ago when Charles gained his spot as a star with NC State Wolfpacks. In the game against Houston, Charles grabbed Dereck Whittenburg’s 30 foot shot and dunked it at the buzzer, giving NC State a 54-52 win and the second national title for the team. At the time of this major victory, Coach Jim Valvano ran out into the court, looking for someone to hug and showing an outburst of joy—this has become a lasting image in the NCAA tournament.
Associated Press says Whittenburg was despondent when discussing this unfortunate accident. He stated, “It’s just an awful day, an awful, awful day.”
According to Channel 2 WSBTV, Elite Coach’s general manager Brad Jackson said Charles worked for his company and was driving one of the company’s buses on Interstate 40 at the time of the crash.
Not many details have been released regarding the crash. There were no passengers aboard the bus and the crash only involved the bus. Pictures and videos show a tree sticking through the window frame of the vehicle as well as the rear wheels of the bus on the embankment.
The famous win against Houston is still a lasting memory for many because of Charles’ great slam dunk at the buzzer and the reaction from the coach, Jim Valvano. Charles played one season in the NBA with the Atlanta Hawks in 1985-86, having an average of 3.4 points per game.
In college, Charles finished with a total of 1,535 points, which was 15th on the school’s scoring list and a .575 shooting percentage in 1985, which is the school record for seniors.