WASHINGTON, D.C. — Jonesville native and Virginia Tech basketball standout Howard Pardue was inducted into the ACC Legends Class of 2016 on Friday night in Washington, D.C. This top honor was awarded to Pardue and 14 other former ACC standouts.
Pardue grew up in Arlington, North Carolina — a little town that used to be on the outskirts of Jonesville — and went to Jonesville High School. When recalling his memories of playing basketball in Jonesville, Pardue takes a moment to remember where it all started for him. He started playing basketball at the age of 6, and would go to the local Elkin YMCA to shoot around with his friends.
When he wasn’t at the YMCA, Pardue would be in his backyard with a ball in his hand. “My goal when I was younger was to shoot 500 free throws and 500 jump shots every single day,” Pardue said over a phone interview on Thursday night. “No matter the weather — rain, sleet, snow — I would get those thousand shots in before I did anything else.”
Pardue was a standout at Virginia Tech in the early ’60s where he was known as the man with the radar touch. “I played forward, guard and center in high school,” Pardue said. “In college I played forward and guard. I was a master of all deeds on the court.”
During his time at Virginia Tech, Pardue was awarded an honorable mention selection for the All-America team by the Associated Press. He was also named All-Southern Conference for three years in a row and was part of the Southern Conference All-Tournament Team for two years. In 1992, Pardue was inducted into the Virginia Tech Hokies’ Athletics Hall of Fame for his contribution to the 1961-1964 basketball team.
Pardue now lives in Henderson, Nevada, where he was driving along the freeway in November when he got the call about being inducted into the ACC Legends Class. The assistant athletic director for Virginia Tech called Pardue and told him he had some information that he needed Pardue to write down.
Pardue pulled over on the side of a busy road when he got the news. “It was a unanimous vote by the committee from Virginia Tech,” Pardue exclaimed. “I have been blessed with a lot of awards and honors, but this is the pinnacle of all of the awards I’ve ever received.”
As for his time in Jonesville, Pardue explained he has been blessed beyond measure. Pardue still has family in the area — his sister lives in Boonville and he has relatives in Burlington — and he comes back once or twice a year to visit. Pardue isn’t shy about crediting his hard work to his success, and he knew those thousand free throw and jump shots every day would end up paying off in the long run.
When asking about his advice to young athletes who want to follow in his footsteps, Pardue noted that kids today are going to have to start giving all they have to one sport. “If you want to be good at one sport you need to devote your time to that one sport and give everything to it,” Pardue stated. “Devote every single day to your passion. It takes an all out dedication, but it’s worth it.”
Pardue hasn’t quite gotten used to being called a legend just yet. “I still can’t wrap my head around that. It’s still hard to put into words, but I’m very humbled and appreciative,” Pardue graciously explained. “It’s good to know that all of my hard work has paid off.”
Kristian Russell may be reached at 336-258-4052 or on Twitter @Kristian_16