Among all the father-son combinations who have participated in big-time college basketball—the McGuires of Marquette, the Tarkanians of Nevada-Las Vegas, the Suttons of Kentucky and the Massiminos of Villanova, to name a few—the Houstons of Tennessee are worthy of special consideration. Wade Houston, rookie coach of the Volunteers, and his son, Allan, a gifted 6'5" freshman guard for the Vols, are the first black tandem to make an impact at the major college level. Moreover, while most other coaches' sons possessed more homegrown savvy than skill, Allan is already the Vols' star and the main reason that Tennessee had a surprising 14-11 record at week's end.
A lively kid with long legs and a smooth shooting stroke, Allan leads Tennessee in scoring (19.9 points per game through Sunday). During a recent three-game surge, he blitzed LSU, Mississippi and Florida for an average of 34.3 points while making 55.9% of his shots. Allan is also unselfish enough to lead the Volunteers in assists (110), and he has done his share of the dirty work—rebounding, hustling for loose balls, playing defense. Anyone ranking the nation's best freshmen for this season has to put him right there with Duke's Bobby Hurley and Ohio State's Jimmy Jackson and just behind the sensational Kenny Anderson of Georgia Tech. "Wade is lucky that Allan has talent," says wife-mother Alice. "I think that eliminates a lot of the problems."
An honor student while at Louisville Ballard High, Allan is also excelling in the classroom at Tennessee. He plans to major in math, and he had a 3.1 GPA in his first semester.
The closest comparison with the Houstons in terms of the son's playing talent would be with the Maraviches of LSU. But unlike Press Maravich, who turned son Pete loose to break all the NCAA scoring records, Wade sees to it that Allan performs within the team-oriented philosophy that he brought with him from Louisville. Wade was an assistant to Louisville coach Denny Crum from 1976 until last spring, when Tennessee athletic director Doug Dickey hired him to replace Don DeVoe. Wade, 45, is the first African-American head coach in football or basketball in the 58-year history of the SEC.
The move was a homecoming for Wade, probably the longest 12-mile trip in history. Wade grew up in Alcoa, Tenn., just outside of Knoxville, but because no SEC schools were taking black players at the time he graduated from high school, in 1962, he decided to attend Louisville. In 1976, as the coach at Male High in Louisville, Wade steered his star player, Darrell Griffith, into Crum's fold, and then he followed him to Louisville as an assistant.
Allan grew up dreaming of playing for Louisville, and, early in his senior year, he signed a national letter-of-intent with the Cardinals. When Wade got the Tennessee job, however, Crum agreed to release Allan from his commitment, and the Conference Commissioners Association, which administers the letter-of-intent program, granted the Houstons' petition to allow Allan to become eligible immediately.
Only a week after Wade was hired, the all-white Cherokee Country Club reportedly wouldn't allow him to join, even though DeVoe, Dickey and football coach Johnny Majors belonged. Dickey and Majors resigned in protest, and the ugliness quickly died, mostly because Wade chose not to make an issue of it. He quietly joined another club closer to the Houstons' home. "Other than that, everything has been great," says Wade. "Something positive came from it in that the community sort of rallied around us."
Indeed, as the Volunteers have improved, the crowds have swelled to the point that the largest of the season (22,244) saw Tennessee beat Kentucky 102-100 on Feb. 21. Wade thinks that if the Vols play well in the SEC tournament, they'll have an outside chance for an NCAA tournament bid. Considering that Wade didn't have any starters returning from last season's team, that would be an achievement worthy of a family celebration.
Five hundred Arkansas fans greeted the women's team at the Fayetteville airport when the Lady Razorbacks returned from their stunning 82-77 upset of Texas last Friday in Austin. The victory ended the Lady Longhorns' winning streak against Southwest Conference opponents at 183 games, dating back 13 years to a 59-52 loss to Texas A&M on Jan. 23, 1978, and a home court winning streak at 47 games. "I don't want anybody to pinch me," said Arkansas guard Juliet Jackson, whose 19 points included six straight free throws in the game's final 39 seconds. "I want to keep this dream going."
To their credit, the Lady Longhorns accepted the defeat with grace. Said losing coach Jody Conradt, "This team on this given night wasn't as good as its opponent. There has been a lot of pride in the streak. It had to end."
Vicki Hall, a standout sophomore forward for Texas, scored only nine points—about eight below her average—thanks to tight defense by Arkansas's Christi Willson. Lady Razorback coach John Sutherland called Hall, who made only two of 15 shots, the "heart and soul" of the Lady Longhorns. "And Christi shut her down," he said.
Arkansas, 21-3 at week's end to Texas's 20-4, had counted on snapping the streak on Jan. 24, when it hosted the Longhorns in Fayetteville. In fact, a sign in the arena that night proclaimed Arkansas SWC CHAMPS—1990. When Texas won 84-75, the Lady Longhorns confiscated the sign and placed it next to the visitors' side of a scoreboard inside their own Frank Erwin Center for all the Lady Razorbacks to see. After their upset, the Arkansas players pointed at the sign as they ran off the court. "We wanted it back," said junior center Delmonica DeHorney, "because it belongs in Arkansas now."
It may at that, considering that as of Sunday the Razorbacks were 14-1 in SWC play and the Longhorns were 13-1. The teams figure to meet again in the championship game of the conference tournament, which will be held on March 10 in Dallas.
North Georgia College has two starters who are both 29 years old: guard Jeff Steele and forward Jimmy Williams. Other senior citizens playing in the state include James Melson of Georgia College, 24; Leroy Gasque of Morris Brown, 24; Edgar Leon of Georgia Southwestern, 25; and Derrick Cooley of West Georgia, 24. Liniment anyone?...After Marquette was tagged with a school-record five technical fouls in an 82-65 loss to Wisconsin on Feb. 19, coach Kevin O'Neill said, "This may sound funny, but I thought we kept our composure." Right, coach....
Nevada-Las Vegas coach Jerry Tarkanian wasn't so busy with all his various problems that he couldn't pause to take a shot at longtime adversary Lute Olson of Arizona. Following the Wildcats' 95-87 loss to Vegas on Feb. 18, reports surfaced that Olson had accused UNLV guard Anderson Hunt of swearing at him after diving into the Arizona bench for a loose ball. Hunt not only denied the charge but also reportedly claimed that Olson did the swearing. Both parties have since denied even making the charges. It all prompted the following from Tarkanian: "He [Olson] gives this saint's image, but that's false. If he had taped his ankles and put on a uniform, he could have played—he spent so much time on the court." Olson had no comment....
Quick, now: What basketball team has a lineup that includes Johnson, Worthy, Cooper and Green? Iona College in New Rochelle, N.Y., of course. Gaels coach Gary Brokaw has Joey Johnson, Shawn Worthy, Kevin Cooper and Sean Green. Alas, Brokaw could use L.A. Lakers Magic Johnson, James Worthy, Michael Cooper and A.C. Green. At week's end, Iona was 12-14....
As Florida was blowing a 13-point lead in what turned out to be a 62-59 loss to Miami on Feb. 19, a SportsChannel microphone picked up Gator coach Don DeVoe's remarks during a timeout. This being a family magazine, we cannot give you the complete transcript. Suffice it to say that a SportsChannel commentator was moved to remark, "I'm glad we're on after 9 p.m."
Wade's hard-earned homecoming to Tennessee has been abetted by his son, Allan, the Volunteers' top player.
PLAYERS OF THE WEEK
MEN: Anthony Pullard, a 6'10" senior center for McNeese State, averaged 27.7 points and 13.3 rebounds in three victories. The highlight was a 35-point, 18-rebound performance last Saturday in a 60-54 win over North Texas.
WOMEN: Delmonica DeHorney, a 6'4" junior center, had 26 points, eight rebounds, three steals and four blocked shots in Arkansas's 82-77 win over Texas. The victory snapped the Lady Longhorns' 183-game Southwest Conference winning streak.
SMALL COLLEGE: Michael Stubbs of Division III Trinity College in Hartford accumulated 67 points and 49 rebounds over two games. Stubbs, a 6'8" senior center, made 29 of 40 shots as the Bantams defeated Amherst 81-75 and Wheaton College 78-62.