Georgetown coach John Thompson didn't take too kindly to the manner in which Providence center Jacek (Zip-A-Dee) Duda fouled Mark Tillmon on a layup attempt by Tillmon during the Friars' 82-79 victory last week. In fact, when Thompson strolled out of the coaching box to approach Providence coach Rick Pitino, he was heard to say, "Is that the way you teach your players to play?" The 6'10" Thompson went on to call the 6-foot Pitino a "punk." Pitino also strolled outside of his box to tell Thompson to "grow up."
Though the dispute looked ugly, fingers rather than fists were jabbed, and both coaches were assessed technicals for their meanderings. Later, boxing promoter Dan Duva sent Pitino a letter that said, "Next time, feint the left, cross the right, come back with a quick left hook, walk away and let the ref do the counting." Next time? "If there had been any punches thrown," Pitino said, "there would have been one dead Friar."
With 48 seconds to go in the second overtime, Cal trailed Arizona by two points and had the ball. From the bench, Golden Bears coach Lou Campanelli yelled, "Three!" Moments later, Cal's Chris Washington sank a three-pointer to give the Bears an 82-81 victory.
Campanelli later admitted he was calling for play No. 3.
A total of three people, including a reporter from the campus newspaper, showed up for the opening speech in Kentucky's Student Alumni Council lecture series. The speaker: former Cats coach Joe B. Hall.
To replace the game it never played with Arizona State (canceled in December after a dispute over who would officiate), Georgetown will take on local terror Bowie State on Feb. 14. It's already being called the St. Valentine's Day Massacre.
Inch for inch, Western Michigan's Booker James is the nation's most productive player. He's averaging 20.8 points and 10.3 rebounds per game. James is 6'1½".
During coach Jud Heath-cote's press conference after Michigan State's 67-65 loss to Northwestern last week, the lights went out. Heath-cote, whose team had just shot a measly 43%, cracked, "It wasn't us."
In its 108-99 defeat of Clemson last week, North Carolina had 70 points in the second half and scored on every one of its final 18 possessions. Three days later, the Heels' Kenny Smith, who hit a career-high 41 points against the Tigers, underwent arthroscopic knee surgery. He is expected to return within two weeks. Without him on Sunday, the Heels suffered their second loss of the season, 60-58 at Notre Dame.
With SMU a sorry 1-7 in Southwest Conference play, a Mustang assistant picked up a ringing phone in the basketball office and answered, "Morgue."
The Antelopes of Kearney (Neb.) State recently won three NAIA games in a row—in double, double and triple overtime.
UC Santa Barbara coach Jerry Pimm has moved into a 47-foot boat that has three staterooms, a huge galley and a satellite dish. Says Pimm, "I wanted a change of scenery, and I don't like yard work."
For every gross underachiever like Louisville or Georgia Tech, there have been several gratifying surprises:
•Georgia's Hugh Durham is Coach of the Half-Year. Within days of beating Kentucky in Louisville on Dec. 30, the Dawgs lost their leading scorer (Toney Mack, bad grades), rebounder (David Dunn, broken foot) and defender (Patrick Hamilton, grades also). Down to seven scholarship players, Durham installed a doctrinaire 2-3 zone and walk-it-up offense over his players' misgivings. "They think only wimps and nerds, whatever they are, play slow," Durham says. But after beating LSU, Vanderbilt, Mississippi State and Tennessee, and losing to Auburn and Alabama in overtime, the 12-7 Dawgs believe.
•Despite the loss of point guard Carl Lott at least until tournament time with a broken finger on his right hand, TCU has continued to clamp down on defense. On Jan. 19 Texas missed 17 straight shots in a 52-37 loss to the Horned Frogs. Last week Rice scored only nine points in the first half of the Frogs' 64-38 win; two days later Owls coach Tommy Suitts announced his resignation. TCU's 14-game winning streak is now the longest in the nation.
•Picked for the Big Eight second division in most preseason polls, Kansas State is 14-5, thanks largely to the return to eligibility of U.S. Army and NCAA-wars veteran Norris Coleman. Juco transfers Mitch Richmond and William Scott have also infused Lon Kruger's Wildcats with life. Says Wichita State center Henry Carr, whose team is 1-1 against the Wildcats but 1-0 against Big Eight power Kansas: "[Kansas State has] six or seven good players. Kansas has one."
NOT BAD, THANKS
After losing two starters and coach Lefty Driesell in the wake of the Len Bias tragedy, Maryland was expected to finish somewhere south of Wake Forest in the ACC, and, indeed, the Terps are 0-6 in league play. But Maryland has won three of its last four nonconference games, with 6'7" center Derrick Lewis averaging 25 points, 15 rebounds and 7 blocks over that stretch. One secret: "I make sure to make friends with the referees before the games," says Lewis. "Lenny taught me to do that. The ref might say, 'How's the ankle?' and I'll say, 'How's the wife and kids?' "
EYES ON TEXAS
Four years ago, Jay Parker, an expatriate New Yorker, decided to do something about the sorry state of amateur basketball in Texas. So Parker staged a tournament to showcase high school talent and started a scouting service in his Houston home, trying to drum into the heads of college coaches around the land that "Lone Star" is a misnomer when it comes to Texas hoops. When the rulers of interscholastic sports in the state finally agreed to permit summer leagues for schoolboys (competition camps are still verboten), Parker put together his Texas Basketball Congress International, a highfalutin name for a series of summer leagues and glamour games that showcase prospects for recruiters. Texas players "didn't get better," Parker says. "They got known."
Parker has been instrumental in developing and promoting three Texans—LaBradford Smith, Johnny Pittman and Larry Johnson—who are among the top 25 high school seniors in the nation. Yet Parker is something of a pariah in his adopted state, where some folks even criticize his efforts to tutor players in how to take the college boards.
Some of the opposition stems from the fact that Johnson, who's ticketed for hometown SMU, is the only one of the superb three who is staying in state (Smith is headed for Louisville, Pittman for Kentucky). But Parker rightly blames the sorry attitude that prevails in the Southwest Conference. Houston made no recruiting hay out of its three straight Final Four appearances. Not a single SWC team made a fall visit to San Antonio's Fennis Dembo, who led Wyoming to the NIT final last spring. Tulsa's David Moss, Stanford's Deshon Wingate and Minnesota's Kelvin Smith also left the state. Texans will have to start showing some interest in their own if they expect to get a team in the Final Four again.
NO NEED TO DISCUSS GUS
Providence's Ernie (Pop) Lewis, whose three-pointer with one second left gave the Friars their win over Georgetown and whose two treys in overtime helped beat St. John's, has a brother called Snap and a sister who used to be called Crackle....
Portland's Greg Anthony (15.5 points per game) and Greg Attaway (14.1) are billed as the Gaga Twins....
And in the grand tradition of erstwhile UNLV stalwart Frank (Spoon) James, North Carolina's injured point guard, Kenny Smith, refuses to divulge the derivation of his cryptic moniker, Gus.
Durham's Dogs learned new tricks.
Lewis is giving the Terps a lift.
Scott Brooks, a 5'11" senior guard for UC Irvine, scored all 27 of his points on three-pointers in a 114-103 loss to UNLV. Morehead State's BOB McCANN, a 6'9" senior center, had 24 points, 14 rebounds, 4 blocks and 3 dunks before six NBA scouts as the Eagles beat Eastern Kentucky 87-82.