It’s ACC tournament time!

Evey year when Earth reaches this part of its orbit around the sun, another globe reaches its pinnacle: Basketball at the annual ACC Men’s Basketball Tournament.  The Atlantic Coast Conference held its first men’s basketball tournament in 1954 at Reynolds Coliseum in Raleigh, making this year its 58th occurrence. And while some may think the ACC and its annual affair has lost its luster, (note that the linked-to article is illustrated by a Morton photograph) it will still generate excitement for many—especially those in our spot on the planet where UNC and Duke might just have another chance to battle each other on the neutral court inside Greensboro Coliseum.

Although Hugh Morton photographed basketball games well before 1954, he seems to have photographed his first ACC tournament in 1958. No negatives prior to the 1958 tournament have surfaced after processing.  The photograph above depicts UNC coach Frank McGuire during an ACC Tournament game that year, and the pinback button is one of only two official photographer’s passes for the ACC tournament in the Morton collection. (The other pass is for 1969.) Want to see more ACC Tournament photographs by Morton? Follow the link to view more than 300 scanned thus far in the online image collection . . . and see if you can find the photograph of a “jump ball” being tossed by a North Carolina governor!

5 thoughts on “It’s ACC tournament time!

  1. P081_NTBR2_002309_00.

    This image, shot on March 6, 1975, shows Gov. Jim Holshouser tossing up the ball to open the ACC Tournament in the Greensboro Coliseum.

  2. Smith Barrier published a book about the ACC and Hugh supplied the photographs. If the shot of Sudhop is not in that book it would be because it was not taken at an ACC game. Smitty was a purist. As I remember the shot was not made at an ACC game, but my memory of it may not be correct.

  3. Julia, I believe the Glenn Sudhop image that you mentioned is P081_NTBR2_005613_30.TIF with the following description:

    N.C. State player Glenn Sudhop fouling Larry Harrison at Wake Forest University vs. N.C. State basketball game, most likely during ACC tournament. Caption provided by photographer: “Glenn Sudhop of N.C. State obviously fouled Larry Harrison of Wake Forest. Smith Barrier, for many years the dean of Atlantic Coast Conference sportswriters, said this was the best basketball picture I ever made. I tried to explain that Sudhop was merely showing polite sportsmanship by lifting Harrison up from the floor, but Barrier wouldn’t listen.”

    Sudhop played at NC State from 1976-1978 and during those years State never played Wake Forest in an ACC Tournament game. Therefore, as you say, the picture was not taken at the ACC Tournament and of course is not in the Smith-Morton book, “The ACC Basketball Tournament Classic.”

  4. As Julia Morton mentioned in a comment this morning, Smith Barrier (former executive sports editor of the Greensboro “News & Record”) and Hugh Morton published a book in 1981 titled “The ACC Basketball Tournament Classic.” In it they covered every ACC Tournament from 1954 – 1981. There are 12 tournament images in the book from 1954 – 1957. 10 of them are credited to the Raleigh “News & Observer,” 1 is credited to Burnie Batchelor, and 1 doesn’t have a credit.

    This would seem to verify that Morton didn’t have images from his own collection for these games.

    However, during the 1997 event in Greensboro, “News & Record” award-winning feature writer Jim Schlosser wrote a front-page article about Hugh Morton. The article appeared in the March 9, 1997 edition of the paper and was titled, “Shooting with the Best of Them.” There is a large color photograph of Morton court side at the Greensboro Coliseum. The caption reads, “Hugh Morton has photographed every ACC Tournament, save one, since the first in 1954 in Raleigh.” The quote is repeated in the article. Jim Schlosser would include that quote only if he had a reliable source for it. I have followed his work since 1967.

    Is it possible that there were Morton images from those first ACC Tournaments, but they wound up somewhere other than in his photo collection? Morton was always eager to share his work with newspapers, and there were many Morton photos in the NC Collection at Wilson Library long before his body of work came to Chapel Hill. There are also many Morton photos in the UNC Sports Communications Office.

    So, did the early ACC Tournament images wind up in the same place as the early NC Sports Hall of Fame images?

  5. Billy Packer made that up! But it is a nice yarn.
    The only ACC Tournament that Hugh acknowledged he missed was when we were in Israel in March of 1973, I think. He could have been wrong, of course
    Hugh always gave Aycock Brown, who faithfully promoted the Outer Banks, credit for originating the phrase “You have to take the mail to the Post Office.”
    Hugh did have a host of friends from all places and all walks of life. He got a kick out of the time Wallace Wade spotted him at a NC Sports Hall of Fame banquet and made a Bee-line for him. He said, “Hugh, will you do me a favor, will you introduce me to Dean Smith?” (With pleasure!)
    Interestingly, Charles Kuralt had never met Dean Smith till I put them at the same table at our 50th Wedding Anniversary dinner in Chapel Hill.

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