There is a chance—slim, but interesting to contemplate—that WEST VIRGINIA might just run into enough trouble this year in racking up its fifth consecutive title for the annual rout to be called a race. The three top contenders—George Washington, Virginia Tech, The Citadel—are all well manned by veteran crews, while the Mountaineers must look to reserves and sophomores for another winning combination. Slick old pro George King joins Coach Fred Schaus's staff at West Virginia, and if he is successful in teaching his ball-handling skill to a few Mountaineers, he will more than earn his salary. Sophomore Jim Ritchie makes up somewhat for the loss of three starters here. His presence up front allows Schaus to move veteran Bob Smith to guard. Jerry West, a dangerous shooter and a bear on defense, is the third sure regular. The other positions will be filled, on a revolving basis, by reserves Bob Clousson, Willie Akers, Bucky Bolyard, Butch Goode, Ronnie Retton and Howie Schertzinger and sophomore Joe Posch. There is no cause for panic at West Virginia, but the competition this year will be much tougher than usual. At GW, battle-scarred Coach Bill Reinhart starts his 29th year with five returning regulars: Gene Guarilia, Sam Knisley, Howard Bash, Bill Telasky and Howard McDonald. This is a solid, unspectacular but tenacious bunch that can beat better teams on good nights. If Bill Ingram, a 6-foot-9 sophomore, acquires poise and polish more quickly than expected, GW would really be tough. They were coming along very well at the end of last season. A break in the schedule helps VIRGINIA TECH; they don't have to play West Virginia. Here, too, everyone is back: Bob Ayersman, Chris Smith, Earl Gilbert, Lewis Mills and Duke Rice, plus reserves Dean Blake, Bill Shepherd and Terry Penn. This squad also began to jell toward the end of last season. It should certainly improve its record, despite Coach Chuck Noe's understandably cautious outlook. At THE CITADEL Coach Norman Sloan confidently expects to move up in the standings, and he has good reasons for his optimism. Five of them are returning starters Dick Wherry, Ray Graves, Bob Blackledge, Art Musselman and Teddy Weeks. A sixth and seventh are sophomores Dick Jones and George Wehrmeister, who may displace some older hands on the first five. This may be the fastest team in the conference, running a controlled break with confidence born of a year's seasoning. WILLIAM & MARY will have the tallest starting five in this and many another league, averaging 6 feet 5. It will not be fast, and will therefore use a slow, deliberate offense, stressing ball control. Sophomore Jeff Cohen (6 feet 7) is one of the nation's brightest young prospects. He will team with high-scoring Roy Lange and Bev Vaughan, Chuck Sanders and Tom Farrington. Reserves include Jim Osbon, Ray Varga, Bill Darrow and Dave Bottoms. For the first time FURMAN'S team will be able to practice on a regulation-size court, as the school completes the move to a new campus. Appropriately, Coach Lyles Alley has a strong squad returning—all five starters and all reserve letter-men. They are Tom Conard, Byron Pinson, Dave Shepard, Steve Ross, Dick Wright, Steve Benya, J. C. Rhine and Gordon Blackwell. Two fine transfer students, Pete Carlisle and Buddy Davidson, may make the first five. Though somewhat slow, this is no longer a seventh-place squad. Only five men who have played at all return at RICHMOND, and there is no help from any newcomers. Fortunately, the veterans are fast and rugged, though there is no standout big man. The set team: Carl Slone, Theryl Willis, Butch Lambiotte, Alan Cole and Tom Booker. Sophomore Gerald Sklar, 6 feet 9, will be on the squad, getting experience for next year. The lack of reserve strength here is a grave deficiency. DAVIDSON was the league's best defensive team last year, and enough veterans are back to repeat that achievement. Happily, too, the old hands include the three top scorers: Semi Mintz, Dave Hollingsworth and Bill Shinn. Center Joe Milner will also start, and the fifth will come from among Jim Nuckolls, Joe Markee and Hight Redmond. The one good big man is missing here, too; his absence will have to be overcome by strong outside shooting. New Coach Louis Miller inherits the conference's worst record at VMI and a squad whose average height and scoring potential leave much to be desired. Four returning veterans are Ralph Lawson, Lee Southard, Chuck Cotton and Dave Goode. The other starter will be either Frank Oley or Jim French, with Jerry Lawson slated for reserve use.
William & Mary
Man to watch
JERRY WEST, W. VA.
Unusually long arms and speed afoot enable him to block many passes and shots, literally "surround" his man.