How did you end up in Charleston?
"I spent the first part of my business career in Columbia and the state of South Carolina in the banking field. I was in Raleigh the last two years and had mainly invested in real estate and became very concerned because of my banking background. Most recently, I have invested in biotech companies. In July of last year, I started spending a lot of time here looking to settle here in Charleston. This is my home from here on out. I just love Charleston. I love the beaches and the ocean. It's a beautiful, beautiful city, a very friendly city. To me, the quality of life in Charleston is as fine a quality of life as anywhere I've ever been."
Do you still play sports?
"Two to three years ago, I said to myself the major thing I need to be doing now is working on my health. So I'm a member at MUSC, go there every day and work with a trainer. I play a little bit of tennis, a little bit of golf. But nothing to compete. If I don't keep score, that's fine. I'll get in the pool and swim, but I'm not a very good swimmer. The main thing I do is some weight training and cardiovascular. I love to walk."
What was your feeling on being selected for the South Carolina Athletic Hall of Fame?
"It's a tremendous honor when you're deemed and your name is set alongside most of the greatest athletes that have ever participated in South Carolina or been a part of South Carolina athletics in some way. To be going in as a tandem with Jack (Thompson) shows that it's just not about statistics or play that I had individually, but how the two of us excelled as a team. A third sense would be what I call gratitude. I've been fortunate to have had great coaches, Frank McGuire, Donnie Walsh and the gentleman who recruited me, Kenny Stibler. Then there was my freshman coach, Buck Freeman. My parents who were very supportive. And also the professors I had who dealt with young student-athletes, or athlete-students with such wisdom. I've put a lot of thought into the people that helped me get where I am today."
How did you end up at South Carolina?
"I was a better baseball player than a basketball player in high school. As a sophomore, I was first team All-New Jersey and I was going to follow baseball. Coach Stibler saw me play one (basketball) game and the major thing he liked was my aggressiveness on the court. He was an assistant at Loyola of New Orleans and asked me if I'd like to go there. I wasn't being highly recruited. They were looking at three guards. Two things happened. Coach Stibler left the next year to go with Frank McGuire at South Carolina, and I was the one guard Loyola chose not to take. (Stibler) asked me if I would like to go to South Carolina. I had not visited South Carolina until I signed my letter of intent."
Were you still trying to play baseball?
"I came on a basketball scholarship, but I was considered a 'two-fer.' I wasn't considered a blue-chip basketball player. I played baseball my freshman year and hit over .380. In basketball, I led the (freshman) team in scoring with about 25 points a game. We had a terrific team. We were (McGuire's) building blocks."
I understand that team had a guard who loved to pass and another who loved to shoot. Which role did you play?
"I was the shooter. I played a lot without the ball. Jack was so good with the ball. He was like a magician. Frank McGuire and Al McGuire (the former Marquette coach) both said he was a better dribbler than either Bob Cousy or Pete Maravich. I could handle the ball and I was a good passer, but I was also a scorer. Jack handled the ball so well I found out if I could get open for a second I would get the ball."
What was your most memorable college game?
"There were three off the top of my head. The first was our third game my sophomore year (1965-66). We played Duke, which was ranked No. 2 in the country and UCLA was No. 1. We beat them (73-71). I've never experienced anything like that. The other two came in my senior year (1967-68). We played at Duke in Durham, and we had a great game plan. We wound up beating Duke that day on their home court (56-50). They were a top-10 team. That same week we played North Carolina and it was their senior day. They had Larry Miller, Charlie Scott, Dick Grubar, Rusty Clark. They were a great, great team that would go to the NCAA finals that year and play UCLA. Amazing, we beat them (87-86). To beat Duke and North Carolina, both in the same weeks, on their courts, was just a tremendous thrill."
What kind of team did the Gamecocks have in those days?
"Gary and I were drafted in the first round of the NBA Draft, and that was only the third time in ACC history that had happened. Jack was a magician with the ball. Our tallest player was Gary Gregor, who was 6-7. Frank McGuire had recruited a guy, Mike Grosso, who averaged 30 points and 33 games in high school and was the second best player coming out of high school behind Kareem Abdul-Jabbar. Mike would have been a freshman when I was a sophomore. That team, we felt, would have been playing UCLA in the finals. Then Mike was declared ineligible."
Do you think you guys would be drafted today?
"Yes. Fans think about people shooting two-handed set shots, but I'm in every book Frank McGuire did showing how to shoot a jump shot. Jack Thompson and I, we were showtime. Our style of play, what Coach McGuire did, would work today. We believed in three facets of the game. The offensive end, the defensive end and transition, how do you transition from offense to defense. If you miss a shot, what do you do? You better run right back. And if you get a steal of defense, what do you do? You fast break. We were allowed to fast break anytime we got the rebound."
What are your thoughts on the current version of South Carolina basketball?
"Darren Horn, I think he's doing a terrific job. I think South Carolina exceeded any expectations what a reasonable support would have had for last year, tying for first place in the SEC East and fighting at the end for an NCAA bid. What I saw for the first time in a long time was passion among the fans, what you used to see. I believe Darren Horn is building a program. He's pulling in the fans. He's a very hard-working guy and he's also a bright guy. I'm excited."
A Frank McGuire memory or two?
"When you had meetings with Frank McGuire, he would start with your head and work his way to your feet. Did you need a haircut? Were you clean shaven? Did you have a shirt with a collar on? He didn't like shorts. Loafers were OK, but you better have socks. If you didn't, you got sent back. He was teaching us for when you go out in the real world. He was a mentor. Our team had five of the top 30 players in the history of the school, and who was the biggest star? Frank McGuire, and he knew it."
Other McGuire memories?
"The day we beat North Carolina at North Carolina, we started talking about throwing Coach in the shower. It was such a huge win. But not, we threw Donnie Walsh in the shower. He was just a great man. We won because he was our coach, and he won because we were his players. It was a magical time. Coaches like him are so incredibly rare, because they care."
You were a good baseball player. Did you consider pro baseball after you left the NBA?
"I didn't. I was mentally tired coming out. I was so mentally exhausted, I wasn't thinking straight. But I don't regret it. I'm the only member of my family to have his own business. I've been so fortunate, when I look at my friends and my family."