EAST: A wash of optimism has spilled across this entire area, but one team stands out, the NIT champions from PROVIDENCE. Coach Joe Mullaney's front line includes 6-foot-10 Jim Hadnot, last year's leading scorer at 19.3, and 6-foot-10 John Thompson, who averaged 32.2 points with the freshmen. Thompson, a native of Washington, D.C., is a protégé of Boston Celtic Coach Red Auerbach, who reportedly steered him to the Friars to get him within the pros' 60-mile territorial choice area. George Zalucki, 6 feet 6, Tom Nyire, 6 feet 7, and transfer Jim Stone add still more scoring ability. The backcourt has speed and experience in Vinnie Ernst, the NIT's most valuable player, junior Ray Flynn, and sophomore jump-shooter Bob Simoni. Providence is so good that the NCAA will probably make an extra effort to lure the Friars into its own tournament.
St. Bonaventure lost Coach Eddie Donovan to the New York Knicks, and star sophomore Fred Crawford to illness. Crawford and All-America Tom Stith both contracted tuberculosis last spring but are out of the hospital and making a good recovery. New Coach Larry Weise, only 25, will use the fast-break offense and harass-'em defense he learned as a standout player for Donovan in the mid-'50s. With 6-foot-9 Bob McCully improving rapidly at center, Orris Jirele hustling at guard and two fine sophomores coming up in Miles Aiken and John Mahonchak, the Bonnies have good speed and shooting once again.
Canisius has three starters and six reserves back and some dandy sophomores coming up, but the squad lacks height. Ambidextrous Forward Bill O'Connor whipped in 23 points a game as a sophomore, while Tom Chester, his opposite number up front, averaged 15. High-scoring Tony Gennari and Joe Bossert are the best of Coach Bob MacKinnon's new men.
If HOLY CROSS carries out its plan—to run single and double screens all night so Jack Foley can shoot—all the team's points might be scored by one man. Foley, who hits 27 per game anyway, is certainly an excellent shooter, but the new coach, Frank Oftring, has lost all his other starters, and 6-foot-7 sophomore Ward Becht is the only tall man left.
Navy will run the shuffle offense, and with no less than six starters back, Coach Ben Carnevale is understandably buoyant. Strongest area in the deep Middie lineup is at guard, where Captain Dave Tremaine will be joined after the football season by last year's captain, Al Hughes. Tremaine's 14.4 average is bolstered by Forwards Ron Terwilliger (11), Bill Kirvan (10.5) and Mike Nash (10.2), and Center Mike Miga (9.4).
Everyone seems to think NIAGARA will dominate northern New York—except Coach Taps Gallagher. Taps complains he has no one over 6 feet 5, although allowing that in Ken Glenn he does have a topnotch scorer and rebounder. Joe Maddrey, who was to start with Glenn at forward, is ineligible until the second semester, but the backcourt, with junior Andy O'Connell and sophomores Tom Brennan and Jim Kuryak, has shooting ability and depth.
New Coach Jack Kraft comes to VILLANOVA at a bad time. Hubie White, a 21-point jump shooter, is the only returning starter in a lineup that will have to depend on hustle to compensate for lack of height, experience and reserves.
Four returning starters will greet visitors to ST. JOHN'S new 6,000-seat gym, including 6-foot-9 LeRoy Ellis, a good rebounding forward, Willie Hall, and two speedy guards, Ivan Kovac and Kevin Loughery. The other forward position in Coach Joe Lapchick's run-and-shoot offense will probably go to junior Don Burks giving the Red men a fast, experienced and potentially high-scoring unit that only lacks depth up front.
NYU lost its star guard, Ray Paprocky to the scandals, but three other double-figure scorers, Al Filardi, Tom Boose and Mark Reiner, return. Several sophomores, including 6-foot-6 Harold Hairston and Guard Barry Kramer, are bidding for starting spots on Coach Lou Rossini's fast, well-stocked roster, which needs more height and a more alert defense.
Fordham's improved shooting and the arrival of poised sophomore Jim Manhardt could pull the Rams back to the .500 mark—but no higher. Not even a coach of Johnny Bach's ability can make a big winner of a squad with so little bench strength and size. Bob Melvin and Joe Dempsey are the only returning starters.
Manhattan has experience but no height and no reserves, either. Coach Ken Norton's mainstays—Forwards John O'Connor and Alex Osowick, and Guard Doug Rutnik—will rely on speed and percentage shooting, which means that their wins, when they get them, will come the hard way.
Seton Hall, the first to be hit in the scandals, is de-emphasizing—cutting back its traditionally tough schedule against national foes. The team is weaker too, but Coach Richie Regan optimistically plans "some surprises" for opponents who underestimate his short, inexperienced squad that has only one returning starter—14-point-scorer Al Senavitis.
Penn State finally has the size and depth Coach John Egli has been dreaming of for years; but now he has other problems. "We're not too fast," he says bravely. Still, with four reliable starters—Gene Harris, John Mitchell, Jacob Trueblood and Earl Hoffman—and three sophomores close to 6 feet 8, he may not need much speed.
Duquesne is hunting trouble with a schedule that includes Cincinnati, La Salle, Bradley and Dayton. Coach Red Manning has no regulars over 6 feet 5 but he does have high-scoring Clyde Arnold (17.8) and Mike Rice (15.5), along with Starting Guard Bill Stromple and a fine sophomore guard named Willie Somerset. The Dukes can run, pass and shoot, and this time there are 12 of them.
Pittsburgh finally got over the .500 mark last year and when three good sophomores, led by high-scoring Brian Generalovich, get some experience, the Panthers are likely to do even better. Coach Bob Timmons has good shooting and a good bench.
Little ST. FRANCIS of Loretto, Pa. takes on a tough schedule with the same five starters who lost 19 of 25 games last year. Coach Skip Hughes has beefed up his offense with two sophomore forwards, Sandy Williams and Gene DeBerardinis, but is still hardly equipped for the likes of Wake Forest and Ohio University.
Army finally has a 6-foot-8 cadet, and he is, naturally, playing center. His name is Charles Richards, and he is one big reason why Coach George Hunter has the best team in academy history. Four others stand 6 feet 6 or more, although none has yet scored as many points as 5-foot-10 Stu Sherard, who led the nation in free-throw accuracy (.877) and the team in scoring (16.8) last season.
Syracuse lost 19 of 23 games last winter and all its starters through graduation or scholastic difficulties. Coach Marc Guley thoughtfully calls his unsettled starting unit "a dark horse." Others, less charitable, say that there will be some games this year in which the Orangemen might not score.
Boston College brings back its four top scorers and a deep, fast backcourt to give Coach Don Martin high hopes of improving last year's erratic showing. Forward Jim Hooley, at 22.3, paces double-figure-shooters Jerry Ward, Jerry Power and Bill Donovan. Two of them, however, may have to take a back seat to speedy Guards Bill Foley and Chuck Chevalier. Problem: the Eagles need a center.
Boston University was shaken by the loss to illness of 6-foot-8 Center Dick Moreshead and the departure from school of outstanding Forward Larry Isenberg. The Terriers' makeshift attack will now rely on 6-foot-5 transfer Larry McNulty and sophomore Adam Florczak. But without a tall center or any depth, Coach John Burke can't expect too much.
Colgate's sound defense, a fast backcourt and some good percentage shooters should give the Red Raiders another winning winter. Bob Duffy, the big scorer for Coach Howard Hartman, is backed by John Doyle and John Durkee at guard, but there is a lack of tall and experienced help for Mel Watkins up front.
SOUTH AND SOUTHWEST: Coach Peck Hickman had a team that was a peck of trouble for everyone last season. Only two starters return to LOUISVILLE but they are impressive ones; 6-foot-8 Center Bud Olsen and Guard Jadie Frazier, who sank 45% and 52% of their shots last year. Muscular sophomore Ron Hawley is a sure starter at forward and another new man, Ron Rooks, who has strengthened his jumping by wearing weights around his ankles in practices, will help at guard.
A good fast-break forward, Frank Snyder, is the only returning starter at MEMPHIS STATE, but with able sophomores Coach Bob Vanatta's boys won't finish much worse than last season's 20 and 3. The best sophs are George Kirk, a 6-foot-2 guard, and Bob Neumann, a 6-foot-5 forward. Two young centers, Jamie McMahan and Don Drewell, lack rebounding finesse, so State may have to slow down its run-and-shoot offense.
The word at LOYOLA OF NEW ORLEANS also is, "Look out for the sophomores," and the warning is justified. The only two experienced starters, Guards Darryl Tschirn and Bob Weber, may not even keep their jobs. Bob Luegers, a strong 6-foot-7 center who can drive, leads the sophomore contingent. His classmates, Gene Turni and Ken Ryan, will start at forward, completing a smooth and fast forecourt.
Captain Paul Tagliabue will lead an experienced GEORGETOWN team that has senior starters Bob Sharpenter (6 feet 7) at center and Jim Carrino at guard. Vince Wolfington, out last year with a broken wrist, adds height and depth to the forecourt, with a sophomore, Jim Christy, a possible starter at guard.
Miami, playing a major independent schedule though a member of a small conference, will have its excellent playmaker, Julie Cohen, at guard to operate behind a very tall (and very inexperienced) front line. Not many rebounds should elude 7-foot-1 Mike McCoy, 6-foot-9 Lou Alix and 6-foot-8 Lee Woods. Finesse has been replaced by muscle.
Florida State University Coach Bud Kennedy has a 6-foot-6 forward, Dave Fedor, with All-America potential, and an exceptional shot in Center Ray Swain, as well as the rest of his starting lineup from last season. The guards, Jack Davis and Dale Ricketts, will lead State's already disciplined and careful offense—an offense that will be improved through experience.
Houston might have been one of the top teams in the Southwest, but Captain Tommy Thomson came down with hepatitis and the loss is enough to make Coach Guy Lewis sick himself. Now veterans Don Schverak, a 6-foot-4 forward who has recovered from a knee operation, and Jack Thompson, a guard, need assistance. Most likely sources are Bob Vasquez, a sophomore guard, and two junior-college transfers, 6-foot-10 Center Pete Petrou and 6-foot-6 Forward Folly Malone.
Abe Lemons, coach of OKLAHOMA CITY, has called his team "slower than grandma's go-cart." He had his players wear gloves during early scrimmages to force them to concentrate on ball handling. But the team actually has good speed, adequate shooting and a most promising sophomore, 6-foot-5 Bud Koper, who can play forward or guard. He will take the pressure off 6-foot-9 Center Bill Johnston and two returning starters, Guards Larry Jones and Gary Hill.
MIDWEST: This is a section which traditionally produces very strong independent teams. It will again this year. Six-foot-six All-America candidate Garry Roggenburk will be co-captain at DAYTON, where Tom Blackburn has a coach's dream, an unusually quick 6-foot-10 sophomore center, Bill Chmielewski. This pair assures the rebounding needed to set up Dayton's fast-break offense. Tom Hatton, a playmaking guard, also returns and will likely be joined in the backcourt by Stan Greenberg, who showed considerable talent two years ago but sat out last year.
"We're strong in every category," says XAVIER Coach Jim McCafferty, without a blush. He's right. Five starters are returning from last season's NCAA Tournament team, and they will be joined by a big sophomore prospect, 6-foot-7 Bob Pelkington. Jack Thobe, the 6-foot-8 rebound leader, is at center, while accurate Bill Kirvin (.474 average) and Jim Enright are at guard. Xavier has a tough schedule, but a wealth of material to face it with.
Marquette played four sophomores last season and still made the NCAA Tournament. This year it will be greatly improved behind the giddy dribbling of little (5 feet 10) Richard Nixon and willowy fellow guard Ron Glaser, who jumps high in the air to fire line drives into the basket. Dave Erickson moves from forward to center, while a junior-college transfer, Bill Johnson, will help the Warriors' scoring punch in the forecourt, along with Bob Hornak.
De Paul, which relies on crisp passing, will be hurt by inexperience at guard where two sophomores, Emmette Bryant and Dave White, may start. Bryant has shown much promise and both may develop quickly. Bill Debes is an adequate, if not outstanding, center, and the forwards are two 6-foot-5 veterans, M. C. Thompson and Dick Cook.
A shortage of guards also is a major concern of Bob Calihan at DETROIT, but one of the country's best forwards, 6-foot-6 Dave DeBusschere, will keep the opposition's mind on the forecourt. He averaged 22.1 points a game last season and will likely do better now that the scoring emphasis will be solely up front. George McDaniel and a sophomore, Ed Ferguson, contend for the center spot, while another sophomore, Al Cech, may open at a guard position.
The luck of the Irish is changing, and Johnny Jordon's team won't be playing below .500 again this year.
Notre Dame's two 6-foot-6 slam-bang forwards, Armand Reo and John Dearie, will be crashing the backboards once more, while hard-driving Eddie Schnurr runs the show from his guard position. Their experience will mean greater success this year.
Loyola of Chicago finally has some height, though it is present in untried sophomores Victor Rouse, 6 feet 6, and Leslie Hunter, 6 feet 7, both of whom may start. Their rebounding will greatly help the returning starters, Michael Gavin and Jerry Harkness, who broke three Loyola scoring records last season.
Tony Hinkle at BUTLER thinks this is his best squad since the war. His fast, sharpshooting team that beat the likes of Purdue last season is all back, With jumping-jack Gerry Williams (5 feet 9) at guard and Tom Bowman, a deadly jump-shot, at forward. Jeff Blue, a 6-foot-6 sophomore who averaged 20 points a game as a freshman, may add some needed height up front.
The AIR FORCE ACADEMY is suffering. The Falcons will run their disciplined shuffle offense smoothly, thanks to such experienced returnees as Center Henry Viccellio (6 feet 5), Forward Bob Schaumberg and Guard Jim Diffendorfer. But good speed and above-average shooting can't consistently make up for missing height.
FAR WEST: The shotgun offense brightened the football season and now a basketball team is boasting of one, too. SEATTLE experimented last year with this new formation, which is designed to trap the weakest opposing player, and now will use it more. The trigger man is sensational Eddie Miles, a guard who averaged 20.9 points a game last season. He is the major scoring threat on Coach Vin Cazzetta's talent-rich squad. Five starters are back, including 6-foot-9 Richie Brennan and 6-foot-7 Ernie Dunston, and a 6-foot-7 sophomore, John Tresvant, is good enough to make the first string.
Idaho State's Coach John Evans will open up his usually deliberate offense to take advantage of sound rebounding and fair speed. A good sophomore, 6-foot-4 Art Crump, will fill out an experienced team that includes rugged Al Rolf (6 feet 8) at center and slick Frank Swopes at guard. Lack of depth is a problem.
A demanding schedule will prove a fair test for PORTLAND'S best team ever. Coach Al Negratti looks for improved scoring and rebounding from a team that has four starters back: Center Bill Garner (6 feet 10), two 6-foot-5 forwards, Art Easterly and Roland Carpenter, and Guard Frank Bosone. Jim Dortch, a 6-foot-4 sophomore, gives solid backcourt height.
Gone from GONZAGA is the nation's top scorer, Frank Burgess, but more balanced power from four of last season's starters could make this an improved team. Bob Hunt, a 6-foot-5 forward, will lead the club. Two newcomers add needed rebounding: George Trontzos, an unpolished 7-foot-1 center from Salonica, Greece, and Jim Dixon, a 6-foot-8 forward.
Dobbie Lambert has an experienced nucleus at MONTANA STATE COLLEGE, with a sound guard and forward combination in Tom Sawyer and John Bryant, and 6-foot-8 senior Gordon Haugen at center. With four big transfer students also available, the Bobcats will be slightly better this season.
Fresno State had two guards last season whose average height was—in today's game—an unbelievable 5 feet 6. Both are back, and the smaller, 5-foot-5 George Sarantos, will start again. But he has three big new playmates on the first string: Tony Burr and Eddie Greene (6 feet 6 and 6 feet 2), both junior college transfers, and 6-foot-9 sophomore Center Ron Neff.
SMALL COLLEGES: With its entire starting lineup back, PRAIRIE VIEW has an excellent chance to repeat as the nation's top-ranked small college. Coach Leroy Moore's 25-2 squad again will be led by Cornel Lacksy and Zelmo Beaty. The success of the season depends, as usual, on the outcome of two games with GRAMBLING. There Coach Fred Hodby has won 137 of 160 games in his five-year tenure. He has six regulars back from his 1961 NAIA champions, including 6-foot-8 Charlie Hardnett, a second team All-America, 6-foot-10 Willis Reed, 6-foot-10 Tom Bowens, high-scoring Hershell West (18.9) and Guards Bob Ricks and Rufus Calhoun.
Tennessee A&I is trying hard to get out of the small college ranks. Hoping to become the first Negro school ever to qualify for the NCAA big college tournament, A&I will play 13 major schools. Unfortunately, Coach Harold Hunter has lost four regulars from last year's 24-5 team, so Porter Meriwether and Eugene Werts will lead a young squad in the climb up.
JOY AT ANNAPOLIS is reflected in smiles of Coach Ben Carnevale and members of his experienced team (from left), Mike Miga, Captain Dave Tremaine, Joe Broz and Bill Kirvan.
EXPRESSIVE COACH Eddie Hickey runs hard preseason drills at Marquette, where a team of disciplined veterans should do well.