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OPENING TIPS Ratings and datings, weights and slates, knees and media freeze A JUCO PRIMER


More major schools are looking to junior colleges for talent.
Come along on a quick drive through the juco world.

BEST LEAGUE: Kansas's Jayhawk Conference. When he suddenly began
scouring the junior colleges a few years ago, Indiana coach Bob
Knight remarked that four Jayhawk schools had as much talent as most
teams in the Big Ten. It's not uncommon to see a team fail to win
this conference and still send its entire starting five to Division
BEST ARENA: Midland (Texas) J.C.'s Chaparral Center. This
impressive rotunda (it seats 4,500 for basketball) was erected when
the region was flush with petrodollars; it would do many four-year
colleges proud.
BEST FANS: Moberly (Mo.) J.C. The Greyhounds are so hot that the
school always schedules spring break for the same week as the
national tournament in Hutchinson, Kans. The policy makes sense: In
the tournament's 40 years in Hutchinson, Moberly has reached the
Sweet Sixteen 22 times.
BEST TEAM NICKNAME: The Artichokes of Scottsdale (Ariz.) C.C.
BEST JUCO SOPHOMORE: 6 ft. 7 in. Larry Johnson of Odessa (Texas)
J.C. Suspicions that he's the best sophomore in the country at any
school only grew stronger after his fine performance at the Olympic
trials. ''He plays incredibly hard for such a talent,'' says Rick
Ball, who scouts juco players for four-year schools. ''He'll dive for
loose balls with anybody.''
BEST JUCO FRESHMAN: 6 ft. 9 in. Kenny Williams of Barton County
(Kans.) C.C. The North Carolina High School Player of the Year was
ticketed for Chapel Hill but never graduated from Elizabeth City
(N.C.) High.
BEST JUCO TEAM: Odessa J.C. The Wranglers will be tested in the
tough Western Junior College Athletic Association, but coach Denny
Helms has at least two sophomores besides Johnson who are Division I
prospects and five freshmen who should go on to play major-college
BEST JUCO RECRUITERS: Oklahoma assistant coaches Jim Kerwin and
Mike Mims. Kerwin, a former coach at Seminole (Okla.) J.C., and Mims,
a former high school coach in Tulsa, brought in Ricky Grace and
Harvey Grant in 1986-87; for an encore, they landed four of the top
10 juco prospects in the land last season, including Sooner
superguard Mookie Blaylock. All of which is fitting: Oklahoma boss
Billy Tubbs is a former juco player himself, at Lon Morris J.C. in
Jacksonville, Texas.
WORST JUCO RECRUITER: LSU's Dale Brown. First, Baton Rouge's Keith
Smart quietly slipped away to a juco in Kansas in 1984 and ultimately
helped win Knight a national title at Indiana. Then, one year later,
another local kid (Horace Chaney) went off to the same juco (Garden
City C.C.) and started last season for Houston. Perhaps Dale should
spend less time on the Amazon and on the Matterhorn and more in his
own backyard.