Not at Duke, which is flying high again behind Chris Carrawell
Shane battier still chuckles at the memory. It was the fall of
1997, and Battier, then a Duke freshman, was hanging out for the
first time with Chris Carrawell, who was beginning his sophomore
season. "Here's this guy, his pants were sagging off his butt,
didn't look like he had a care in the world," Battier says. "I
didn't know if he had any plans for himself 10 minutes from that
time, much less three or four years down the road."
The idea that Carrawell would someday be a star for the Blue
Devils was laughable back then. He would average 8.6 points and
3.9 rebounds during his first three seasons and seemed destined
to be the proverbial guy-who-does-a-little-of-everything. Then
after last season sophomores William Avery and Elton Brand and
freshman Corey Maggette lit out for the pros, and sophomore
Chris Burgess transferred to Utah. That exodus should have
crippled Duke, but the Blue Devils are again back in the
national championship hunt, mostly because Carrawell has been
doing a lot of everything. In wins last week over North Carolina
and Virginia that extended third-ranked Duke's ACC-record
unbeaten streak to 31 games, the 6'6" Carrawell had a total of
48 points (on 19-for-31 shooting), 12 rebounds, five assists and
five steals. Cavaliers coach Pete Gillen calls him "by far the
best player in the conference." Carrawell says, "I wasn't given
stardom. I had to work for it and wait my turn. It didn't hurt
when Corey and those other guys left, either. I'm not going to
After losing their first two games of the season--in part
because freshman center Carlos Boozer was recovering from a
broken left foot suffered in a preseason pickup game--the Blue
Devils had won 18 straight through Sunday to open up a four-game
lead on the rest of the league. This isn't, however, the same
Duke juggernaut that last year rolled to a 37-2 record with an
average margin of victory of 24.7 points. The Blue Devils have
already played five overtime games, a single-season school
record, and won four of them, including last Thursday's 90-86
epic against the Tar Heels.
Coach Mike Krzyzewski understood early that these Duke players
would need to rely on one another more than last year's did,
which is why he directed his assistants during the preseason to
run the players through trust-building exercises at a ropes
course on campus. Still, even Coach K couldn't have foreseen how
quickly his freshmen would learn the ropes. Through Sunday point
guard Jason Williams had started every game and was fourth in
the ACC in assists (5.8 per game). Boozer had progressed quickly
and was averaging 13.4 points and 6.3 rebounds, and 6'7" forward
Mike Dunleavy Jr. was scoring 10.0 points a game as Duke's sixth
Perhaps the most impressive aspect of Carrawell's star turn has
been the way he has shed his happy-go-lucky demeanor to provide
leadership to a team that has no other seniors. Battier says he
could see this coming last fall, when he and Carrawell drove two
hours each way to attend ACC media day in Charlotte. "We talked
about everything--life, growing up, the NBA. I really learned a
lot about him," Battier says. "I could tell he was passionate
about the things he wanted to achieve."
As laughable as it may have once seemed, the guy with the pants
sagging off his butt turned out to be a classic overachiever.
Now he and Battier and their young teammates may be in for
another great ride.
Gonzaga's Mr. Superstitious
All Signs Are Pointing Up
Gonzaga's 6'5" senior guard Richie Frahm isn't the best player
in college basketball, but he might be the most superstitious.
At the first sign of a chill in his shooting touch, he will
fling off his sweatband or pull up his socks or, if he's really
desperate for a change in karma, alter the color of his hair.
After Frahm, whose 17.1 scoring average was second in the West
Coast Conference through Sunday, had zero points during the
first half of last Thursday's league showdown with Pepperdine,
he walked into the locker room and took off the white tank top
he'd been wearing under his jersey. "I'm in there trying to
figure out Pepperdine's defense, and I look up and see Richie
stripping," Bulldogs coach Mark Few said after the game. "I
don't know if there's a rhyme or reason to all of it, but he
seems to think it makes a difference."
It certainly did on Thursday, when Frahm scored 13 points in the
second half--including the go-ahead basket on a driving layup
with 2:57 to play--to help Gonzaga to a 62-57 win and sole
possession of first place in the WCC, a game ahead of the Waves.
The victory ran the Bulldogs' conference record to 8-0 and their
overall mark to 18-5; they'd reeled off 10 straight victories
after starting the season 8-5.
Frahm's shooting was a big reason both for Gonzaga's early
struggles and for its resurgence. He shot a combined 12 for 38
(31.6%) in losses to Cincinnati, Temple and Oregon in
December--at one point during the slump deciding to grow out the
bleached tips of his dark hair in hopes of changing his
luck--but over his last 10 games he had made 58.4% of his shots,
including 52.8% from three-point range. "Richie's a little
crazy," Few says, "but he has really grown as a competitor."
In Frahm, 6'8" junior Casey Calvary and 6'1" senior Matt
Santangelo, the Bulldogs have three starters from the team that
advanced to the Elite Eight of last year's NCAAs. The trio has
needed time, however, to adjust to life without 5'8" Quentin
Hall, who as a senior last season shared point guard duties with
Santangelo. After being slowed by mononucleosis for two months
this season, Santangelo has raised his assist-to-turnover ratio
to almost 3 to 1, and last month he dethroned John Stockton as
Gonzaga's alltime assist leader. Santangelo isn't as effective
in transition as Hall was, though, which means that he, Calvary
and Frahm have had to get more shots in the half-court offense.
"It took about 15 games for them to get comfortable," Few says.
Still, the Bulldogs' mediocre performances outside the
conference leave doubt about whether they can again knock off
higher-seeded teams in the NCAA tournament. Frahm, for one,
appears concerned about his pattern of starting games slowly. "I
need to go play somewhere beforehand so I can do better in the
first half," he said after the game against Pepperdine. Then
again, this team is on quite a hot streak. Maybe this is one
instance in which he shouldn't change a thing.
Manhattan's Record Setter
Seals Has Nose For the Ball
First-year Manhattan coach Bobby Gonzalez had hoped to slowly
bring along his 6'5" freshman swingman, Bruce Seals, but when
the Jaspers lost three scholarship players earlier this
season--two to injury, one to pro ball in Europe--Gonzalez had
no choice but to make Seals his go-to guy. "At first Bruce had a
yellow light to shoot, but he made so many big shots early in
the season, we've given him the green light," says Gonzalez, who
had been an assistant to Pete Gillen at Xavier, Providence and
Virginia before becoming Manhattan's coach.
Last week, in a 105-98 quadruple-overtime loss to Canisius,
Gonzalez gave Seals a "double green light," and he responded
with 41 points on 14-of-39 shooting, including an NCAA-record 27
three-point attempts, of which he hit nine. During the game, in
which he played all 60 minutes, Seals kept begging Gonzalez for
a breather, but several Jaspers were in foul trouble and three
ended up fouling out, so Seals had to stay on the floor. Without
him, the game might have been over much sooner. He made the
game-tying shot at the end of regulation to force overtime.
"Bruce kept saying, 'Coach, I don't want to shoot every time,'
but we were down to six players, and we had to keep going to the
well until the well went dry," says Gonzalez, whose team was
11-10 through Sunday. "It was an unbelievable performance."
Seals, whose father, also named Bruce, played forward for five
seasons with the Utah Jazz and the Seattle SuperSonics, was
averaging 15.7 points through Sunday, while making 38.9% of his
treys. "I don't think I've ever taken that many shots, even in
practice," he says of his exhausting effort against the Golden
Griffins. "I like to shoot and consider myself a scorer, but
I've never been through anything like that." --B.J. Schecter
For the latest scores and recruiting news, plus more from Seth
Davis and Grant Wahl, go to cnnsi.com/basketball/college.
COLOR PHOTO: BOB DONNAN Carrawell (23) helped grind down the Heels with a do-it-all 23 points, six rebounds and five assists.
Weekly Seed Report
Three weeks ago North Carolina tumbled out of the seedings. This
week Kansas, which lost three of four before beating Texas Tech
last Saturday, becomes the latest power to fall. Looks like a
tough year for Dean Smith disciples, doesn't it?
The shocking news of the week is the emergence of three teams
from Oklahoma. Oklahoma State rolled on with wins over Big 12
bottom-feeders Texas Tech and Texas A&M; Tulsa, by virtue of
convincing wins over SMU and TCU, returned as a fourth seed
after a week's absence; and Oklahoma vaulted into the seedings
for the first time thanks to an 83-59 pasting of Texas. Will
all three teams from Oklahoma still be there when the season
ends? We'd sooner not hazard a guess.
1. Duke (18-2)
2. Indiana (17-3)
3. Auburn (19-3)
4. Connecticut (16-5)
1. Cincinnati (22-1)
2. Ohio State (16-3)
3. Tennessee (19-3)
4. Tulsa (22-2)
1. Syracuse (19-0)
2. Kentucky (17-5)
3. Arizona (19-4)
4. Oklahoma (18-3)
1. Stanford (19-1)
2. Michigan State (17-5)
3. Oklahoma State (18-2)
4. Florida (17-4)