MATCHUPS WE SHOULD SEE...
Birds do it, bees do it—even Kentucky and Louisville do it. We're all for the establishment of on-court diplomatic relations between these neighboring belligerents:
•UAB/Alabama. "It's not possible to play an intersectional schedule and play every other Division I school in your state," says 'Bama coach Wimp Sanderson, he of the aptly descriptive name. There are six Division I schools in Alabama, but UAB is one of the top three. "O.K.," says Sanderson. "It's possible. But it's not what we want to do." Sick of 'Bama's rebuffs, UAB in 1982 began a lively series with Auburn. Each of the three games has drawn crowds of 17,000 to Birmingham Coliseum and has been decided in the final seconds. "I don't want Alabama anymore," says UAB coach Gene Bartow. "We're the best program in the state and we don't need 'em."
•Georgetown/Maryland. Maryland ended the series in 1979, citing, among other things, "schedule problems." Now Georgetown won't renew, citing, among other things, "schedule problems." Ego problems may have something to do with it, but if one of the TV networks wanted it, you can bet they would play.
•Tennessee/Memphis State. The Volunteers are behaving like misnomers. Asked whether he would play the Tigers, Tennessee coach Don DeVoe scoffed, "They could have UT-Martin, Alcorn State and Arkansas State come to Memphis and have a nice little tournament."
•Notre Dame/Purdue. This would be the perfect rivalry to take some of the bloom off Bloomington, yet Notre Dame's Digger Phelps demurs, claiming he already plays Indiana and wants a "national schedule." So how does he justify playing Butler, Valparaiso and St. Joseph's and not Purdue?
•Illinois/DePaul. The Blue Demons protest that with their home-and-away obligations to Notre Dame, Dayton and Marquette, they have no time for the Illini. So howzit there's time for Northern Illinois and Illinois State?
•North Carolina/South Carolina. Dean Smith and Frank McGuire wouldn't play after South Carolina left the ACC in the '70s because they didn't want to beat up on each other. But there's no excuse now.
...AND ONE WE WON'T
Houston/LSU. The Cougars and Tigers were to have played the third of their four-game series on Feb. 8 at Baton Rouge, but Houston canceled because of the Tito Horford affair. Horford is the 7'1" center from the Dominican Republic who signed with Houston and then, declared ineligible to play for the Cougars because of improprieties in his recruitment, enrolled at LSU. Tiger AD Bob Brodhead talked about threatening to sue Houston for breach of contract. Meanwhile, on Nov. 3, Horford was kicked off LSU's team.
It's not just that Rex Chapman, an 18-year-old, 6'5" guard at Apollo High in Owensboro, led a team of Kentucky high school juniors last spring that beat the state's seniors like a drum. Or that he stunned the hoop world by winning the schoolboy slam-dunk contest at the Las Vegas Invitational. Or that Rick Bolus, who runs a recruiting service, ranks him as the best guard to come out of the Commonwealth ever—better even than former Louisville, now Utah Jazz star Darrell Griffith.
It's that Chapman is all this and white, too, and in the land of Adolph Rupp, that still means a lot. Chapman is an absolute must-get recruit for both Louisville and Kentucky. If the Cards don't bag him—and the 'Ville so loves Chapman's highflying style that an assistant coach dogged him to Europe last summer during an all-star tour—they'll have failed once again to attract a white homegrown talent. If the Cats don't get him—and new coach Eddie Sutton has already gotten heat from Lexington fans for failing to bring in a blue-chipper after he took the job last April—it will be one of the rare times that UK hasn't landed a Caucasian Kentuckian it has really wanted. Recent published allegations of under-the-table payments and other improprieties at Kentucky surely won't help the Wildcats' chances.
Chapman may make his choice during the early signing period, which ends in late November. But if he decides to wait until spring, it will mean that other schools are in the hunt. Among the out-of-state pursuers are North Carolina and Georgia Tech. Closer to home, there's Kentucky Wesleyan, where Rex's dad, Wayne Chapman, a former ABA journeyman, is head coach. Or Rex could decide to go to Western Kentucky, where Chapman p√®re, an ex-Hilltopper, is rumored to be a possible replacement for coach Clem Haskins next season.
WHERE THE BOYS ARE
You would expect robust recruiting crops at the Louisvilles, Houstons and North Carolinas. The following schools, however, outdid themselves in attracting the class of the Class of '89:
•George Mason. Among the Patriots' take: two quality junior college transfers, Tracy Battle and Darrin Mosley, plus 6-foot point guard Earl Moore from Washington, D.C., whom they snatched away from Georgetown and Kansas.
•South Carolina. The Gamecocks plucked 13'7" worth of Dozier twins—6'10" Perry and 6'9" Terry—out of Baltimore, a traditional Big East and ACC stronghold.
•Seton Hall. Three all-city New Yorkers, guards John Morton and Gerald Greene and forward Daryll Walker, the state's Player of the Year, will make the river crossing to New Jersey. They'll join redshirt forward Khyiem Long, who was all-New York City in 1984 and is eligible this year. The Pirates' booty also includes 6'8" Ramon Ramos, the best high schooler out of Puerto Rico.
•USC. Last season's surprise Pac-10 co-champs bagged three top players—6'7" Tom Lewis from Garden Grove, Calif., and 6'4" Greg Kimble and 6'7" Eric Gathers, both from Philadelphia—who should contribute immediately.
•Northwestern. 6'3" Jeff Grose, Indiana's Mr. Basketball of '84-85, and 6'9" Brian Schwabe, co-Player of the Year in Washington, lead a class of four fine freshmen.
SEVEN UNLIKELY PLACES TO FIND EXCITING PLAYERS
Oxford, Ohio. The Miami University located here has no palm trees ?and nearby beaches, but it could become a popular destination, what with all the NBA scouts going there to ogle 6'6" forward Ron Harper.
•Des Moines. Opposing fans call Drake's 6'7" forward Melvin Mathis the Beast, admiringly.
•Richmond, Ky. Louisville's Milt Wagner wasn't the only Bluegrass bomber slowed by injury last year; Eastern Kentucky's Antonio Parris, healthy again, may be Wagner's equal.
•Amherst, Mass. Carl Smith is only a junior, but he has already won or tied seven games for the Massachusetts Minutemen with buzzer beaters.
•South Orange, N.J. Seton Hall's Andre McCloud is the inlaid diamond on the Big East doormat.
•Terre Haute, Ind. From Indiana State, the school that brought you Larry Bird and little else, here's 6'5" forward John Sherman (Paint) Williams. The punny nickname may be the only imperfect thing about him.
•Milan, Italy. Simac Pallacanestro's Cedric Henderson, a Georgia frosh last season, isn't exactly matriculating. And when you get there, he may not even be with Simac, for the defending Italian champs have already cut him once. But Ced can still play.
YOU CAN HEAR THE FOOTSTEPS
Lorenzo Charles and Cozell Mc-Queen are gone, but North Carolina State's freshmen won't have any trouble filling their shoes. "You know how some years you recruit guards, and some years big men?" says Wolfpack coach Jim Valvano. "This year, I recruited feet." Forwards Chucky Brown, Charles Shackleford and Walker Lambiotte all wear shoes size 15 or larger. The 6'9" Shackleford, who should become eligible in January, has feet so big—size 19—that his shoes had to be custom-made from a tracing sent to Nike.
Since 1972, when Hawaii's Fabulous Five went 24-3 and packed Blaisdell Arena in Honolulu game after game, success has passed somewhere over the Rainbows. A debilitating probation incurred during the tenure of former coach Bruce O'Neil left his successor, Larry Little, with precious little to build on, and Little stepped down at the end of last season. His nine years were hardly paradisiacal. Players were shipped in and out, and little more than half graduated. Expectations had ebbed so low that last season, when Garland Hughes became the first of Little's Rainbows ever to graduate in as few as 4½ years, he actually apologized. Seems that Hughes felt he might have given hoops short shrift in favor of academics.
Walking into this situation is former BYU coach Frank Arnold, who replaces Little. Under Little, the Bows would annually match themselves up against the weakest team in their Rainbow Classic Christmas tourney, then play some mainland power like Maryland or Oklahoma, and lose. Meanwhile, across town, NAIA Chaminade would beat Virginia, Louisville or SMU, then suffer the indignity of their Division I neighbor refusing to play them.
Hawaii passed over Chaminade coach Merv Lopes, a native islander, in favor of Arnold. The new Bow coach would do well to upgrade his schedule—and see that his players stick around and pay more attention to theirs.
SIX TEAMS TO PITY
Creighton. The Bluejays lost their center. They lost their backup center. They lost their point guard. They lost their coach. They're left with a pair of guards—Gary Swain and backup Renard Edwards—known as the Smith Bros., because they cough up the ball so much.
Nonetheless, new coach Tony Barone led a mock victory celebration at a preseason practice. The irrepressible Jays hoisted Barone high and cut down the nets.
•West Texas State. No one seems to want to go to the tumbleweed town of Canyon, Texas, for even two years. The Buffaloes have brought in a herd of 17 juco transfers since 1984, yet nine are already gone. Matters are so miserable that the Missouri Valley school will drop to Division II next season.
•Hawaii Loa. The Mongoose, an NAIA team with a 5-45 record in its two seasons of competition, will play Georgetown, Oklahoma, Illinois, LSU and Memphis State. Perhaps Loa should change its nickname to Mongeese: There's strength in numbers.
•Georgia State. The good news: The Panthers return three starters. The bad news: Those starters helped State go 2-26 with nary a win in Trans America Athletic Conference play last season.
•U.S. International. The Gulls have won three and lost 53 over the past two seasons. Can they survive the loss of 5'2½" floor leader Zach Lieberman, a.k.a. the Hully-Gully Man, who fled midway through last season?
•Baptist. Consider the pressure on Tommy Gaither, coach at the Charleston, S.C. school and author of Basketball: Mediocrity to Superiority in One Year, published in 1979. The Buccaneers went 13-15 in '84-85—and 15-13 the season before.
THE VANDALS' PSEUDO-SAXON
Mattie Spears didn't think much of it when she named her first child Ulf Hansson Von Spears. Ulf Hansson, after all, had been a dear old friend in high school, and the Von was just a little tribute to Beethoven, whom Mattie, an accomplished opera and gospel singer, thought quite highly of. But then, when he was seven, "the kids started making fun of my name," says Ulf. "At the same time I played the violin and had black-frame glasses, so I was asking for it."
Ulf cursed his name. So did his father. "He wanted me to be named after him," Ulf says. "His name is Albert." So Ulf hid his violin in a closet, stashed away his glasses with that fallow fiddle and went on to have a splendid senior season as a basketball star at Vincent Polytechnic High in Portland, Ore. Wearing contacts.
In 1983, Spears accepted a scholarship to Idaho, where the 6'4" junior is a double-figure scorer and two-year starter for the Vandals. Ulf was having a nice, normal college career until a club team in West Germany saw his name on an Idaho roster and, figuring he must be of Teutonic lineage, wrote to him twice, trying to sign him up.
"It was a surprise to me," Ulf says. "I'm not blond, and I don't have blue eyes. It would have been an even bigger surprise to them if I'd shown up."
If Cats and Birds can play, who can't?
Chapman's keeping the mailman busy.
Don't sit down beside Massimino.
Smith is a bona fide last Minuteman.
Arnold hopes he isn't just chasing Rainbows.
Opponents foolish enough to rattle Rainy will find Bam Barn's no baby.
All fiddling aside, it's easy to see that Idaho's Von Spears is not too Teutonic.
It's elementary: Holmes of Memphis State is an All-Name star.
FIVE COACHES MOST LIKELY TO MANHANDLE A FOLDING CHAIR
John Chaney, Temple
J.D. Barnett, Tulsa
Jim Boeheim, Syracuse
Bob Knight, Indiana
Rollie Massimino, Villanova
Gerry (Sir Jamalot) Wright, Iowa
Leroy (Tragic) Greenidge, Xavier
Richard (Master Blaster) Madison, Kentucky
Al (Vanilla Gorilla) Lorenzen, Iowa
Jeff (Monkey Jesus) Shepherd, Kings River (Calif.) C.C.
ALL-BABY TALK TEAM
Jerome (Pooh) Richardson, UCLA
Darryl (Choo) Kennedy, Oklahoma
Greg (Boo) Harvey, San Jacinto J.C.
Eric (Boo Boo) Brent, James Madison
Dwayne (Bam Bam) Rainy, Middle
ALL-BABY DAWK TEAM
6'9", 225-pound Darren (Baby Dawk) Guest, Auburn
7', 280-pound Kevin Duckworth, Eastern Illinois
6'8", 278-pound James Gulley, Lamar
6'9", 260-pound Lloyd (Load) Moore, Rutgers
6'7", 260-pound Dwayne (Bam Bam) Rainy, Middle Tennessee State
FIVE PLAYERS UNDER 6'5" WHO CAN DOMINATE DEFENSIVELY
Bruce Dalrymple, Georgia Tech
Melvin Howard, Georgia
Gary Grant, Michigan
Steve Hale, North Carolina
Bruce Douglas, Illinois
Baskerville Holmes, Memphis St.
Enndy Basquiat, Northeastern
(Sounds like "in de basket.")
Bernard Innocent, Baptist
Fitzgerald Bobo, Duquesne
Largest Agbejemisin, Wagner
Alphonso Goldwire, Eastern Washington; Cornelius Crank, UT-Chattanooga; Pepper Bego, Davidson; Lafester Rhodes, Iowa State; Akin Akin-Otiko, Oral Roberts; Bo Cucuz, Northwestern; Nick Nurse, Northern Iowa; Peter Peppers, Bethune-Cookman; Rodney Tention, San Francisco; Alex Great Broadway, Texas.
JOHN WILLIAMS DIVISION:
Exit Tulane's; these return:
John Williams, LSU
John Williams, Northeastern
John Williams, East Carolina
John Williams, Stanford
John Williams, Bethune-Cookman