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How Wolfpack nation stormed Applebee’s for a chance to see NC State’s beloved DJs

For a few hours Tuesday, it seemed the entire NC State fan base descended on an Applebee’s in North Raleigh, where a pair of DJs — Burns and Horne — drew a rabid red crowd.

The Wolfpack men’s basketball stars signed autographs and took pictures for nearly two hours, and the fans were so ecstatic that one who came from Burns’ hometown of Rock Hill, S.C., stood trembling while he held his phone up for a Facetime video.

NC State’s DJ Horne, left, and DJ Burns Jr. pose for a photo with fans at the Triangle Town Center Applebee’s in Raleigh on Tuesday, April 2, 2024 ahead of the Wolfpack’s Final Four game on Saturday.
NC State’s DJ Horne, left, and DJ Burns Jr. pose for a photo with fans at the Triangle Town Center Applebee’s in Raleigh on Tuesday, April 2, 2024 ahead of the Wolfpack’s Final Four game on Saturday.

Another fan waited on a scooter, nursing a broken leg.

Five-year-old Walker Merritt and NC State’s DJ Burns Jr. share a moment as Burns and DJ Horne, left, sign hundreds of autographs at the Triangle Town Center Applebee’s in Raleigh on Tuesday, April 2, 2024 ahead of the Wolfpack’s Final Four game on Saturday.
Five-year-old Walker Merritt and NC State’s DJ Burns Jr. share a moment as Burns and DJ Horne, left, sign hundreds of autographs at the Triangle Town Center Applebee’s in Raleigh on Tuesday, April 2, 2024 ahead of the Wolfpack’s Final Four game on Saturday.

Another carried a hubcap someone lost at the NC State Bell Tower after a victory party, which has now been photographed as a good luck talisman at multiple Wolfpack-themed events.

“It was such a community-building experience to be in my hometown of Raleigh with everyone rooting for the same team,” said Carol Jenkins, who didn’t mind missing autographs at the back of the line behind probably 500 fans. “It was so gratifying to take my 11-year-old daughter to experience the same things I experienced in 1983.”

Hundreds of NC State fans wait outside the Triangle Town Center Applebee’s in Raleigh on Tuesday, April 2, 2024 hoping to get autographs from DJ Horne and DJ Burns Jr. ahead of the Wolfpack’s Final Four game on Saturday.
Hundreds of NC State fans wait outside the Triangle Town Center Applebee’s in Raleigh on Tuesday, April 2, 2024 hoping to get autographs from DJ Horne and DJ Burns Jr. ahead of the Wolfpack’s Final Four game on Saturday.

At the event’s end, fans rushed a car with tinted windows, thrusting pictures and a basketball at the driver inside.

“I’m not a player,” he explained.

But he signed anyway.

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