Hoop Hogs Heaven: Remembering the 30th anniversary of the Razorbacks national championship

LITTLE ROCK, Ark. – Thirty years ago, on April 4, 1994, the Arkansas Razorbacks men’s basketball team won the NCAA national championship and cemented one of the most critical sports victories in the Natural State’s history.

In a tense battle at the Charlotte Coliseum against the home state Duke Blue Devils and future hall of famer Grant Hill, the Hoop Hogs won 76-72, creating a moment many Arkansans will remember forever.

One key component of the team’s success was coach Nolan Richardson’s “40 minutes of hell” offense.

WATCH: Scotty Thurman looks back at ’94 Championship game against Duke

Another factor was sophomore Corliss “Big Nasty” Williamson and his sharpshooting teammate Scotty Thurman, who hit the game-clinching shot.

“Obviously, the shot that Scotty hit to take the lead is something I will never forget,” John Engskov, a former Razorback guard, remembered. “Many people probably forget we trailed by 10 in the second half that game, and to come back against Duke in their home state was an incredible memory.”

In addition to being the school’s only National Championship in basketball, it is also the school’s only National Championship in a sport other than cross country and track & field.

“To be a part of the team I grew up loving and being a part of history of winning the only unshared National Championship in the history of the school in football, basketball, or baseball is unbelievable,” Engskov stated.

Razorback legends Scotty Thurman, Corliss Williamson coach locally in Little Rock

For former Razorback guard Davor Rimac, the win was historical in multiple ways.

“I am still the only Croatian player that won the NCAA championship,” Rimac stated. “Obviously, as a team, we achieved something historic for the program, and for me, it took a few years to really register what it meant.”

In addition to Williamson’s 13th-round selection in the NBA draft, teammates Corey Beck, Clint McDaniel, and Darnell Robinson would also spend time in the league.

Ten years after winning a college title, Williamson went on to win an NBA championship with the Detroit Pistons.

It’s Official: Nolan Richardson Named to Basketball Hall of Fame

Coach Nolan Richardson went on to be the winningest coach in the school’s history. He was inducted into the College Basketball Hall of Fame in 2008 and the Basketball Hall of Fame in 2014.

“The chance to be around a person like Coach Richardson, who shared his wisdom on not only basketball but how to deal with life, was invaluable,” Engskov remembered.

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