With Villanova heading to Houston to represent the Big East in the 2016 Final Four, we at Big East Hoops 24/7 took a very biased trip down memory lane to 1985 when the Big East had 3 teams in the Final Four.
What follows is our recent Q&A with 1 player from each team: Villanova- Chuck Everson St. John’s- Shelton Jones Georgetown- Bill Martin
BEH24/7: What did it feel like to have 3 Big East teams in the Final Four?
Chuck: It was great for the conference to have 3 teams in the Final 4. It put the conference on the map to stay at that point. Knew a lot of the St John’s guys and got to hang with them in Lexington which was pretty cool.
Shelton: To have 3 Big East teams in the 1985 Final Four was not only an awesome feeling for me personally; it was a testament of how dominant the conference was that year.
Bill: It was shocking to see two other Big East teams in the final four and somewhat disconcerting because we had some tough battles with both teams that year.
BEH24/7: What was your role on the 1985 team?
Chuck: My role on the 85 Nova team was to back up EZ-ED Pinckney. I was the first big guy in off the bench.
Shelton: Being a freshman on that 1985 team that boasted 4 eventual first round NBA draft picks, my role was limited to practicing extremely hard to make sure the more experienced players were always prepared for the games. Of course I received playing time in certain games during learning situations, as well as during garbage time. Which was often with that team…
Bill: I was the starting power forward and my role was to rebound and score when open. It made it difficult for teams to double-team Patrick if I was scoring.
BEH24/7: What was it like playing for a legendary head coach?
Chuck: Playing for Coach Mass was a great experience that I would never trade for anything, he taught us more about life than basketball. The relationship is still very strong today 31 years later we talk all the time and we get together several times a year. Once a year around the Superbowl we head down and stay with him at his house eat pasta and drink some wine and laugh about old times usually with at least 8 or 9 guys from the 85 team, pretty special.
Shelton: Playing for legendary Coach Lou Carnesecca was very intimidating, at first. Until I really came to know Coach, I used catch myself looking at him with awe. As time went on I was allowed to see his human side. Coach is a disciplinarian first. Secondly, he is very knowledgeable about the game of basketball and life. Thirdly, Coach is one of the funniest people that I have ever met. He gave me the formula for success in life. Be disciplined, be knowledgeable, and keep a good sense of humor about life.
Bill: We all have the highest respect for Coach Thompson. He was demanding on everyone; players, staff, everyone. It didn’t always feel good but it never feels good when someone is pushing you to be better and do more than even you thought you were capable.
BEH24/7: Are you able to appreciate all of your accomplishments after all of these years?
Chuck: People stop me and ask “how tall are you?” and I tell them, and “did you play?” and I tell them. Then they ask “where did you play?”. When I say Villanova immediately they want to know if I was on that team. When I say yes I hear about where they were and who they were with the night we won that game. Happens a lot.
Shelton: I have been blessed with a wonderful family and a strong core of friends. As I look back to the 1985 Final Four and beyond, I really appreciate the opportunities that my hard work and sacrifice provided me. I understand that none of it was owed to me. It was all a privilege. I also appreciate all the different characters and personalities that I had the privilege of meeting and/or playing with.
Bill: Over the years I’ve come to appreciate what we accomplished. In fact it seems my role has become even more important over the years and my contributions even greater with every passing year.😂
BEH24/7: Who’s winning the National Championship this year?
Chuck: I hope Nova can get this done, not an easy task OK beat us by 30 back in December. Then you have the Orangemen which is always a great classic Big East game or UNC which has some pretty big athletic guys inside. That’s why they play the games, cause you never know….
Shelton: My prediction for this year’s Champion is the repeat from 1985…Go Big East…Go Villanova!
Bill: I’m rooting for OU…Go Sooners! I can’t root for Nova ’85 or UNC ’82 and the rivalry with the Orange still remains fresh.
Our thanks to Chuck, Shelton & Bill for their participation. Also have to send a shout out to Gene Smith for putting this in motion #Hoya4Life.