Teammates gather to say goodbye to Virginia Final Four hero Kenton Edelin

By Jerry Ratcliffe

Photo: HelpHopeLive

Notre Dame assistant head coach Anthony Solomon spoke revererently about former teammate Kenton Edelin on Saturday afternoon, moments after the Irish had lost a close game to Virginia in Charlottesville.

Solomon, who graduated from UVA in 1987, was a member of the 1984 Cavaliers team that made an unexpected run to the NCAA Final Four, a team that included Edelin. A memorial service was held Saturday in Alexandria for Edelin, who died at the age of 60 on Christmas Eve.

“We’re family,” Solomon said of Edelin and the rest of his teammates and coaches from that memorable postseason ride.

Five other teammates from that squad made it to Edelin’s hometown for the memorial: Ralph Sampson, Rich Carlisle, Ricky Stokes, Dan Merrifield and Tim Mullen, along with team manager Tom Baker and former assistant coach Craig Littlepage and wife Margaret.

Carlisle, who now coaches the NBA’s Indiana Pacers, was able to fly in for the service because of the league’s All-Star break. Carlisle remembered that he and Edelin not only were UVA teammates, but both had dinner together as NBA rookies, Edelin with the Pacers and Carlisle with the Boston Celtics.

A few of Kenton Edelin’s former teammates got together to remember the former Cavalier in Alexandria.

Edelin had been a key factor in Virginia’s upset win over Bobby Knight’s Indiana team in the NCAA Tournament in 1984 (see related stories on this site). A backup center to All-American Sampson for his sophomore and junior seasons, Edelin played a significant role in ‘84 after Sampson had been the No. 1 player in the NBA Draft.

He posted 62 career blocks, 318 points and 444 rebounds over his Cavalier career, but his most glorious stretch came in the 50-48 Elite Eight upset win over the Hoosiers. Edelin scored five crucial points in the final 90 seconds to help UVA pull off the stunning upset.

Edelin arrived at Virginia as a walk-on out of Hayfield High in Alexandria. At 6-foot-8, 204 pounds, he had some body building to do, but eventually made it onto the varsity as a sophomore and went on to play in 97 games.

In March of 2022, he suffered multiple ischemic strokes, causing significant brain trauma, paralyzing the left side of Edelin’s body. He fought the good fight until succumbing in December.