Practice was over and West Virginia's Greg Jones sat on the training table getting his calluses scraped by Trainer Jack Brautigam. "Ow! I'm telling you, Jack, I'm going to sue you if you don't stop doing that," he said to Brautigam.
"Hey, how many people was Greg going to sue last year?" teammate Lester Rowe asked no one in particular. "All Greg wants to do is sue people."
However, if Jones harasses opponents as he has for the past two seasons, he's a likely candidate for a lawsuit himself. Any opponent would love to serve papers on a player who has led his team in scoring, assists and steals for two years while wearing a kind of impish grin much of the time.
With Jones in the fore, the Mounties have won 50 games and lost only 14 the past two seasons. Last year they were 27-4 and went to the NCAA tournament, losing to Fresno State 50-46 in the second round of the West Regional. This year? "If we had a 6'8" or 6'9" power forward, I'm not sure we'd lose," says Coach Gale Catlett.
Catlett may be as quick with a quote as Jones is with a basketball, but the Mounties aren't that good. However, WVU could be a Top 10 team with another tough rebounder. Catlett would like to have a rough-and-tumble pivotman even more than a power forward, but he won't say it publicly because there's already enough pressure on Center Tim Kearney. The 6'11", 215-pound junior is the team's only new starter, replacing Phil Collins, whose idea of a head fake was to rip his opponent's head off and pretend he didn't do it. But Collins' intimidating, bully-boy moves in the middle were useful to the Mounties, primarily a speed and finesse team. Kearney is more of a finesse player.
Catlett has two fine forwards in sophomore Rowe and senior Russel Todd. Todd is a solid four-year starter who averaged 11.2 points and 5.5 rebounds last season. Rowe is a more spectacular type—"The best leaper I have seen since Darrell Griffith," says guess who.
But WVU's strength is unquestionably in the backcourt, where Jones and Tony Washam (10.3 ppg) will start. "I can't understand why Greg doesn't get more attention," says Catlett. "Name me one guard in the country who's faster with the ball." UCLA's Rod Foster, maybe? "Let's go get him," says Catlett. "I'll bring the stopwatch." And Jones will serve papers on the loser.
Jones is building Mountaineer history, too.