For a relatively youthful sport, college basketball has been asked to survive an indecent number of ups and downs. The downs have been bad enough—two gambling scandals within a decade, a scattering of crooked officials, even coaches who eat towels—but the real threat has been the ups. Particularly the 6-foot-10-and-ups. Well, basketball is basketball and progress is progress, and what with antibiotics and modern nutrition, boys are going to grow taller and taller even if you put bricks on their heads. Lamentable as it may be, the sub-6-foot All-America has about gone the way of the 50¢ crew cut, his place taken by a young man capable of looking a giraffe straight in the eye. In the season of 1962-63, however, there is an intriguing exception to the trend: the little man has returned and, temporarily at least, is going to dominate the game. The only difference is that the little man in basketball is now 6 feet 5 and combines the speed of an antelope with the muscles of a moose.
Because he is capable of retaining the skills of a superb athlete at this height, give or take an inch to either side, he is a far better all-round player than either of the extremes. He can drive and shoot and feed and rebound, combining the classic mobility and cleverness of the backcourt man with the size and strength needed to operate inside. The new season ahead is going to be blessed with an abundance of the type, and they are going to dominate both the headlines and the game. Among the very best of them are the player on this week's cover—Cotton Nash, who could lead Kentucky back to the top—and those on the following pages: West Virginia's brilliant Rod Thorn; Bill Bradley of Princeton, the most promising Ivy Leaguer in 15 years; Ron Bonham, top scorer for National Champion Cincinnati; and the others. But the most sensational of all is the determined young man on the opposite page. His name is Arthur Heyman. He plays basketball for Duke. And boy, how Arthur Heyman plays basketball!
Heyman is a senior now and already a legend along that basketball-dizzy stretch of North Carolina known as Tobacco Road. In his first three years at Durham he was 1) slugged so hard by an opposing player that five stitches had to be taken inside his mouth, 2) made the focal point of the most spectacular riot in the history of the Atlantic Coast Conference and 3) hauled into court by a fellow student following a spot of fisticuffs in a dormitory hall. On the other hand, Heyman once stripped off his sweat suit after a game and gave it to a starry-eyed tyke who was only hoping to touch the hero's hand. He devotes a great deal of time to coaching youngsters on the Durham playgrounds, and it was Heyman who saw that the Duke basketball manager had a cake and a party on his birthday. "He is the only athlete we have ever had at Duke," says Red Lewis, the business manager of athletics, "who has never failed to come by my office at the end of a term to say goodby to me and to thank me for what I have done for him. And, Lord knows, I have done little enough." Whether Art Heyman is Sir Galahad with a number on his back or a blood brother to Mack the Knife seems to depend upon which side of Tobacco Road you stand.
Wherever you stand, Heyman, at first glance, does not look much like a basketball player. With his close-cropped black hair, big jaw and large, happy grin, he resembles an oversized Jerry Lewis. He is slightly pigeon-toed and seldom bothers to pick up his size 14 feet when he walks, preferring to shuffle along instead. He also tilts forward from the pelvis, which makes his rump stick out. "The first time I saw him," says Duke Coach Vic Bubas, "I wasn't so much concerned over his basketball ability as whether or not he was going to fall down."
December 10, 1962
Heyman never falls down, nor does anyone push him down, either. Despite his sometimes comical appearance, he is a sturdy boy, 6 feet 5 inches tall and 205 pounds, with very good shoulders, strong legs and huge, powerful hands. He is also the fastest man on the Duke team. With this formidable physical equipment and a brain whetted on a thousand basketball courts, Heyman has developed an approach to the game stripped of all but essentials, as basic as a truck going downhill. You have this round ball, see, and you want to put it through that round rim up there. So Heyman puts the ball through the rim. He may run over a few people to get there and, if they persist in hanging on, he may put them through the rim along with the ball. One way or another, he makes his points. In two years of varsity competition, interrupted once by suspension and again by a sprained ankle, he has made 1,237 of them, some of them in dramatic clusters that turn a basketball game into a furious, one-man rampage.
"What sets Art apart," says Bubas, "is his aggressiveness and his strength. He's a great driver. This is what he does best. He's so quick and fast for his size that one man doesn't have a chance against him. And he's so strong that you can't take the ball away from him. He doesn't look all that strong. Where he gets it, I don't know. I guess it's just something inside." Heyman is far more than just a scorer, however. He has great instinct with passes and is easily the team leader in assists. He can play anywhere—forward, guard, even the pivot—and for two years he has been Duke's leading rebounder.
As a sophomore Heyman joined four Duke seniors—more accurately, the seniors joined Art—and, although they nicknamed him The Pest, they were more than happy to have him around. His 629 points—eighth best in the nation—led them to a 22-6 record. Last year he hit 39 against South Carolina, 38 against Maryland and 36 against Penn State, and was averaging 28.5 when a sprained ankle brought him to a stop. He returned after one week to play out the rest of the season, scored a total of 608 points and helped Duke finish with a 20-5 record.
It is victories, not points, that matter to Heyman. "All he wants to do is win," says Bubas. "You see him around the campus and he's like a big puppy dog, hoping that someone will stop and pet him. Then it's time for a game, and suddenly he's a tiger."
The transformation usually begins well in advance. Art lives on the fourth floor of the Zeta Beta Tau fraternity section of the Duke dorm, in a room with Stalag 402 penciled on the door. On the evening before a game, it sounds like the prisoners are going to break out. Heyman tries to study but can't. He tries to sleep but tumbles and tosses instead. He turns on the light to throw darts at a board on the wall, to the dismay of his roommate. "It's terrible," says Buzzy Mewhort, who was co-captain with Heyman last year. "I roomed with him on the road. In the middle of the night he'd wake me up. 'Do you really think we can beat them?' he'd ask. And he can usually eat a cow, but not before a game."
Immediately before a game, in fact, Heyman gets sick. "We're all sitting around the locker room," says Chuck Zimmer, the manager, "when suddenly Artie jumps up and disappears." Then it's time to go out on the court and Heyman gets his hands on a basketball and everything is all right once again. This is the moment for which Arthur Heyman lives.
Basketball has been his life. As a 10-year-old in Rockville Centre on Long Island he would dribble a basketball everywhere he went, even to the movies. "I was on an organized team as early as the fifth grade," says Art, "but even before that I was always playing basketball somewhere, on the playgrounds, if not at school." He put tape over the lock on the gym door so that he could slip inside on Sunday and practice. Usually he would shoot alone, but occasionally, because he was tall for his age, older boys would invite him into a pickup game. It was here that his aggressive style began. "The most important thing I learned," he says, "was not to shy away from the basket."
In his three years at Oceanside High School, Heyman scored more than 1,500 points, setting a Long Island record, and as a senior averaged over 30 points a game and 25 rebounds. "We won the Nassau County championship," says the Oceanside coach, Frank Januszewski, "and Artie was the team."
Heyman was also an outstanding soccer goalie on an undefeated team, and he had scholarship offers in that sport. But even when basketball season was over, he preferred playing basketball to anything else. On Long Island there was always a summer league of some kind in operation—until the NCAA outlawed the practice two years ago—and Arthur would sometimes play as many as three games a day. The competition often consisted of the best college boys from the New York area, players like Tony Jackson and LeRoy Ellis of St. John's. "I figured out the other day that I have taken something like 10,000 showers," says Arthur. "When he showed up at Duke as a freshman," says Bubas, "Art had already played more basketball, against faster competition, than any senior I had."
He did not simply show up at Duke, of course. At one time or another, between 85 and 90 colleges offered him scholarships. It came down, finally, to a choice among St. John's, NYU, North Carolina and Duke. Art chose North Carolina and even went so far as to sign a grant-in-aid with Coach Frank McGuire. North Carolina then announced that Heyman would play there. When Arthur later changed his mind—a legal but slightly distressing action—the fuse for all the explosions that were to follow had been lighted.
Heyman is embarrassed by the recruiting hassle today, but there are several hundred other people quite willing to talk about it, most of them offering conflicting versions. The truth seems to be this: he signed with North Carolina because McGuire was a man of great charm, an excellent coach who had already recruited swarms of New York boys to play in Chapel Hill. "I don't think Artie really cared where he went to school," a friend says, "just so long as he could play basketball." His stepfather, William Heyman, a Long Island draftsman, cared, however. He got into an argument with McGuire and decided that Arthur would not play for North Carolina after all. Quite by coincidence, Vic Bubas was at this time preparing to sign a contract as the new head basketball coach at Duke. Not at all by coincidence, the day after Bubas signed he was sitting in the Playbill Restaurant of New York's Manhattan Hotel with Heyman.
"Art was one of the real plums," says Bubas. "You're doggoned right I went after him. It's a good thing, too. That season I didn't get anyone else."
There was little indication, at first, that the association would last. "Boy, was Artie cocky!" says Buzz Mewhort. "He had visited the school the spring before, and when we heard that he was going to North Carolina I don't think any of us were too sad. I remember we were walking around the campus, showing him the school, and we got into a discussion of basketball. 'Boy, I'd like to get you under the boards,' he told one of our guys. Later we found out that he was all right. And, of course, he doesn't have that chip on his shoulder anymore."
"I played a round of golf with him not long after he came to school," says a Durham businessman who is an ardent Duke alumnus. "He spent the whole round saying, 'What am I doing at Duke? This is no place for me.' It seems that some of his New York buddies had been writing him. 'I could be making some money at another school instead of playing here for nothing,' he said. You know, I don't think he meant it, even then. He didn't need the money. His dad was well off. It's just that he was only 18 years old and very unsure of himself. He was just trying to be a big man."
At Duke, Heyman grew up. It didn't happen all at once, of course, and Bu-bas, his assistant Fred Shabel, and Bucky Waters, the freshman coach, will bear scars to their dying day received in the service of helping Arthur Heyman age gracefully. "We didn't want to break his spirit," says Bubas, "but we couldn't let him take over the whole state of North Carolina either." Others helped, too, although their motives did not spring from the same source.
A North Carolina player named Dieter Krause ran halfway across the court during a freshman game and swung a haymaker that laid Arthur out as cold as an arctic char. "I really don't know what started that one," says a Durham reporter who was there, "except that Artie had scored 34 points and he just has a way of infuriating opposing players. He takes the ball through them like they weren't there and eventually they just can't stand it. Look what happened when he was a sophomore."
When Artie was a sophomore, Duke and North Carolina played late in the season before a wall-to-wall crowd. North Carolina had lost just one game and was ranked fourth in the nation; Duke had lost just one game—to North Carolina—and was ranked fifth. In the previous game Carolina's famed forward, Doug Moe, had held Heyman to 15 points. "I clipped his picture out of a magazine," says Heyman, "and I stuck it up in my room. I looked at it every day—and by the time we met again, I was ready."
Moe had a reputation as the finest defensive player in the ACC. This time Heyman scored 36 points against him. Before Moe left the game, on fouls, he spit on Arthur's jersey. Arthur is a nice, clean boy, with a normal respect for hygiene, and this did not make him particularly happy. Still, he refrained from clouting Moe. But, with nine seconds remaining in the game and Duke ahead by five points, Heyman fouled Larry Brown, who was driving along the baseline for a basket. He grabbed Brown by the shoulders, gently but firmly, and prevented a shot. The movies show very clearly what happened thereafter.
Brown looked around, and one look was all that he needed. He saw Heyman and he swung, a right and a left, and both landed. So did another North Carolina player, on Arthur's back, and the Duke sophomore went down under a growing pile of bodies. There was a great deal of commotion for a while, and then, suddenly, the pile erupted. Out of the middle came Heyman, and this time he went after North Carolina. It was glorious. Fans piled onto the court, swinging. The Duke brigade finally galloped into view. There hadn't been anything like it in North Carolina since the Yankee gunboats bombarded Wilmington. And after it was all over, Heyman was suspended for the final three ACC games by the conference commission, as were Carolina's Brown and Don Walsh.
"Do you know what they suspended Heyman for?" asks Bubas. "For continuing the fight. For continuing it, understand? Not for starting it. What in the world did they expect him to do? Lie there all night with people walking up and down his spine?"
"It was my biggest game," recalls Art calmly. "We won 81-77. But I know now that I can't afford to fight, no matter what the provocation. I've made up my mind that they can belt me now in a game and kick me and hit me and I'll just say, 'Hit me again.' I won't fight back. This has been a terrible thing, a bad dream. I go someplace to play and the people boo me. For a while I actually cried, but I don't anymore. I guess I'm accustomed to it now. But that doesn't mean that I like it."
"Well," says Bubas, "it's not quite that bad. The only place they really boo him is in Chapel Hill."
Chapel Hill will now be booing the best college basketball player, and one of the best teams, in the land. This is a season that is going to see speed and muscles take the play away from the gangling centers, and Art Heyman is leading the way.
Rod Thorn of West Virginia, rarely seen in so serene a pose, is a cobra-swift All-America who relishes driving to score from his guard position.
Ron Bonham of Cincinnati, a 6-foot-5 junior, is the burly offensive punch on a national championship team that is the choice to win again.
Bill Bradley of Princeton is only a sophomore, but this somber 6-foot-5 210-pounder, with his great poise, already plays like a new Jerry Lucas.
Steve Gray of St. Mary's, swift enough to stay with any opponent yet strong enough to battle the giants, is one of the West's leading scorers.
Van Arsdales of Indiana will mean a season of double trouble for opponents. Identical twins, Tom (left) and Dick are bruising 6-foot-5 205-pounders who can play any position and will sometimes switch, confusing even their own coach.