Last season Allan Houston saw his father, Wade, who was then in his first year as coach of Tennessee, in a new light. "This was the first time I had ever played for my father," says Allan, a 6'6" sophomore guard for the Volunteers. "I wasn't sure what to expect."
In February, after Tennessee lost by a single point at Mississippi, the Volunteers sat quietly in the locker room. Wade stormed in and kicked over a freestanding chalkboard, shattering it loudly against the floor. Allan was stunned. "My father's pretty even-tempered. I had never seen him that mad before," he says. "We were all so scared we just wanted to get out of there. We didn't even want to remove the tape from our ankles."
Allan otherwise enjoyed his first season under Dad. With a 20.3 average in 1989-90, Allan was fourth in the conference in scoring, behind a talented NBA first-round troika of LSU's Chris Jackson, Mississippi's Gerald Glass and Georgia's Alec Kessler.
Allan believes that playing for his father has strengthened their relationship. "Now whenever we have company and he starts telling those stories about when I was little, I just bring up the chalkboard incident," says Allan, who may well witness more splenetic outbursts from Wade; the Vols will struggle to stay with Alabama, Georgia and LSU and ahead of Kentucky.
That collective sigh of relief you hear rising above the Bluegrass State means the Wildcats' NCAA-imposed one-year television blackout has finally come to an end. Unfortunately for second-year coack Rick Pitino, so has the eligibility of Derrick Miller, who led the Wildcats in scoring last season with a 19.2 average.
Auburn is looking to rebound from its first back-to-back sub-.500 seasons since 1979-80 and 1980-81. Freshman guard Wesley Person—the brother of former Tiger and current Indiana Pacer forward Chuck Person—will add depth to an already strong backcourt rotation.
Coming off its first winning season since 1982-83, Mississippi State has all of last season's starters back. Nonetheless the Bulldogs will need a monumental effort from two-time all-conference forward Cameron Burns (18.2 points per game, 7.3 rebounds in 1989-90) to gain their first NCAA tournament berth since 1963.
The good news for Vanderbilt is that it won the 1990 postseason NIT. The bad news is that without point guard Derrick Wilcox and forward Eric Reid, the Commodores will probably be back in the NIT. Former Kansas State coach Lon Kruger inherits a Florida team that went from SEC champion in 1988-89 to worst in the league. If he can't find help for 6'7" Livingston Chatman, the Gators may stay swamp-bound. Ole Miss coach Ed Murphy was so eager to find out how the Rebels would do without Glass—he led the team in scoring, rebounds, steals and assists last season—that he had them play 10 games in August against teams in Finland and Sweden. The Rebels went 8-2, but it wasn't the SEC.