(Photos Uploaded By Alan Cutts)
Today’s photo is from January 19th, 1977 as Littlejohn Coliseum is packed to the rafters for a basketball game against Maryland.
Clemson fans, excited about the 1977 basketball season, were even more excited to see Tree Rollins in his senior year. As you can see from the first picture, this game was televised by NBC and had the Clemson faithful fired up. Clemson would win the game 93-71. The Tigers would go on to defeat Duke in the first round of the ACC Tournament in March before falling to Virginia in the 2nd round.
The seven foot one inch Wayne "Tree" Rollins was an Associated Press third team All-American in his senior year. Rollins established 10 individual Clemson records for shot blocking, rebounding, and field goal accuracy.
He also established an NCAA mark for starting 110 consecutive games and was the first Clemson athlete to have his jersey retired.
Rollins is one of the Clemson basketball program's most famous alumni. He dominated inside play on the hardwood for the Tigers from 1973 to 1977 and was an intimidating and prolific shot blocker and rebounder.
Behind Rollins' forceful play, the Tigers improved each year he was on the team. Over his career, Rollins averaged a double-double for four straight seasons (the only Clemson player to do so). He was a three-time second-team All-ACC selection and a third-team All-American in 1976-77 (the first Clemson basketball player to earn a spot on an AP All-American team). At the conclusion of his career, he had started in a then-record 110 straight games for Clemson.
His career numbers at Clemson easily speak for themselves. He is Clemson's career rebounding leader with 1,311 and still ranks fifth in ACC history. He is the third ranked player in ACC history with 450 blocked shots, however he is first on a per game basis. He is ranked fourth in career double-doubles at Clemson with 85 and is one of only two Clemson players in history to record a triple-double (twice doing it with blocked shots).
After leaving Clemson, he was drafted with the 14th overall pick of the 1977 NBA Draft by the Atlanta Hawks. Playing 11 seasons with the Hawks, Rollins ranks fourth in club history in rebounding, first in blocked shots, and third in games played.
He was the first Clemson athlete to have his jersey retired, as his number-30 was placed in the rafters prior to his final home game. A member of the ACC's 50-Year Anniversary team, Rollins was inducted into the Clemson Hall of Fame in 1987.
(Note: If you have old pictures dating before 1990 that are Clemson related and you would like to share them, send them to me in an email with as much information about the picture as you can give and I will use it for a future “Clemson Historic Picture Of The Day”).
Scott Rhymer can be reached at Scottrhymer.firstname.lastname@example.org