The screech of tipoff whistles, the slap of a thousand sneakers on hardwood, the swish of leather through cord herald the start of the college basketball season this week. Sports Illustrated's selection of the 20 best teams begins on the following page, and on page 54 the editors note some others that may spring surprises.
The scholastic standards of New York University occasionally pay off for Coach Lou Rossini when they attract someone like Barry Kramer, a premed student who is—coincidentally—the best college basketball player in the U.S. this year. More often, though, those standards raise havoc with Rossini's plans. Like players in a marathon poker game, squad members move in and out of the lineup as their grades are reported. Latest returns from the dean's office show Tom Boose back in, Neil O'Neill out. Both are guards, though Boose is a converted forward. He is the better scorer, but O'Neill will be missed because he is the best backcourt playmaker the Violets have or, rather, had. Pending further academic bulletins, however, NYU has everything else.
This should be the first national champion from the East in a decade. Every coach, of course, has problems, but they are usually of the we-need-a-big-man or we-need-some-one variety. Rossini has the personnel. Even without O'Neill, he has enough to overwhelm every squad on his schedule. His chief concern is to get his first five to play together as a team instead of as a bunch of individual showboats. (Kramer is a happy exception.) A lesser but serious problem is 6-foot-7, 225-pound Happy Hairston, who has the speed, mobility and natural talent to be an All-America like Kramer. But Hairston takes such a casual attitude toward basketball that no one would be surprised if he forgot to show up for a game.
On the plus side, every Violet player is a superb and enthusiastic rebounder; when a team misses a shot against NYU it rarely gets a second chance. Kramer is an all-round whiz: pass, shoot, jump, defend. Transfer student Ray Bennett, 6 feet 8, completes a fast, powerful front line. NYU's guards, 6-foot-5 Bob Patton and 6-foot-3 Boose, will be bigger than most of the backcourt men they meet and will yield nothing in speed. The bench is more than adequate. Sure early victories over weak teams will propel NYU into prominence, and then the incentive of a national title within their grasp should force these fine players to act as a team.
2 SAN FRANCISCO
Unranked and unnoticed, the Dons moved with a typically deliberate speed last season that almost carried them to the championship of the Western Regionals. They lost no one of importance, have some talented newcomers, and a year of experience with their highly disciplined style at both ends of the court has made them into a tough, cohesive unit. They are going to surprise all the pollsters. The Dons are so well drilled by Coach Pete Peletta that they rarely beat themselves. Peletta is a bright young strategist and an effective recruiter. Previously, he was also a fidgeter and shouter, but he became so uncommonly quiet in practice this fall that two well-meaning senior players asked him seriously if he were "sick or something." Peletta is sick like Popeye the Sailor Man. "Our weakness, if we have one," he says, "is defense." Well, the Dons were ninth in the nation in defense last year and cannot fail to be better. Defense is an obsession with the basketball school Peletta represents; other successful practitioners have been Phil Woolpert and Pete Newell. With improved rebounding, SF occasionally will use a fast break this year. Normally, however, Peletta prefers a patterned offense that, as the season wears on, will be directed more and more by sophomore Russ Gumina. At 6 feet 2 and 210 pounds, Gumina looks like Rocky Marciano and is just as strong. Senior Jim Brovelli broke a small bone in his wrist, but will be back in three weeks to team with Gumina in the backcourt. Huey Thomas is the other starting guard. The Dons have their best center since Bill Russell in 6-foot-8 Ollie Johnson, who averaged 17.3 as a sophomore. But the top point man this year may turn out to be Dave Lee, a 6-foot-7 forward who came on strong late last season. Eddie Thomas, a fine defensive performer, will start at the other forward, but two sophomores—Joe Ellis and Erwin Mueller—are putting pressure on the first five. SF players are aware, if the polls are not, that they can be title contenders. So is Peletta. His pipelines are so crammed with basketball players that he eased up on recruiting last year. When Pete Peletta stops hollering and cuts down on recruiting at the same time, he is holding a very pat hand.
In 1948 Ozzie Cowles coached the only postwar Big Ten champion from Michigan. When he and the team got back to Ann Arbor from the NCAA tournament, a campus acquaintance stopped him, inquired politely about his health and asked where he had been for the past few days. As soon thereafter as possible, Cowles left Michigan for places where basketball was appreciated a bit more. Times have changed in Ann Arbor. Nobody asks Coach Dave Strack where he has been lately. It is evident he has been out in the bushes drumming up talent, and he has got a hatful. If Michigan comes out unbowed from the annual bloodbath that is the Big Ten conference race—and it should—it may well be the favorite in the NCAA title round. Basketball is now so big in Ann Arbor that this fall, for the first time, students paid for football tickets. This doesn't make sense until you understand that 20,000 students used to be admitted free to football games, but this year they paid $1 a game in order to get preferential seating for the basketball season.
Michigan was 16-8 last year, but 10 of the wins came in the first 11 games. Center Bill Buntin, first in the Big Ten in rebounds, third in scoring, simply ran out of help. The difference this year is a superb group of sophomores. Up front with Buntin are two of them—Jim Myers (6 feet 8), who is primarily a scorer, and Oliver Darden (6 feet 7), strong on defense and rebounding. The Wolverines' board work compares with NYU's and Loyola's. Cazzie Russell, a 6-foot-5 sophomore who will start at guard, "can play in our league right now," says one NBA coach. Russell will also fill in at forward and is even able to relieve Buntin at center. He will cause quite a defensive stir among teams with 6-foot guards. Strack has another good 6-foot-5 backcourt man in Larry Tregoning, but Captain Bob Cantrell probably will start with Russell. Doug Herner, another starter last year, gets bumped. Cantrell has a big role: he must pace the kids. They may be too frisky and too sure of themselves for the smartly coached teams in this conference. Russell, for example, has already forecast two NCAA titles for himself and his classmates. He may be right.
People planning parties in Wichita have been careful for some time to avoid a conflict with the school's basketball games, but if the Shockers make the Midwest Regionals—played this March in their own field house for the first time—there is going to be one mighty big party all over town. And if the Shockers do make the regionals, a trip on to the finals seems as safe as surplus wheat. Wichita loses in Wichita about as often as it rains in Death Valley (annual precipitation, two inches). Last year the Shockers beat three of the top four nationally ranked teams (they did not play the fourth), including NCAA champion Loyola and Cincinnati, but seemed to lack incentive against lesser lights. Coach Ralph Miller says his team is prepared this season "to go calmly ahead and play all our games the way we want to play them." The Shockers press full court, they like the fast break and—that failing—they work in well. Last year 80% of their shots came from within six feet of the basket.
Inside 25 feet, All-America Dave Stallworth can make any shot. A 6-foot-7 forward, he is almost impossible to stop one-on-one. He has excellent peripheral vision, is a fine passer and ball hawk. Stallworth has been double-teamed in the past, but if Center Nate Bowman continues to improve, opponents will find that costly. Bowman averaged a mere 9.2 last year and, sporting a beard, was something of a clown. But the beard is off, Bowman is serious, and he could score twice as much and foul half as frequently. Student Government President Dave Leach, who seemed hampered by nervousness last year, is at the other forward, with sophomore Kelly Pete (15.2 points and 15.2 rebounds a game with the freshmen) moving up from guard to relieve Leach occasionally. Pete and 5-foot-10 John Criss will alternate in the backcourt alongside Leonard Kelley during the first semester. Ernie Moore will replace Kelley for the second. Kelley and Moore both have one term of eligibility left, and Miller is spreading their talent over the season. Moore, a superb defender, is being held out for the last half because that is when the NCAAs take place. Also, Armageddon (nicknamed Cincinnati) shows up twice on the schedule in the second semester this year.
A good basketball player without knee trouble is about as rare these days as a movie star without a nose bob, and nowhere are bad knees more in fashion than on Philadelphia's Main Line, where one of the nation's slickest backcourts is returning from surgery. So far it looks as if the knees in question are sound again. If so, so is Villanova. The celebrated joints are those of Wally Jones and George Leftwich, sophomore stars two years ago: both quick-handed defenders and good shooters. Last season Leftwich could not play at all; Jones did, but at half speed. Still, with his long jump shot, he averaged 16.7. This pair will outsmart many an opposing backcourt of more imposing size and muscle. So will Jim Washington, 6 feet 7, a center last year, but now moving to forward because Coach Jack Kraft believes he will play better facing the basket. Washington was always exceptionally agile and now knows how to use his speed and mobility—some of this undoubtedly picked up at a summer recreation center where he scrimmaged with pros. The other forward will be sophomore Richie Moore, who averaged 23.6 with the freshmen. This is such a potent scoring team that Center Al Sallee—an ex-Quantico Marine—needs to do little but stand tall. "Just block out and rebound," says Kraft. Sallee does not jump too well but starts at 6 feet 8. If Moore and Sallee cannot play both ends of the court, Kraft will staff his combination zone and man-to-man defense with Eric Erickson, a starter last year, and sophomore Mike Tralies. The Wildcats operate out of a basic 2-3, but when an opponent with the ball works in too near the basket, he gets man-to-man coverage. Kraft has an offensive bench, too. Since sophomore Bill Melchionni can score, Kraft will go with three backcourt men on occasion. Bernie Schaffer, another sophomore, can out-shoot Sallee and Tralies, so he will play a good deal, too. That sounds like a lot of sophomores, but Kraft controls the youngsters well. Indeed, the best thing about this team is its coaching. In a scrimmage against NYU, the Wildcats demonstrated they can push a club with superior personnel to the limit, using their heads and following intelligent direction.
Will success spoil Loyola? Not likely. Coach George Ireland had his boys running with the cross-country team this fall, to get in I shape, and the champions were running proud, not cocky or scared. They still are. Is the loss of Jerry Harkness critical? Probably not. No team loses an All-America with complete impunity, but in some ways this year's is a stronger squad. Then why should Loyola lose its title? The answer is that a number of other teams, like the five here rated above it, have improved much more than Loyola, if it has at all. Many still believe the champions were lucky to win last year. They were not. Against extremely disciplined clubs like Mississippi State and Cincinnati they kept their poise and just refused to be beaten. They will do that again, often. Others believe the Ramblers do not play defense. Indeed they do. Their first line of defense is powerful, four-man rebounding that keeps the ball away from the opposition for long spells, the best defense of all. Away from the boards they play individual rather than team defense, but this was good enough to upset Cincinnati under pressure in the finals, and it is again that good. What about offense? Harkness averaged 21.4 points a game—but somebody else was averaging 70.4. All of those somebodies are back. Since the Loyola attack was all fast break, the loss of a Harkness is considerably less significant than it would be on a deliberate-offense team. Ireland is not changing his style of attack, though he is altering a few of the options that emphasized Harkness' role. The only starting vacancy will be filled by either Chuck Wood, last year's sixth man, or by Jim Coleman, who was All-Army in 1961-62 and the Loyola freshman high scorer last year. If Coleman starts, springy Ron Miller will move into the forecourt with Vic Rouse and Les Hunter. And this year there is some depth in the forecourt: sophomores Frank Perez (6 feet 6) and Tom Markey (6 feet 5). Chunky little John Egan is still around to hustle the ball into the break. Loyola plays a rugged road schedule without some of the breathers that helped it to make those area-code scores 11 times last year, and everyone, of course, will be laying for them, hoping to catch their jumping jacks with unaccountably heavy-soled sneakers.
The fast break makes Coach Ed Jucker cringe. "I don't go out and get a good six-nine center," he says, "and then let a five-nine guard lose me the ball." After years of remarkable success with his pattern-style game, Jucker is not going to switch to the break, but he is going to open up Cincy's offense and call for more shooting. He has to—to win. He has lost three superb defensive players—Tony Yates, Tom Thacker and Larry Shingleton—and his opponents are going to score more than they have in the past three years. Jucker does have his good center, maybe. He is 6-foot-8 Ron Krick, the boy who broke Wilt Chamberlain's Pennsylvania high school records. This is Krick's third year at Cincinnati—and all he has to show for the first two are three freshman games and two constantly dislocated shoulders. This fall he had surgery, and since the operation he has come along very slowly. Krick has looked good with the ball, but his rebounding, jumping and defense have not been up to par. If Krick makes the lineup George Wilson can shift back to forward, where he is more effective. So far, in practice, Wilson has scored almost at will against Krick. With Krick on the bench Thacker's forward post is open. Gene Smith, a spot player last year, has the inside track, but freshman MVP John Serbin should move in before long. A brawny 6-foot-6, Serbin was high school All-America in football and basketball, but has been slowed by a bad toe. Ron Bonham, naturally, is the other forward. Probably the best shooter in college today, he appears to be bearing down as never before. "I think he'll want to go to the board more," says Jucker. "I think he'll want to bow out in a big way." In his search for points, Jucker may start sophomores Roland West and Dave Cosby. They can shoot from outside and are much bigger (about 6 feet 4) than the usual Cincy backcourt prototype. If he goes for experience, Jucker will start juniors Fritz Meyer and Ken Cunningham, who are better at setting up the front line. The Bearcats should be slow to form, but tough down the stretch. There was another Cincy team like that. It started poorly but became the national champion. It was the 1960-61 bunch, and Jucker is very mindful of the fact.
Jay Buckley, the 6-foot-10 center for the Blue Devils, is a bright young physics major who was one of 60 students handpicked from all over the country to take part in a National Aeronautics and Space Administration summer program. "Jay," Coach Vic Bubas said recently, "I wouldn't be surprised one of these days to read that you are the first man to land on the moon." "Oh, I don't know, Coach," Buckley said. "If I get there, I'll probably find you already there looking for ballplayers." Buckley's answer was not all gag. Though the collegiate Player of the Year, Art Heyman, has graduated, demon recruiter Bubas has made enough finds to keep Duke among the nation's elite. Heyman will be missed, of course. He was the rare kind of player who could break a game open, and the team depended on him—perhaps too much. He took 36.3% of the starting five's shots. The major share of Heyman's burden falls on Captain Jeff Mullins (20.3 last year). Physically, though, Mullins, can never be another Heyman. At 6 feet 4 and only 185 pounds, he literally gave out several times last year. But he actually is a more accurate shooter than Heyman and is a good floor leader. Buckley and another 6-foot-10 man, Hack Tison, will complete the front court. Tison is much the better shot, but Buckley is the stronger and rebounds well. Still, neither of the two will ever cut it at Muscle Beach, and an opponent with a rugged pivotman likely would force them and the team into foul trouble. Brent Kitching, a 6-foot-7 junior, is thus an important reserve; if he works into the lineup Duke will be better off, since Bubas then can alternate his big men. Buzzy Harrison won a backcourt post during last season, and is the logical choice to keep it. There is a scramble for the other guard position among two juniors, Ron Herbster and Denny Ferguson, and two sophomores, Steve Vacendak and Frank Harscher. Duke is well-drilled defensively and will switch from a zone to man-to-man the way so many southern teams do. If this squad is not as explosive as last year's, it has better balance and greater depth.
9 KANSAS STATE
"Good things are meant to be shared; so is basketball shooting," reads a sign in the K-State locker room. This really is not an exhortation by Coach Tex Winter against hogging the ball. It is an accurate indication of how the game is played in Manhattan, Kans. State almost always has so deep a squad that the shooting automatically is spread through two platoons. This bench strength has been a key factor in State's record of four Big Eight championships and two ties for the title since 1956, and it is very much in evidence this season. There are six strong front liners: Willie Murrell, Jeff Simons, Joe Gottfrid and Dave Nelson at the corners and Roger Suttner and Gary Williams at center. At guard are Max Moss, Ron Paradis and Richard Barnard. This crew has height, speed and experience. It lacks only a little beef, which seems odd in a school in the heart of the cow country, whose training-table steaks are supplied free by proud alumni. The 7-foot Suttner, who has never quite lived up to his promise, "is not a real free-wheeling center," Winter puts it somewhat wistfully. He seems to be playing more aggressively in practice than in the past, but his interest is still minimal. "He shows up because he has to, not because he wants to," says Winter. Two genuinely talented players are Murrell and Paradis. In Winter's triple-post offense, with each player handling seven or eight options, Murrell moves in and out of the corner or post with ease, can score from outside or underneath equally well. He had trouble learning Winter's system last year but is relaxed and playing with abandon now. Paradis is as fanatic as Suttner is indifferent, spends his spare time running off reel after reel of old State games, studying players he will meet and the successful moves of teammates. He has excellent moves of his own, including an accurate long-range jumper that he flips off the two outside fingers of his hand instead of the index and middle fingers as most players do, but he is a streak shooter. Paradis can run a fast break, so Winter may use it a bit more than he has recently. He will not depart from his aggressive defense, however. Kansas State will again use the full-court press, and not just when it is behind and trying to catch up. The rest of the time it will play a half-court press. The rest of the Big Eight is warned.
10 ARIZONA STATE
Politicians in Arizona may be a little coy about running, but not Arizona State basket-bailers. Coach Ned Wulk has recruited a fine crop of quarter horses for his fast break, and all the sophomores moving up have two things in common—they are fast, and they don't come from Arizona. Instead, Wulk found one apiece in Winamac, Ind., McKeesport, Pa. and Manitowoc, Wis., and he found two in Struthers, Ohio. But speed, as the National Safety Council points out, does not always get you there. The Sun Devils have had impressive records of late (26-3 last year), but they often have a hard time adjusting to a slowdown game. A lot of teams, of course, have tried to drop the tempo at Tempe, but Arizona State usually managed the switch against local competition, simply on quality. Really good defense and controlled play can beat them, which is why one coach says they are not a "tournament team." Nevertheless, there are not many defenses good enough to contain this offense. Wulk has lost one starter, but his fast guns, Joe Caldwell and Art Becker, are back. Both averaged 19 points per game, and Becker's improvement off the boards (11.2 rebounds a game) released Caldwell, who may be the fastest 6-foot-5 man in college, for more up-court work on the break. Additional help is expected this season from Dennis Dairman, who scored 12.5 last year as a guard. Back at forward, a position he much prefers, he should do better. Junior Gerald Jones will take over Dairman's old spot alongside Gary Senitza, the team quarterback. Senitza gets the few points he scores when they count most, and he is the one who leads the adjustment to a slowdown. His value increases this year, since there is no experience at all on the bench, just sophomores and two junior college transfers, Luther Harper and 6-foot-10 Jim Proctor. Arizona State plays a tough intersectional schedule this year, and must also contend with the fact that almost every team in the Western Athletic Conference is improved, particularly New Mexico. But Wulk and his road runners are still too fast company for most of their competition.
"Frankly," Coach Chuck Orsborn says, "I don't know what our style is. We shift around so much, I don't see how anyone could do a good job scouting us." Orsborn is telling only half the story. It 'is not just the shifting that will make Bradley tough this year. It is what Orsborn has to shift: a tall (for a change), deep, talented squad with the speed and rebounding skill that were missing last season. Orsborn will also have his fine center, 6-foot-9 Joe Strawder, and Levern Tart all season. Last year Strawder was ineligible until February, and Tart flunked out at midsemester and missed the last half. Right now Tart is the best player on the team; Orsborn cannot decide whether to use him at guard or forward and just wishes he were twins. At guard four lettermen are available: Rich Williams, Rich Donley, Bobby West and Leon Hall. Williams is a certain starter; Donley has been erratic in recent practice. There are three good sophomore forwards: Eddie Jackson, Ernie Thompson and Ron Martin. The first-two are very good—they averaged 18 points apiece with the freshmen and are leading contenders for starting jobs with Ron Patterson, a junior who saw little action last year and senior Steve Day. Thompson is the shortest, at 6 feet 3, but he still managed to pull down 14 rebounds per game. Jackson, however, pulls down the raves. For one thing, he was something of a cause cél√®bre in Illinois. In his junior year at Peoria's Manual High he turned 19 just before the state finals. This made him ineligible and set up such a fuss that the age rule subsequently was changed. Now a mature 21, Jackson is a slender 6 feet 6 and can do almost anything but gain weight. He is especially impressive on defense. As Orsborn puts it, "Most sophomores can't guard the coach, let alone their man. But Jackson will do a better job than our upperclassmen."
Despite Orsborn's typically wry and cautious statements, excitement about Bradley's chances is beginning to spread around Peoria. The February 27 game with Cincinnati was sold out before tickets were put on sale. Student and alumni demand left nothing for the general public. If there were a winter book for the NCAA, Bradley would be the most interesting long-shot choice.
12 NOTRE DAME
The Irish were 12-4 last year when exam grades were posted. There went star sophomores Ron Reed and Larry Sheffield, and there went the season. Reed, also a pitcher, mused over bonus offers. Sheffield fumed. He had lost his eligibility, he said, because one of his professors decided Sheffield had a poor attitude. That professor, the Notre Dame student magazine is quick to point out, has left the school. Reed and Sheffield are back on the squad. Unfortunately, the rest of the team looks like central casting for a full season of Ben Casey. Larry Jesewitz, 6-foot-8 center, has been struggling with mononucleosis. Jay Miller, a rugged 6-foot-4 forward, got excited watching Sandy Koufax strike out Yankees on TV, fell off his chair and needed several stitches in his head. More serious are his troublesome knees, which have kept him from getting into top shape. Coach John Jordan decided on Pat Dudgeon as point man for his 1-3-1 offense. Dudgeon promptly broke a wrist. This forced a harassed Jordan to move Sheffield into the playmaking role. Sheffield can score (16.1), and he is a fine defender—it is almost impossible to lose him behind a screen—but he is not a natural floor leader. If Dudgeon can work the stiffness out of his arm quickly, now that the cast is off, Sheffield will be more effective moved back to a wing. Jordan feels Dudgeon will be ready by Christmas. The long-legged Reed will definitely play the other wing.
The Irish will be mean off the boards, and their height is made to order for the zone defenses that Jordan likes to use. The big man is Walt Sahm (6 feet 10), who was fifth in' the nation in rebounding last year, despite the fact that he does not jump well. But he does have a fine shot. Sahm, Reed, Sheffield, Miller, Jesewitz and Dudgeon are all juniors, so look out for the Irish next year. Senior forwards Sam Skarich and Captain Dick Erlenbaugh will also play regularly. As usual, Notre Dame has a rough schedule with few home games, but if everybody gets well and slays that way, and pays attention in class, this will be a lucky 13th year of coaching for Jordan. After this past football season, Notre Dame could use a few victories.
13 OKLAHOMA CITY
The Chiefs are taller than any other college team in history and some pro teams today. They have a 7-footer playing forward, which must be some kind of a first. The starters average 6 feet 7[2/5] and the fifths are important, because last year OCU set the record at 6 feet 7[1/5]. With all this height the Chiefs can afford to shoot a lot, and they do. Guards Bud Koper and Gary Hill averaged more than 20 points per game last year, and while Hill is with the San Francisco Warriors now, Koper goes on shooting for Oklahoma City. There were 19 scorers in the nation ahead of him last year, but he led everybody in most baskets (286) with almost 10 a game. Most of Koper's points came on his long jumpers, and he is big enough and strong enough (6 feet 6, 210 pounds) to throw them in from up to 40 feet away. He seldom drives, though, and converted only 3.4 free throws a game, less than anyone else who scored as much as he did. Backcourt company will be Charles (Big Game) Hunter (6 feet 5), a sophomore who replaces Hill. Big Game averaged 24.3 with the freshmen and can also play up front if Coach Abe Lemons wants to bring in his little men—5-foot-11 Dick Bagby or 6-foot-2 sophomore Jerry Lee Wells. Big Game, Bagby and Wells are all from the same area of southern Kentucky. Joe Gibbon, another top reserve, is something of an oddity, coming as he does from Oklahoma City. He is also getting a reputation as a good clutch player.
Bespectacled 6-foot-8 Center James Ware will be the second starting sophomore. Ware averaged 19 points and 19 rebounds with the freshmen. One forward is Jim Miller, a bruising 6-foot-6 Loscutoff type who seldom scores but is rough off the boards and on defense. The other is Eddie Jackson, the 7-footer, agile enough to bring the ball up-court in a press situation. OCU did not get started last year till Jackson became eligible at midyear. But then it ran off 10 in a row to make the NCAAs. In the second round, against Colorado, Koper and Hill both went cold. Shooting is still this team's forte, and when Koper is hitting the big Chiefs will be hard to stop.
14 GEORGIA TECH
For years the Southeastern Conference was merely a private kingdom for Kentucky's Adolph Rupp. Then Babe McCarthy and Mississippi State took over the lease. Now, one-team rule is out. There does not appear to be a national champion lurking in the pack, but as many as five teams are logical contenders for the conference title. The balance is unusual, and Georgia Tech has just a little bit more balance than anyone else. Tech had its best record in 25 years last season, and the circumstances behind it are what really make this team look so good. For one thing, Coach Whack Hyder was installing a new 1-3-1 offense last year, so his team took a long time getting ready. Moreover, Tech made its good showing on sophomore strength. Experience and familiarity should breed more contentment this time around. The Yellow Jackets' stature could be diminished most by a professor, for strong man Jimmy Tumlin, who missed last year with injuries, is having trouble in a physics course. Tumlin, 6 feet 7 and a strong rebounder, is the best big man ever turned out by a local high school. Eligible, he will provide solid board work from the low post. Jim Caldwell, the sophomore who led the team in scoring and rebounds last season, will work at high post. A bone chip in his foot, which irritated him all last season, has been removed and, as a bonus for Hyder, Caldwell grew another inch to 6 feet 10. Two other sophomore stars of last year are also set: R. D. Craddock, who will play on the point, and Wingman Ron Scharf. Senior Charlie Spooner will be on the other wing. Hyder likes' to platoon, on the theory that it gives him a chance to see more players early in a game and he can pick out the hot ones to finish up with. Newcomer Tommy Roberts has shown the hottest hand on the club in practice. He is also a fine playmaker. Another, Boogie Hill, will sub at a post while freshman leading scorer Mick Stenftenagel can play wing or pivot. There are more adequate reserves, and though Hyder has no big scoring threat, he does have the material to find a few shooters every game. His ace in the hole, as usual, is Tech's tenacious defense, often featuring a well-executed zone press.
In this state football's popularity relegates basketball to a level of existence approximately paralleling plant life. Thus, when a good team comes out of the Southwest Conference, nobody really believes it. But Texas became a good team last season, and Coach Harold Bradley has almost the same cast back. Bradley's teams are teams. Ten players got into 24 of the 27 games last year, and All-Conference Center Mike Humphrey led his associates with such measly totals as 12 points and seven rebounds a game. But the whole shifting lineup scored 72 a game, and a shifting man-to-man held opponents to 61.9; the Longhorns won 20, lost 7 and ran off with the SWC. Just one starter is gone, although one so-called "alternate starter" and two reserves also graduated. One sophomore, Forward-Guard Paul Olivier, is picked up in return, but the real concern is whether a leader can be found to hold things together the way Guard Jimmy Gilbert did. Larry Franks, a junior who developed into the Longhorns' best all-round player late in the season, is a likely candidate. Last year he was still adjusting to a forward position from the pivot, which he had played previously, and averaged only 8.3. Now he seems completely at ease in the corner. Humphrey is a senior, but he is married and has a wealth of outside interests. He has switched his major from pharmacy to education and zoology. His latest plan is to attend morticians' school. He is also a super summer salesman (knives) and a hobbyist flyer, and wanted to be a commercial pilot until he outgrew (to 6 feet 8) cockpit regulations.
Playmaker Jimmy Puryear broke his hand recently, and this will force more responsibility upon Jimmy Clark, the other backcourt starter. Clark is a flashy dribbler who has tended toward showboating, so now even more depends on his settling down. His marriage this past summer—four of the Longhorns are husbands—may help. Tommy Nelms will fill in for Puryear until the hand heals, while Joe Fisher, a good defensive man, will start up front with Franks and Humphrey, with John Paul Fultz and Harvey Holliman in reserve. There is talent enough here for another romp in the SWC. "I don't think we'll wind up second," Humphrey says. "We'll either get butchered or win 'em all."
Harry Golden writes his only-in-America success stories in Charlotte, N.C. He could find a classic athletic example of the Horatio Alger saga just a few miles away in the hamlet of Davidson, where 1,000 men attend the smallest college in the Southern Conference. Davidson is a fine little school academically but had always been an athletic loser. Until Lefty Driesell arrived three years ago, its specialty was certainly not basketball players. Dean Rusk was one; who can name another? Driesell changed that. He now has so many good players that, breaking the law of averages, one of them turned up named Davidson. The Wildcats can take on anyone in the country. They were 20-7 last year, and only one regular was graduated. In his place is sophomore Dick Snyder, a 6-foot-5 forward, who can run fast, jump high and score (25.9 as a freshman). He also plays football—all 10 Big Ten teams tried to get him as their quarterback—and baseball and sometimes tries track. Horsing around one day, he broad-jumped 22 feet in a baseball uniform. Snyder may outscore Center Fred Hetzel, the 6-foot-9 conference MVP, who averaged 23.4 with 13.2 rebounds. Hetzel pairs with Captain Terry Holland, a 6-foot-7 senior, in Driesell's double-post offense. Holland is just one of the Wildcats' good shooters and rebounders; the team was fourth in the nation in rebound percentage and seventh in shooting. If the back-court appears to lack scorers, that may be misleading. Don Davidson is 6 feet 5 and so good defensively that he was assigned to guard all the top opposing forwards last year, and his shooting suffered. But he has worked on it, and the results already show. Playmaker Barry Teague is another fine defensive man and keeps his starting job from the better-shooting Charlie Marcon because of it. Little Davidson is loaded. It has to face five conference champions on a tough schedule, but what better way to play Horatio Alger?
A precocious junior named Craig Cordes is only a reserve, but for a couple of very different reasons he is one of the most important substitutes on campus. First of all Cordes, who was graduated from high school when he was all of 16, is an A student. Because Stanford adheres to the somewhat novel theory that athletes must be effective students, Cordes' academic offices are much in demand on the team, which he serves as unofficial tutor. IQ aside, he is 6 feet 6½ and a stand-in for the Indians' All-America candidate, Center Tom Dose. The best big man Stanford ever had, Dose has a wispy "knuckle-ball" shot that seems to bounce into the basket under its own delicate propulsion. The Big Six's leading rebounder last year, Dose can hook with either hand. He also hooks people with either hand, and fouled out of nine games last year (still averaging 20.8 points per game, a school record), with the bulk of his indiscretions coming on unnecessary grabbing when he tired near the end of each half. Dose has a habit of holding his hands unusually high, and Coach Howie Dallmar believes this strange posture rather than any physical difficulty causes his fatigue. If Cordes develops quickly and can fill in adequately for Dose, Dallmar will have one of two big problems solved. The other is defense. Last year's starting guards graduated, and Hollis Moore, a 6-foot-4 senior forward, has had to be moved to the backcourt to fill the void. However, Moore also fouls too much. He will start with 5-foot-8 Lew Shupe, a streak shooter. Kent Hinckley and Chris Babbs, who is even shorter than Shupe, are ready to move up if the first-line defenses falter. The forward line is set and strong. Dose will be flanked by hard-working Clayton Raaka and by Bob Bedell, who is quick, a good shot and, incidentally, Cordes' major scholastic reclamation project. Both Raaka and Bedell rebound well and, with Dose, can control the boards. The Indians should win the Bix Six title, which they unaccountably blew to UCLA last year by losing their last three games.
Clyde Lee grew up to be 6 feet 9 a mile or so down the road from the Vanderbilt campus, in the same Nashville neighborhood that gave America Dinah Shore and Pat Boone. Lee is an unaffected, even-tempered sophomore who gets very good grades in mathematics and plays the pivot so well that tickets to Vanderbilt games are suddenly going as if this was Grand Ole Opry instead of basketball. Actually, Lee is only partially responsible for the boom. The Commodores won their last five games last season against some of the best in the Southeastern Conference, and most of that 16-7 team is back. There is also a special spirit about this group. Vandy's football fortunes have been so low for so long that the basketball players have decided it is up to them to uphold the school's fair name until the new coach, Jack Green, brings the football team back to respectability. Lee is the personification of all this. He is the only local boy on the team, and he followed a positively Jack Armstrong high school career with a freshman record of 24.2 points and 22.5 rebounds per game. While he has a chance to be the Commodores' first All-America, underrated Guard Roger Schurig is at least of All-Conference caliber. The team's high scorer last year (16.8), he is also its leader, top comic and a good boy to have on a burning deck—he made baskets in the final 10 seconds to win five games last season. Coach Roy Skinner will use a double post. To go with Lee under the boards he has steady Bob Grace, who is 6 feet 7 and averaged 13.4 rebounds a game last season. Playmaker John Ed Miller, who moved into the lineup last year when the team got hot, will start with Schurig. The fifth starter will be Wayne Taylor. There is only one senior on the roster, so things are just starting to move at Vandy. An SEC championship or two, and people might forget they were trying to forget football.
19 OREGON STATE
Mel Counts, the Beavers' All-America center, measures 7 feet, but apparently he does not believe it. Instead of using his size under the basket, he prefers to stand outside and throw up jump shots as if he were a mere 6 feet 7. This is like Sandy Koufax playing second base. Only occasionally does Counts try to play the Bill Russell-style, big-man's game that demoralizes the opposition. He is, more naturally, a corner man—a position he probably will play in the pros. Counts can shoot (he has added a hook this year), he has improved defensively and is steady under pressure. Though he wanders from the basket, he still averaged 15.6 rebounds last year, almost three times as many as anyone else on the team and 12th best in the nation. This year Counts's board work will be even more critical, for the Beavers have only two other men over 6 feet 3, and one—6-foot-5 Terry Dreisewerd—has been a disappointment. A junior college transfer, Dreisewerd has not been able to rebound the way he did against lesser competition. Similarly, another junior college grad, John Chambers, has found varsity competition a bit sticky. Chambers was the 10th highest junior college scorer, but is not shooting well in this company. Despite key losses from last year's fourth-place NCAA team, Coach Slats Gill starts his 36th year at OSU expecting more speed and better shooting, especially from his backcourt men, Jim Jarvis and Frank Peters. Jarvis was welcomed in 1962 with the kind of advance publicity usually reserved for Hercules movies. The buildup unnerved Jarvis—he averaged only 6.2 and rarely approached his potential. This time around he should be more relaxed and closer to form. Peters, on the other hand, was a pleasant surprise last year. He is a gritty player, not easily upset, and should improve with experience. Returning starter Jim Kraus (6 feet 7) was counted on to give Counts some rebounding help, but smaller sophomores Rick Whelan and Scott Eaton have won the two forecourt berths from Kraus and Rex Benner. There seems little doubt that Counts's senior season will be his best, but unless the backcourt matures quickly and the little Beavers get busy off the boards, Oregon State will be hard-pressed to stay on top in the West.
20 UTAH STATE
Considering that the Aggies have no bench, Coach La-Dell Andersen might be expected to treat his first five like Dresden china. On the contrary, he runs them, likes to see the scrubs slug them ("three fights a season is about right") and shrugs off scrimmage bloodshed under the boards as "just one of those things." For as much as Andersen would like to protect his regulars even from the common cold, they will have to learn to be tough to get through the season all by themselves. There is at least some solace in that the Aggies' best player, junior Wayne Estes, looks indestructible—a 6-foot-6, 227-pound cross between the village blacksmith and the spreading chestnut tree. Estes weighed 245 last year when his mother was mailing cookies from home in Anaconda, Mont., but Andersen persuaded her to send him the cookies this year. Andersen likes the cookies, and he also likes the streamlined Estes, who has more mobility but no less strength. He has improved defensively, too, and State needs defensive help. Between Estes and 6-foot-8 Center Troy Collier, offense is no problem. Collier scored almost as well as Estes last year (18.2 to 19.9) and rebounded better (11.0 to 9.4). They are the only returning starters from last year's 20-7 NCAA team, but they are a nice solid base on which to build. The Utah State offense is geared strictly to getting the ball to the big men so, naturally, the other forward, Larry Angle, is also a scorer. Senior Gary Watts, a sub last year, will team at guard with LeRoy Walker, a junior college transfer. Walker is only 6 feet tall, but he can jump 34 inches from a flat-footed stance. Andersen is so desperate for front-court reserves that Walker will fill in for the big men while sophomore Myron Long steps into the backcourt. Long came along in fall practice to give the Aggies at least some depth charge anyway. The Aggies like to move and gamble on defense—they intercepted nine passes a game last year. They also like the fast break, though they are not as good at that. It will be a grueling year for the first team, but if everybody stays well Andersen's Aggies should get their third straight 20-win season and their third straight NCAA bid.
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Though not as good as the top 20, all of these teams are interesting. Some will upset their betters in games this season; others will be among next year's elite as freshmen move up. They bear watching.
The Gators had morale problems last year, and high-strung high scorer Tom Baxley was dropped from the squad near the end of the season by Coach Norm Sloan. Little (5 feet 10) Baxley is back this year, though, and the whole team has returned to a sunshine state. Baxley and four others of the team's top 10 men are Floridians—products of the recent improvement in play in Florida high schools. But, as northern and midwestern coaches are beginning to find out, the Gators have entered the recruiting lists for good players everywhere. Florida will have a lot to say about this year's SEC race—the conference's four contending teams all play at Gainesville this winter.
Adolph Rupp traditionally has viewed using a zone defense the way the W.C.T.U. views touching up tomato juice with vodka. But the Southeastern Conference—with slowdown styles, the shuffle and one-three-one offenses—is ganging up on the man-to-man. The Kentucky freshmen used a zone most of last season, and Rupp has changed his tune from "You'll never see a zone at Kentucky" to "Waal, maybe on the road." Home or away, he cannot hide the fact that he still has no big man. The Wildcats do have shooting, speed, depth and All-America Cotton Nash. They have a future in sophomores Tommy Kron, Mickey Gibson and Larry Conley. But Kentucky is still just a little, good team with a big, bad schedule.
As befits realists who will start competing in the murderous Missouri Valley Conference next year, Louisville will try to get the most fun it can out of this season. A new practice gym is almost finished, and the Cardinals have fixed themselves up with a comparatively easy schedule that includes 16 (of 24) home games. Louisville also has its first Negro players, and one of them, muscular sophomore Sam Smith, should be starting in the pivot after a few games. With him in an able front line are senior Ron Hawley and a dead-eye long drink of water (6 feet 7, 180 pounds) named John Reuther. The Cardinals should earn a tournament berth; then on to the MVC. Shudder.
The Gophers have not won the Big Ten title since 1937, when Coach Johnny Kundla was a star. Now, following the lead of Football Coach Murray Warmath, Kundla has started looking beyond the ten thousand lakes for help, and this year the homebreds on the roster will be joined by three out-of-state sophomores—Archie Clark, Louis Hudson and Don Yates. All are Negroes; no Negro has ever before played varsity basketball at Minnesota. These youngsters will lose games with typical sophomoric mistakes but will win others with the speed for which Kundla chose them.
Larry Glass takes over as coach with one varsity guard, Davis Cupper Marty Riessen, in Australia and with two varsity centers limping on bad knees—but oh those kids! The freshman team is probably the best in the country. Freshman Coach Jim Bragiel turned on more charm than anybody else, and the Wildcats came up with five midwestern all-staters, including most-wanted Ron Kozlicki of Palatine, Ill. Still, with luck, the varsity will not have to lean on wait-till-next-year talk exclusively. Guard Rich Falk and Forward Rick Lopossa can score, and if sophomore centers Jim Pitts and John Printen come through, the Wildcats could make a run at the Big Ten title. Pitts has the ability to stand out, but his interest in basketball seems a bit lukewarm.
Four starters are back (one is back all the way to a reserve role) to give the Cowboys their best team since they made the Big Seven eight. Coach Hank Iba, patron saint of ball control, is so eager that he even admits to the heresy of longing to try a running game. He never had the horses till now, he says. Unfortunately, Iba's bench is too thin to risk it—he will have to retain his slowdown style most of the time. There is enough well-disciplined talent here, however, to battle Kansas State all the way for the Big Eight title.
Though Yale will supply some competition, the Tigers probably have the two best teams in the Ivy League. The varsity has All-America Bill Bradley, and the freshmen are already as good and soon may be better than their elders. Coach Butch van Breda Kolff has been more than successful at recruiting high-scholastic-average players—and next year the Tigers will be a bona fide national power. This year, waiting for the frosh, they are a vaudeville act. To show oft' Bradley to the alumni, the team is booked for three Christmas tournaments (only six other teams in the country play two) and for a one-night stand at Washington U in Bradley's native Missouri.
The basketball outlook was so bad here until Coach Fred Lewis arrived two years ago from Southern Mississippi that Syracuse could not even give away basketball scholarships. The team lost 27 at one stretch, an NCAA record. Alumni felt disgraced. With Lewis, Syracuse went to 8-13 last year, and the figures should at least be reversed. Lewis has a spectacular sophomore, Dave Bing, and Chuck Richards, 6-foot-8 transfer from Army, among other goodies. The schedule is going national, there is another good freshman team and the town of Syracuse, which just lost its pro team, has something to be proud of again.
Except for Guard Fred Goss, who has quit to concentrate on studies, the whole Bruin team that won the Big Six last year is back. UCLA could repeat, but its lack of height again will make things tough. Flashy Walt Hazzard still leads the Bruins. He is one of the best offensive players in the nation and one of the worst defensive players on the Coast. As he goes, so go the team's chances.
In the Mid-American Conference the Broncos' little (5 feet 9) Manny Newsome has led scorers two years in a row and, despite the fact that a large percentage of the league's best players are back, Manny should win again. Western itself will have a much more difficult time beating out Toledo for the title. But anyway games are always fun with the Broncos, who run and shoot relentlessly and can scare anybody on those things called "given nights." Since Coach Don Boven's team plays one of the toughest early-season schedules in the country, chances for given nights abound. The Broncos could shake up Loyola and Notre Dame early, since they catch them both at home in Kalamazoo in December.