1983 Houston Cougars
How talented were the ’82-’83 Houston Cougars?
Well, they had two of the fifty best players in professional basketball history, amidst a roster of other draft
picks and future pros. Individually Clyde Drexler and Hakeem Olajuwon would
spend years demonstrating their capacity to dominate NBA games and playoff
series almost entirely on their own. As college teammates they ran roughshod
over the competition, compiling a 31-3 record and bullying their way into the
Final Four for the first of two consecutive years, only to lose to heavy
underdog North Carolina State on an unlikely last-second dunk. The indelible
image of NC State’s ecstatic celebration juxtaposed with the astonishment and
dejection of the Cougars’ Phi Slamma Jamma superstars remains one of the most
compelling in college basketball history. The Cougars would lose again in the
finals the following year, begging the question of whether this was the single
most talented squad never to get the job fully done.
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