THE HOUSE THAT ROARED
Adolph Rupp probably would not have been thrilled, but last week Clarence (Bighouse) Gaines of Division II Winston-Salem State, a predominantly black school, joined him as the only other member of the 800-victory club. Rupp, who won 875 games in 41 seasons at Kentucky, balked in the mid-1960s when John W. Oswald, the university's president at the time, ordered him to begin recruiting black players. It wasn't until 1969, three years before his retirement, that Rupp signed his one and only black player, Tom Payne.
Gaines, who grew up in Paducah, Ky., is well aware of Rupp's reputation as a racist. "I don't think Rupp even had a black dog in his house," says Gaines. As a coach, though, Gaines profited in an ironic way from the fact that the SEC and ACC didn't fully commit to integration until the mid-'70s. Until then, many of the best black players opted to stay home and play for the black colleges. In recent years, however, Gaines has found it more difficult to get top players, and the Rams haven't had a 20-win season since 1983-84. Last season they dropped all the way to 6-18, the worst record of Gaines's 45-year career.
But Gaines rejects the notion that black players owe a debt to black schools. "This is a bunch of crap about blacks saving black colleges," he said after the Rams beat Livingstone College 79-70 on Jan. 24 for victory No. 800. "Division I players are selecting Division I schools, that's all. If I was a Division I player, I would, too. Some people don't realize that last year, out of the top 200 high school kids in the country, not one went to a Division II school. It's not a black-white thing."
Gaines, 66, has an outside chance of surpassing Rupp's victory total but doesn't much care whether he does or not. "Rupp had a heck of a record," says Gaines, "but who else was recruiting players in the SEC besides him all those years? No one. They need to put an asterisk beside Rupp's name. It's pretty easy to dominate when no one else is offering much competition."
A LAME FEELING
Penn State coach Bruce Parkhill is trying to keep his players focused on landing the school's first NCAA tournament bid since 1965. The Nittany Lions are an independent in football but belong to the Atlantic-10 in basketball. When the Big Ten announced in December that Penn State would become a member of the conference by the mid-1990s, the Atlantic-10 reacted like a jilted lover, saying it wanted the Lions to drop out as quickly as possible. "The Atlantic-10 wants us out, and the Big Ten isn't ready for us," says Parkhill. "Limbo is a great way to describe our situation."
Until Parkhill became coach in 1983, basketball was just another of Penn State's 28 varsity sports. By last season, though, the Lions were good enough to go to the NIT, with a 20-12 record, their first 20-win season since 1964-65. After last Saturday's 77-69 win over George Washington, Penn State was 6-3 in Atlantic-10 play and 12-5 overall. An NCAA berth now seems possible. "We're pretty young," says Parkhill, "but we've found some different guys to put the ball in the hoop."
Parkhill's up-tempo style has caught on so well that Penn State now averages 4,730 fans in 6,846-seat Rec Hall, up 30% over last season. But as Parkhill understands better than anyone, Penn State basketball isn't nearly as ready for the Big Ten as Penn State football. The Lions will have to get much stronger to avoid replacing Northwestern as the league's cellar-dweller. Money will have to be shaken loose for recruiting and to begin construction on a 15,000-seat arena, which is still on the drawing board.
The immediate concern for the Lions, however, is their schedule for the next few years if the Atlantic-10 boots them out after this season. "I don't know exactly what's going to happen," says Parkhill. "The league has made it clear that it doesn't want a lame-duck team. The Big Ten will be great down the road, but right now there are a lot of questions that need answering."
Super Bowl journalists bored with the weeklong doings—or nondoings—in New Orleans could have found plenty of action up the road in Baton Rouge, where coaches Dale Brown of LSU and Don DeVoe of Florida were the centers of unwanted attention.
Underachieving LSU drew Brown's ire after a 94-92 loss to Georgia on Jan. 24. In that one, the Tigers blew an 11-point lead in the last 4:58, mostly because they missed the front end of 10 straight one-and-ones. Brown later decried the team's lack of leadership.
Florida, a preseason pick to contend with LSU for the SEC title, thanks largely to 7'2" center Dwayne Schintzius and 6'7" forward Livingston Chatman, staggered into Baton Rouge for last Saturday's game without those frontliners. Chatman had quit the team on Jan. 14, claiming he was "burned out." Last week Schintzius joined him, even though a student review board had forgiven him for his role in a fraternity-house fracas on Jan. 13. DeVoe, however, said he wouldn't take Schintzius back from a suspension that began on Jan. 15 unless he lost weight and got a haircut. Schintzius got a trim, then quit anyway.
Surprisingly, Florida led LSU 50-49 with six minutes to play, only to collapse under a 21-2 Tiger surge, led by Chris Jackson, that enabled the Tigers to pull away for a 70-52 victory. "I've thought about our situation," said Brown, "and I think I've figured it out. The problem was me. I've come out of my coma, and I hope I can help them. I thought it was going to be an easy year. I think the lack of personality on this team might have been my lack of personality."
Compounding LSU's woes was a grueling schedule that had them playing five games in nine days. The day after the win over Florida, the visitor was Nevada-Las Vegas, which is again in the NCAA doghouse. This time the Rebels are in trouble because eight players didn't pay for phone calls and room service charges on road trips last season. The school reported the infractions to the NCAA, which ordered UNLV to suspend each of the players for one game. However, the NCAA allowed coach Jerry Tarkanian to determine which games each player would miss. For the LSU game he decided to hold out reserve Chris Jeter and starter Stacey Augmon, a decision made easier by the fact that Augmon had the flu.
For a while on Sunday it looked as though the Rebels were going to win, even without Augmon. But Jackson, who led all scorers with 35 points, provided the leadership that had been missing, and the Tigers scratched out a 107-105 victory.
At week's end UC Irvine was 2-16, its worst start ever. In an 82-55 loss to Cal State-Fullerton last Saturday, the Anteaters had about as bad a first half as a team can have: 14 points, 29% shooting and 24 turnovers....
North Carolina's 83-60 rout of Clemson last Saturday brought the Tigers' record in Chapel Hill to 0-35 since 1926....
Last Saturday, DePaul finally got around to retiring George Mikan's No. 99 at half-time of the Louisville game, which the Blue Demons won 66-62. Mikan graduated in 1946....
For a guy so big (6'9", 250 pounds) and strong (bench-presses 350 pounds), Purdue center Stephen Scheffler sure has a nice touch. In his first seven Big Ten games this season—all Purdue victories—Scheffler made 44 of 53 shots, a startling 83%.
Gaines brought the house down with victory No. 800.
Jackson rose to the occasion against Florida's decimated front line.
PLAYERS OF THE WEEK
David Booth, a 6'7" sophomore forward for DePaul, scored a career-high 37 points on 15-of-23 shooting in a 66-62 upset of fourth-ranked Louisville. Earlier in the week he had 19 points and eight rebounds in an 87-82 victory over Detroit.
In back-to-back home-court victories over Pacific, senior forward Judy Mosley of Hawaii scored 21 points and pulled down 18 rebounds in a 63-53 win and came back with 33 points and 14 rebounds in an 87-68 decision.
Shawnee State's Joe Smith, a senior guard who was scoring 11 points a game, made 15 of 24 three-pointers and finished with 58 points in a 118-84 win over Wilmington College. Smith had 19 points in an 88-87 defeat of Dyke College.