Mountains are the rage in Colorado—the loftier the better—and the residents get pretty ecstatic about their snow-capped peaks. But on the plains around Fort Collins, an area shortchanged when it comes to alpine vistas, Colorado State University's coach, Jim Williams, now points to his lofty athletes and says: "You can keep the mountains." For years the Williams plea has been, "Give me just one good big man." Suddenly he has three of them who can bat balls away from the basket: 6-foot-9 Dave Sigafoos, 6-foot-8 Brian Etheridge and 6-foot-6 Bill Green.
Though Green is the runt of the front line litter, he is also the best. Williams quivers with anger just thinking about an All-America team without the steel-legged 230-pound senior on it. "I've played him underneath the last two years to take advantage of his rebounding and inside moves," says Williams. But with two other giants up front he'll get a chance to roam around a bit.
In Etheridge, a transfer from the University of Oklahoma, where he was a regular for two years, Miller has a strong and experienced board man who will give Green plenty of rebound help. Sigafoos is the tallest of the trio, and at 180 pounds as thin as a TV tower. He won't be the bull of the boards that the other two are, but he has excellent speed and will dash in, make mischief and dash out again. State will use its height to break fast at every opportunity.
The gap in the Fort Collins future is in the backcourt. A pair of semiregulars return at guard, and Williams has shifted rugged 6-foot-4 Forward Bill Ellis back there, too. The lettermen, Terry Matthews and Gary Anderson, will play a lot but cannot provide the hot outside shooting State had last year. This will permit opponents to keep some extra pressure on the tall front line.
Colorado State U. was left out this season when the Skyline Conference (State's previous affiliation) joined up with the best of the Border Conference. It will have to go it alone as a national independent, which may turn out to be a blessing, for Williams now will have a better opportunity to show the rest of the country his mountainous boys.
UCLA, at Colorado State, Dec. 8
Texas Western, at Texas Western, Dec. 21
Utah State, at Utah State, Jan. 19