Flashback: UVA basketball greats shared memories of University Hall

mad about u university hallThe story that sticks with me from my work with Patrick Hite on Mad About U: Four Decades of Basketball at University Hall, involves Bryant Stith, and Ralph Sampson.

“I remember growing up watching Ralph Sampson play against the great North Carolina teams – and you just wanted to be a part of that. My favorite aspect of University Hall is when you walk in, you see him posting up Patrick Ewing. That’s awesome. That’s priceless. If they get rid of that picture, I want to have it,” said Stith, whose first glimpse of the Sampson-Ewing poster hanging in U Hall came during the summer camp he attended in 1985.

Stith then asked me if I knew what was happening to that poster. Maybe he thought, Hey, the guy is writing a book on the history of U Hall, he must work for UVA, maybe he can put a good word in for me.

Nah. I was just some dude, but, nice try.

Patrick and I tracked down so many people to get their thoughts on U Hall, which is set for demolition this week.

One that I was really looking forward to talking to was Richard Morgan.

I mean, if you’re a Virginia fan, and you think of the words Richard Morgan, you think – 39 points against Carolina.

Naturally, when I asked him to share his favorite U Hall memory, I’m thinking, Alright, he’s going to give me every detail of the Carolina game.

“So …” I asked Morgan, “can anything top that night as far as your University Hall experiences are concerned?”

“Well …”

Morgan laughed.

“One thing can top it. I proposed to my wife at center court,” Morgan said.

Yeah,  that would top 39 points against Carolina.

It was a celebrity weekend with Herman Moore, and Morgan went to Moore and his business guy at the time, Lowell Davis.

“I said, ‘Hey, look, can you help me out? I want to propose to her at halftime of the celebrity game.’ He said, ‘That would be great. I wouldn’t have any problem with that,’ ” Morgan said of his plan to propose to his then-girlfriend, Sherelle.

It was apparent from the opening tip that Morgan wasn’t on his game.

“We played the first half, and everybody was like, ‘What’s wrong with him? He ain’t shooting balls like he normally does.’ I was worried to death about everything going right,” Morgan said.

“The first half went through, and then at halftime I proposed, and she said, ‘Yeah.’ It was electric in there,” Morgan said.

Story by Chris Graham

uva basketball team of destiny
Team of Destiny: Inside Virginia Basketball’s Run to the 2019 National Championship, by Jerry Ratcliffe and Chris Graham, is available for $25.


The book, with additional reporting by Zach Pereles, Scott Ratcliffe and Scott German, will take you from the aftermath of the stunning first-round loss to UMBC in 2018, and how coach Tony Bennett and his team used that loss as the source of strength, through to the ACC regular-season championship, the run to the Final Four, and the thrilling overtime win over Texas Tech to win the 2019 national title, the first in school history.
 
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