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21. Indiana How long is Bob Knight likely to keep his new cool? Until his undersized squad, led by A.J. Guyton, comes up short

Granted, it's early. But one can't help wonder whether Bob
Knight is finally mellowing. After a summer spent hunting,
fishing and golfing all over the country, the slimmed-down
Indiana coach was scarcely recognizable at preseason practices.
More teacher than tyrant, he eschewed obscenity and raised his
voice loudest to razz New Jersey Nets forward Brian Evans, a
former Hoosier who was working out in Bloomington during the NBA
lockout. "He might be going kind of easy on us now," says junior
point guard A.J. Guyton. "We'll see what happens after we lose a
few games."

That might take awhile. Though young, Knight's 28th team at
Indiana has four starters back from last year, including Guyton,
who spent his summer helping the U.S. win a gold medal at the
Goodwill Games. Also back is sophomore swingman Luke Recker, who
is so confident after holding his own (sort of) against Michael
Jordan at His Airness's camp that he's considering turning pro
after the season. Those two potential All-Americas will get help
from hard-nosed guard Michael Lewis, a starter last year, and
6'4" freshman Dane Fife, the younger, more talented brother of
former Michigan guard Dugan Fife.

If the backcourt is an embarrassment of riches, the Hoosiers are
impoverished on the blocks. With the departure of center Jason
Collier--a Norm Peterson regular in Knight's doghouse, who
transferred to Georgia Tech in the middle of last season--the
Hoosiers are left with no upperclassman taller than 6'8". That
means force-fed minutes for Kirk Haston, a 6'10" freshman from
Lobelville, Tenn. "We'll have to play quick and help each other
out on defense," says Guyton. "But I think we're headed in the
right direction."

A program that claimed two NCAA titles in the 1980s, Indiana has
won but one tournament game since '94 and is overdue for a
breakthrough season. The strength of the guards will ensure that
the Hoosiers contend in the watered-down Big Ten, earn an NCAA
berth for the 14th straight year and perhaps even neutralize
Knight's Vesuvian temper. But unless Indiana can magically
spackle the chasm in the middle, its shot at a bigger
prize--like this team's talent--is strictly outside.

--L. Jon Wertheim



SF [***]Luke Recker 6'6" So. 12.8 ppg
PF Lynn Washington 6'7" Jr. 17.5 ppg*
C [***]William Gladness 6'8" Sr. 54.2 FG%
SG Dane Fife 6'4" Fr. 25.9 ppg**
PG [***]A.J. Guyton 6'1" Jr. 16.8 ppg

'97-98 record: 20-12 Final rank (coaches' poll): unranked
[***]Returning starter *ppg as juco soph **ppg as high school