For decades the end product at quiet, leafy old Davidson College has been a species called the Davidson Gentlemen—hand-polished Southerners of good manners and great learning. The ivy on Davidson's walls is the real stuff; the Rhodes people come there looking for scholars (they have found 14, a remarkable figure for a 1,000-man student body); 70% of the faculty members are doctors of something or other, and it is the last place one would expect to find the best basketball team in the country. But there it is: the fastest, fairest band of educated ruffians around, coached by Charles G. (Lefty) Driesell. Davidson once settled for moral victories (having played the game, after all, like gentlemen), but Lefty will have none of it. "A moral victory," he has scrawled on a raggedy poster over the dressing-room door, "is like kissing your sister." Instead, he demands and gets hard-nosed basketball, a fast-break-first-then-wait-for-the-shot style that last season enabled Davidson to crack the alltime NCAA shooting record by hitting 54.6% from the floor. Four of Driesell's top men are back—the fifth, Captain Terry Holland, is back too, but as a coach—and there are three scholarly marksmen waiting in line for the one open spot on the team. All-America Center Fred Hetzel spent his vacation touring Europe by motorcycle, and the thought of his 6-foot-8, 230-pounder hunched over a bike gave Lefty the jitters all summer. But Hetzel returned—despite one smashup—to resume shooting at an average of 27.3 points per game and grabbing rebounds at an average of 13.5 per game. Circling the big man will be familiar teammates Barry Teague, who directs all the action and whose only liability is his 5-foot-11 height, and Don Davidson and Dick Snyder at the forwards, who are both 6 feet 5 and who averaged 29.2 between them. The open spot at guard will go to Charlie Marcon, a 6-foot-3 senior who played a fierce reserve last season. Two spare forwards, Paul Briggs, 6 feet 5, and Ronnie Stone, 6 feet 3, make up the top of the ready reserves. Of the seven, Hetzel inside and Don Davidson outside should outshoot everyone in the Southland again. Davidson's only fault last year was a tendency to stage fright in tournament play, a problem experience has now solved.
Like other squads farther down the list, this one resembles a football lineup in physical statistics. The only new starter, Guard John Thompson, measures in as the runt of the litter at 6 feet 1, 170 pounds; the rest go up from 6 feet 5 and 200. Each of the four holdovers pulled down at least 200 rebounds last season—a tribute to tenacious shot pursuit and blocking out, because Michigan is hardly the nation's fastest team. No one is likely to outrebound these Wolverines; to beat them, the other team will have to shoot better and more often, and that will not be easy. Michigan's shooting percentage last year was .470, and its scoring average per game 86.4. The off nights and brief stretches of complete collapse last season may have been caused by inexperience; the toughest problem this year will be the schedule, particularly within the Big Ten, which is packed with good teams. Michigan meets two of the better ones—Indiana and Northwestern—only on the road, while its sturdiest competitor, Minnesota, plays them at home. Michigan must win the Big Ten outright to get a chance at the national title. In case of a tie, under an odd conference rule, the team that has more recently represented the Big Ten does not go to the NCAA. But Michigan should need that excuse only if All-America Cazzie Russell's ankle, which he hurt late last season, continues to restrict him. In practice it has not bothered Russell, though he still limps a bit after a rest period. Russell is an enthusiastic young man with a 24.8 average who can do almost anything on the court, and is often compared to Oscar Robertson. Thompson, the other guard, is a steady performer but will have competition from George Pomey and John Clawson, who can swing to forward, and sophomore Dennis Bankey. At center Bill Buntin (23.2, 338 total rebounds) is a smart player with a fine second effort and a good touch out to the foul line. The forwards are well balanced. Captain Larry Tregoning can rebound and shoot if given room, which he will get from defenses that sag onto Buntin and keep an eye out for Russell. But Tregoning is most valuable for his defensive ability. Oliver Darden, 6 feet 7, 220, was considered an even better rebounder than Buntin by some of Michigan's opponents. Pomey, 6-foot-8 Jim Myers and 6-foot-10 sophomore Center Craig Dill give Coach Dave Strack a utility front line that would start almost everywhere else. This Michigan team has created such interest that for the first time students will have to pay—$1—to watch games. It will be a buck well spent.
Last year the Bruins were a near-perfect team, the abilities of the players meshing like the gears of a Ferrari. Any losses in personnel would have ruined UCLA's balance, and the talents of Jack Hirsch or Fred Slaughter will be missed as much as those of Walt Hazzard. Nevertheless the talent left behind and the talent arriving is quite ample. It will make an altogether new UCLA team, and a good one. Coach of the Year John Wooden has only two starters back—Guard Gail Goodrich and Forward Keith Erickson. But juniors Kenny Washington, a springboard forward, and Center Doug McIntosh were the sixth and seventh men on a seven-man team, and both played larger roles as the season wore on. And there are Edgar Lacey, the 6-foot-6 191-pound re-bounder, considered by many the best sophomore in the country, and Guard Fred Goss, who sat out last season. Before his vacation Goss was often rated the equal of Goodrich, and Goodrich is worthy of All-America mention. Goss is not the playmaker Hazzard was, but he is almost as quick and a better shot. Goodrich—"Twig" to his teammates—has gained about 15 pounds (to 170), and the extra weight seems to have given him more drive and range. After these two, Wooden is short at guard and, if forced, must bring Washington into the backcourt. Erickson, a volleyball Olympian, was the team's leading rebounder and is a fine defender; he was the anchor man on the famous zone press. Wooden has not decided whether current personnel will permit him to use the press, but on offense the Bruins will run. Wooden is from Indiana, and they run in Indiana. This team has the board power, with the addition of Lacey, to rely on repeated breaks. Lacey averaged 19 rebounds and 22.9 points with the freshmen, though he is no threat away from the basket. He is not the only bright sophomore prospect; in fact, 6-foot-7 Center Mike Lynn could beat Mcintosh out. Everybody will be pointing for the Bruins and their 30-game win streak; trouble could come in the opener at Illinois this week.
These have not been happy years for Kansas, a school with a basketball heritage of 66 seasons and 899 victories. Dick Harp took over as coach in 1957 to find that everyone in the state expected him and sophomore Wilt Chamberlain to win the national championship. The Jayhawkers finished second, and it was considered a disgrace. Then the record dropped to 32-43 for the last three seasons; home attendance, which averaged 15,500 in 1957, was down to less than 5,000 a game last year. Finally Harp resigned, and his assistant, Ted Owens, stepped up. Owens has tried to base a fresh start on the glories of the past. Kansas lockers have been painted with the names of past Jayhawker greats and photo murals proclaim scenes of old triumphs. Compared to his predecessor, Owens is lucky: there are no illusions about the national supremacy of this team. But with a powerful front line featuring George Unseld, a 6-foot-7 senior, and Walt Wesley, a 6-foot-11 junior, Owens has inherited what looks like the best team in the Big Eight. Wesley, only 19, is burdened with some faults—he plays too erect, drops his hands on defense, lacks a second effort—but he is an eager learner and is slowly correcting these deficiencies. He scored 32 points against Kansas State in his final game last year. Unseld, who averaged 18.4, is also working hard to improve himself. In the past he has tended to tire badly, but Owens believes that this was caused by excess weight; Unseld is 20 pounds lighter than last year's 240, and looks fit. Riney Lochmann, a 6-foot-5 junior who missed most of the 1963-64 season because of a knee operation, is well again and is set as the other forward, but he will have to watch sophomore Rod Franz, whose defensive and ball-handling deficiencies are forgiven as soon as he starts shooting. Guards Del Lewis and Dave Schichtle did not score much but were instrumental in something of a closing rush that Kansas mounted late last year. Even so Schichtle seems to have lost his job to 6-foot-5 Al Lopes, a converted forward in from Coffeyville Junior College. Lewis, a good leader, has an outside shot that might take some of the pressure off the big men. The backcourt's lack of speed will hurt. Owens plans to have his men pick up opponents three or four steps farther out than has been their custom, but they are not quick enough in recovery to gamble too much on defense. Hopefully, the big men will be there if anyone slips through, and Kansas should be able to handle almost anyone on the boards.
The stress is on strength this season at Duke, and many of the Blue Devils, in street clothes, could pass as piano movers. To make matters worse for the rest of the Atlantic Coast Conference, Coach Vic Bubas has not been forced to sacrifice mobility for muscle; in practice the team has been playing the brand of ball that prompts 6-foot-7 senior Brent Kitching to show up wearing a boxer's mouthpiece. Even senior Haskell (Hack) Tison, who rises to a whiplike 6 feet 10, has eight new pounds, added by lifting weights. The overall effect is one of power on every play. There is firm purpose behind it all: Duke has been in the top 10 the last five years and the almost winner of the NCAA title for two seasons, and this year Bubas wants to go the whole distance. Stripped of last year's leaders by graduation, he is designing a new Duke around Center Tison and is surrounding him with strong men. The two 6-foot-6 starting forwards, sophomore Bob Riedy and junior Jack Marin, jointly weigh 410 pounds and run a mean front line. Both will double at center, too, and Kitching will back them up at 210 pounds, mouth guard and all. Stocking the backcourt are Pennsylvania imports Denny Ferguson (6 feet), Steve Vacendak (6 feet 1) and Ron Herbster (6 feet 2), plus New Jersey sophomore Bob Verga (6 feet). It is possible Duke runs the most rugged offense south of the NBA. The team employs a pro-style attack: plays start in set patterns and end up with everybody free-lancing. Tison plays center in the George Mikan tradition, with his back to the basket while the action swirls around him, clapping his hands for the ball and clearing a path on all sides by wriggling his backside. All this will bring many baskets, but Duke's weakness in rebounding may offset that edge. In the Atlantic Coast Conference the whole season is decided in a three-day March tournament, and Duke's enormous advantage here is poise. The Blue Devils seldom lose conference tourneys. It may be subliminal but part of that poise comes from Duke's dressing room: the team brings its own player and rock 'n' roll records to suit up by. The last time Bubas listened in, the Muscles were singing something that sounded like, "We're on our way to the NCAA, yeah, yeah, yeah."
6 SAN FRANCISCO
when the Dons' coach, Peter Peletta, arrived at USF four years ago he lived the first three months at an undertaker's. One day he commandeered a hearse to take him to the airport, and the driver went directly to a graveyard. "This thing steers itself," he apologized. But Peletta made the plane, and things at USF have been up ever since. The Dons have won two straight Western Athletic Conference titles and are being led toward a third by a genuine All-America in Center Ollie Johnson. They have minimal conference competition, and the differences between them and UCLA and Seattle are so small that any one of the three could win in the West without a surprise. Last year USF ran off 19 straight; in the loss to UCLA that broke the string a couple of pairs of tonsils were as responsible as anything else. The tonsils are gone, but the owners thereof—6-foot-9 Erwin Mueller and 6-foot-6 Joe Ellis—are back. The tonsils had greatly hampered their breathing, and both tired desperately against UCLA after USF had gone ahead by as much as 13 points. Ellis and Mueller, juniors now, were worked into the starting lineup at just about the time the team started clicking, and they give topflight help to Johnson. Ellis, so graceful, is quick enough to handle the small guards on defense and is tough enough to move up front and fight off the boards. Mueller, another superb defender, will start at one forward and Dick Brainard, a 6-foot-4 senior, will be at the other. Reliable if unspectacular, Brainard is a good shot. Most of the Dons are. The team was fifth in the country at .483 last year. Only one soph has made the squad and only two regulars were lost, so the players have no problems with familiarity of style. The big concern must be with depth up front; Ellis is so good at moving the ball that he cannot be released for fulltime forecourt work. He will team in the backcourt with 6-foot-2 Russ Gumina, who had to be rushed along last year as a sophomore, but should be smoother as a junior. Senior Huey Thomas has speed and may get the call against opponents who like to run. The one sophomore, Larry Blum, could pass and shoot his way right onto the first string before too long. Blum is only 5 feet 11 but he can shoot—he broke Bill Russell's freshman record—and he has both the eyes and the hands of a passer. Johnson was fifth in the nation in shooting percentage and 10th in rebounds, and opponents will have to concentrate on him. When they do, it should open things up for Ellis and Mueller. These fellows are not going to drive Peletta to a graveyard.
7 NOTRE DAME
it is impossible to ignore the similarities between Notre Dame's new football and basketball coaches. Ara Parseghian and Johnny Dee are both 40, each has a wife and three kids and, says Dee: "We were both better basketball than football players." A lawyer who has coached winners in college, AAU and pro ball, Dee inherits a losing (10-14) team and still has the courage to say in advance that "basketball is 80% coaching." Fortunately, as Parseghian did, Dee picks up a losing team that is chock-full of potential. The Irish had it last year, too, but the former sophomore stars suffered a junior letdown. Now they are seniors and, hopefully, ready to go again. What killed Notre Dame last season was, first of all, slovenly defense—opponents averaged 83.9 and topped 100 five times—plus sloppy ball-handling and inconsistent rebounding. The last was true despite the fact that 6-foot-6 Ron Reed and 6-foot-9 Walt Sahm each picked off 17 rebounds a game, to rank sixth and seventh in the nation. Dee figures to improve the defense, in one way, simply by disciplining the offense. The Irish will do no free-lancing but will stick to 16 basic plays. The shooters, led by Larry Sheffield (22.3 average) and Reed (20.0), are there, and if the defensive rebounding holds up, the Irish will run, run, run like the Gingerbread Boy. With junior Bucky McGann taking over much of the playmaking, Sheffield should be able to get off his dependable jump shot more often. He has the good moves, and so does Reed. At times Reed may switch to a high post and send the rugged Sahm to a corner. McGann, 6 feet 2, may also move into the high pivot. Jay Miller will be in one corner except when McGann goes into a post. Then Reed and Sahm will work the corners. Sahm is also a scorer, though on this team his 17.4 average was only third-best last year. These combinations, Dee thinks, make eight men out of his top five, and he has plenty of reserves. "This team," he says, "is pretty close, physically, to what I consider ideal."
Adolph Rupp says he was particularly "distressed" when the Kentucky football team collapsed early and got people thinking about basketball so soon. Not much sympathy is indicated—Rupp always sings the blues in November. His smallish Wildcats are talented, and the 11,666 people who months ago bought out Memorial Coliseum for the season should see another contending Southeastern Conference team. Though once again Kentucky goes to war without a big center, the assets of this squad conjure up images of past championship teams. Every good Rupp team has been built around strong, quick guards, and he's got them again. Tommy Kron, a 6-foot-5 junior, will handle one backcourt spot unless frontline deficiencies force Rupp to move him there. Kron probably will team with senior Terry Mobley, who is a hefty 6 feet 2. Mobley has to beat out Randy Embry, and though Embry is the better shot, he is only 5 feet 11, so Mobley's size and his ball-handling ability are likely to win him the position. Then there is Louie Dampier, a 6-foot sophomore who is being compared to Ralph Beard. Deadeye out to the circle—he hit 50% with the frosh for 26.7 per game—Dampier could force his way into the starting lineup by midseason. With Cotton Nash and Ted Deeken gone, the attack should be more fluid, as it was in those years when the guards played the key roles. But 6-foot-6 Center John Adams still has an important part to play, especially on the boards, and if he does not continue the improvement he began to show toward the end of last season, Rupp will have a serious problem. He will have to bring Larry Conley into the pivot, and Conley is only 6 feet 3. With Adams at center, Conley will play forward, where he is best suited. He and Pat Riley make the corners as strong as the guard positions. A 6-foot-3 sophomore, Riley is from Schenectady, N.Y., where he came within four points of Barry Kramer's career scoring record—and he can rebound, too. Another sophomore, a 6-foot-2 leaper named Gene Stewart, will fill in up front. Despite a significant increase in team speed, the defense does not yet appear as sharp as that of past seasons. Kentucky will return to a man-to-man defense, basically, this year but will use a 1-3-1 zone on occasion. Last season, after resisting for 33 years, Rupp finally tried the zone. Evidently he wasn't completely satisfied with the results.
For decades Minnesotans stocked their state university's basketball roster with muscular plodders fresh out of the 10,000 lakes. But they finally have given up and are recruiting out of state. The result is that for the first time since 1937, when Coach John Kundla was himself the star, the Big Ten title trophy could come to Minneapolis. The Gophers finished a game out last year, but they trounced Michigan 89-75 the last time the two teams met and, significantly, they did it the way people used to trounce them—agility over brawn. But those speedy out-of-state sophomores had a lot to assimilate last year. Kundla admits that he was almost ready to cancel his set offense when the team finally began to show it could follow the patterns at New York's Holiday Festival last December. The Gophers have no such option on defense—they must be harassing, particularly up front, because they lack height. This team must move to win, a fact that has been impressed upon it in fall scrimmages against a tall and classy freshman group. Both guard positions are set—juniors Archie Clark, 6 feet 1½, and Don Yates, 6 feet 3. Clark can be described simply as an all-round player, exceptional on defense. A mature undergraduate, he is 22—Minnesota found him in the service, where he was All-Air Force. Yates, from Uniontown, Pa., has bursting speed and exceptional jumping ability. Wes Martins is only 5 feet 11 but has a good shot, which makes him the right sort of man to rush in for a quick score. Mel Northway, 6 feet 8, 225 pounds, is sturdy and reliable in the post—a youth cast in the old Minnesota image. He sacrifices his own scoring potential—and he has a good short touch—by setting up the speed kids for drives and quick jumps. Kundla hopes to free Northway more this season with a double-pivot offense. The Gophers are set at one forward spot with Lou Hudson, a broad-shouldered 6-foot-5 North Carolinian. Hudson led the team last year with 18.1, and though he tends to tire, he is still the biggest threat on a well-balanced squad. The other corner post is currently assigned to Terry Kunze, a sophomore gun who failed to fire much last year. Kunze, 6 feet 4, has been moved from guard, and he does not look comfortable in the forecourt. He will have to do a better job working the boards to fend off Dennis Dvoracek (6 feet 6), who was no more than a spot player last year. Minnesota is one big forward away from being as good as anyone—which is just about what they said about UCLA last fall.
10 BRIGHAM YOUNG
When Stan Watts and his kid brother, Nick, were collegiate basketball stars, Mother Watts admonished Nick: "Always pass the ball to Stanley, son." This was unusual advice, because Stan played for Brigham Young, and Nick for Utah. "BYU deserves to win sometimes," explained Mrs. Watts, with unassailable motherly logic. Stan Watts is now head coach at Brigham Young, and this is the year BYU will win, not only sometimes but most of the time. A rival coach in the Western Athletic Conference says, "BYU's second team could win the WAC championship—if anybody could tell which was the second team." One surefire clue is to look for Center John Fairchild; the team he is playing on is the first team. Fairchild is 6 feet 8, a senior, skinny, at times lazy, dark and handsome. Unlike most big men, he is an extremely accurate shooter from the outside. If Brigham Young's foes know about Fairchild, they do not know all that goes with him, i.e.: the four other starters from last year's slow-to-jell team, a couple of frontline reserves, and the intact five-man 1963-64 freshman team, which won 14, lost none and averaged 109 points to 74 for its opponents. There is so much talent that shiny-pated Watts is almost embarrassed. "We have more depth than I can ever remember," he says. The deepest part of that depth is Craig Raymond, a near facsimile of a redwood tree. Raymond is 6 feet 11, and when he sweeps the boards, he passes off in almost the same motion that gets him the ball. With Raymond rebounding, the Cougar trademark—the fast break—should be more effective than ever. (BYU, unfortunately, thinks defense is something best left to McNamara.) If Raymond isn't the first of the sophomores to become a starter, Gary Hill will be. Hill is the alltime best Utah prep star, a fine shooter and salt-flat fast. In early practice sessions Watts had a "first" team of Fairchild at center, Mike Gardner, Dick Nemelka and Jeff Congdon (all lettermen) alternating at guard, and junior Steve Kramer teaming with senior Bob Quinney at forward. They are all hustling because a lot of likely lads want to play. Aside from poor defense, one question remains. Can all that talent flower fully under Stan Watts's genteel prodding? Watts is an extremely soft-spoken, low-key gentleman whose wildest tirade in 15 years as a coach was the remark to a losing team, "You fellows were pretty sloppy." At the moment, however, the Cougars seem mean and sassy.
11 ST. LOUIS
It is called Billiken's knee, the discriminating malady that seeks out St. Louis centers every year—Bevo Nordmann in 1961, Garry Garrison in 1962, Don Dee in 1963. It strikes early in the season, and there goes one knee, one center and one promising Billiken season. It hangs heavy over this year's team, for Garrison is back for a final try. If he is able to play just reasonably well, St. Louis should win the Missouri Valley. In practice Garrison has been favoring the leg, but he is moving on it better than last year when he courageously limped into 22 games. "He was," Coach John Benington says, "the best one-legged player in the country." Somehow Garrison managed 163 rebounds and 184 points. He has since had another operation and is wearing a brace instead of 15 yards of tape. Garrison is an unorthodox shooter, with small hands for a man 6 feet 8, but he has a fine touch in close and rebounds well. With 6-foot-10 Gil Beckemeier available, Benington will move Garrison to a corner, but both are foul prone so St. Louis probably will play a zone defense when the two big men are in. Opponents have described the Billiken style as a "karate defense" because it is furiously aggressive. Benington views it as the defensive equivalent of a free-lance offense, encouraging initiative for ball-stealing and interceptions, and his two starting guards—Rick Rineberg and Sam Ulrich—play it to the hilt. Rineberg also guides the team on offense. If John Smith recovers from jaundice, he will be at least a third guard until his eligibility runs out in midseason. And two high-scoring newcomers, John Kilo and Bob Cole, are coming fast. Cole has been especially impressive in practice. A couple of rugged men named Rich—Naes and Parks—will either start at the forwards or split one if Garrison can go as a regular. Neither shoots too well, though Naes fought his way to a 13.1 average last year. On offense St. Louis plans patterns rather than free-lance, but takes the first good shot. Making the shot has been the problem. Last season's team percentage was only .395 from the field and .597 from the foul line. That's not championship shooting and if it doesn't improve, the defense may really have to try karate.
In Philadelphia, competition among the Big Five is so intense that the schools worry more about their neighbors than they do about the rest of their schedules. They work deviously to outfox each other, changing defenses for every game, and no one has been more successful at it of late than Coach Jack Kraft, who in three years has rung up a 10-3 record in Big Five games. Despite the departure of two key players his Main Liners should again be the best in Philly and perhaps in the whole East. Kraft's complicated defense ploys will continue to win games. Basically, Villanova plays some variation of a zone until a rival player penetrates it. Then the Wildcats go into a switching man-to-man. The object is not to slow the game or to stall but, as Kraft says, "to force the other fellows to shoot from bad spots." And shooting anywhere near Kraft's star, 6-foot-7 Jim Washington, is likely to be a bad spot. When opponents get past the outer defense, Washington generally is waiting for them; after he has batted the ball out of their hands once or twice, they lose some of their confidence. With Wally Jones graduated to the pros, Washington should finally gain the attention due him. He is, ideally, a forward, but Kraft seldom was able to play him facing the basket last year. Now Kraft plans to start either of two tall sophomores, 6-foot-9 Frank Gaidjunas or 6-foot-8 Bill Soens, at center, so Washington may finally be able to go to a corner. At times Kraft may use both sophomores with Washington, particularly against tall teams. Otherwise, Bernie Schaeffer will start in the other corner, with Eric Erick-son as alternate. Erickson, 6 feet 4, is another tough defensive player. He can also play out of the backcourt, but the Wildcats are well staffed there. The two who shared Jones's company last year. Bill Melchionni and George Leftwich, will now start together, and Kraft expects them to contribute about 30 points a game. Melchionni is such a deadeye that it is a standard scrimmage gag for everyone to do double takes whenever he misses. Leftwich suffered by playing in Jones's shadow, and he was out two years ago with a bad knee, but his preseason work has been excellent. If there is any letdown by these two, soph Pete Coleman is a reliable replacement. Villanova has the talent—and first-rate coaching.
The ecumenical blandishments emanating from Rome pale before the example of Seattle University. This is a Jesuit school, but Coach Bob Boyd is a Protestant and he can field a team with three sons of Baptist ministers. For the last two-thirds of the season he may also have the best overseas player on a U.S. college campus, 6-foot-7 Teo Cruz of Puerto Rico, who led his country to a fourth-place Olympic finish. If Cruz becomes scholastically eligible in January and if he has learned to play Boyd's offense, he could help take the Chiefs right down Route 99 to Portland and the NCAA finals. Seattle is depending heavily on sophomores, but it has depth and muscle—and, maybe most important, it has developed a discipline under Boyd that is atypical of past teams. Last season, Boyd's first at Seattle, four players—including a 27-point star up from the freshmen—quit in the face of the tough training program, and Boyd booted two others off for smoking. But those who hung on acquired pride as well as conditioning. Boyd drills intricately, building both his offense and his pressure defense part by part; the team did not have a complete full-court scrimmage till November 21. The attack is largely patterned, a kind of disciplined free-lance with many options that leads to balanced scoring. Last year the three top scorers averaged 16 and 17 points. Two are gone, but quick Guard Charlie Williams is back. In the Northwest, Williams is advertised as the best six-footer in the country, and he may be. Since last season he has had a disk operation and, eased of the pain he formerly endured, he should be even more agile. He will get most of his help from last year's 19-0 freshmen. Six-foot-7 local boy Tom Workman led this juggernaut with 23.4 and should step into one of the forward vacancies. With another sophomore, Elzie Johnson, 6 feet 5, and senior Rich Turney, 6 feet 6, Boyd has three good men from whom to pick his two forwards. But he will use his bench; he likes to and he has one. Williams' running mates are 5-foot-10 Jack Tebbs and Peller Phillips. Phillips plays a lot like Williams, though not as well, so Tebbs, a better shot, may prove a more useful complement to Williams' all-round floor game. Ralph Hey ward provides more height, but at a sacrifice of speed. In the pivot, waiting for Cruz, are L. J. Wheeler and Malkin Strong, who is well named and a staunch advocate of the stuff shot. "Malkin," a teammate says, "is very effective up to three feet."
The Commodores have not always been a break-and-run team. When Roy Skinner came to coach four years ago they played the game at a dead walk. With each season he has speeded up the tempo, and this year Skinner has them going like greyhounds. "The way we intend to run the fast break and the pressing defense," says Skinner ominously, "we may not even be able to play any one boy for 40 minutes. It will be too tiring." And what about fresh players? "Well," says Skinner in the understatement of the Southeastern Conference, "we are deeper than anybody else." Deep, indeed: nine of last year's 10 varsity players are back in uniform, Vanderbilt has reserves up to here and the bench cannot hold all the hot sophomores. The Commodores are building around 6-foot-9 Clyde Lee, the 205-pound forward-center who is one of the best all-purpose men in the area and certainly its outstanding junior. As a sophomore last term, High-C Lee headed up scoring (18.8 per game) and rebounding (15.6 per game). The statistics are not startling but they are a reflection of Lee's sense of team play. "Coach Skinner gets on him all the time for not shooting more," says one Commodore, "but this year he will." The school has a storehouse of flashy guards—so many, in fact, that Skinner is talking airily of running his offense with a three-guard spread. "It would give us a real outside threat at forward—another good shooter there," says Skinner, "and we could really run a fast, fast break with three guards on the court at once." A normal lineup will feature Lee playing a spot loosely known as center-forward rebounder-in-chief, with 6-foot-6 Ron Green and returning letterman Bob Grace, a 6-foot-7 senior and second-high rebounder, sharing the forward role. To make that guard lineup. Skinner will combine returning seniors Roger Schurig, 6 feet 4, and John Ed Miller, a six-footer and one of the team's top percentage shooters, with sophomore Jerry Southwood, a 6-foot-2 whirlwind who is only 18 and will be, says Skinner, "one of the great ones." If Skinner's 40-minute forecast is correct and these six wear out, he has six more behind them and six more and so on. With all this in prospect, Vanderbilt's 7,329-seat field house already is sold out for the season, and Skinner has felt it necessary to warn in the campus paper, "We have to avoid getting too cocky."
Everything came up short at Bradley this year. Not only does the basketball team lack a player over 6 feet 6, but the popular Meri-N-Ettes are so small that they cannot achieve the usual symmetry in their chorus-type kick-line presentations between the halves of Bradley games. Fortunately for the team, Coach Chuck Orsborn has always believed in fitting a system to the players available. Four seasons ago Orsborn was blessed with such height that he sometimes went to a triple pivot. This year he will use what he calls a shell offense—no pivot at all. With the middle open, Bradley's hotshot sophomore guards, Alex McNutt and Tom Campbell, will have that much more room to drive. Stars of the 15-0 freshman team last year, the 6-foot McNutt and the 6-foot-2 Campbell do almost everything well, with McNutt better on defense, Campbell in moving the ball. Because they are so fast, certain phases of the typical Bradley game are sure to improve—the fast break and the full-court press. The trouble is up front where 6-foot-6, 190-pound Eddie Jackson, a forward by any measure, must handle rival big men in the pivot. Jackson is an exceptional defender, but the Missouri Valley is loaded with giants. He will get help from 6-foot-3 Ernie Thompson, the best jumper on campus and a fine offensive rebounder. Due for improvement is the fifth starter, 6-foot-5 Ron Martin, a streak shooter who is acquiring consistency. Orsborn, one of the country's most successful coaches, is also an unabashed lover of the New York theater. In the past eight years his record is 177 victories to 47 defeats, and in six of those years he has taken the Bradley team to the NIT tournament in New York and to a hit show at the same time. The only thing likely to keep him and his Braves from seeing Hello, Dolly next March is an NCAA date in Portland.
16 MIAMI OF OHIO
Tall, personable Dick Shrider, who serves as athletic director and basketball coach at Miami, has seven of his top scorers back from last season, including all five starters. Five of the seven are seniors who will be playing a fourth season of college basketball together. It is a team that has experience, speed, poise and, above all, shooting ability. Every Miami player who saw considerable action last season shot more than 42%. The top scorer is lean Jeff Gehring, a 6-foot-6, 180-pound senior, who has averaged 17.1 and 19.9 points in two previous seasons. He shoots hooks, jumps, can play inside and out and can hit deep. Gehring will probably team at forward with 6-foot-5, 185-pound Jerry Peirson, not flashy but consistent and a B-plus student. He averaged only 7.8 points last year but was third in rebounds and shot 45%. Backup men at forwards are 6-foot-4, 200-pound junior Rich Chamberlain, a reserve last year, and a 6-foot-2, 170-pound sophomore, Walter Williams, the only first-year man with a chance to see much action. Miami's most valuable player last year was Center Charley Dinkins who, at 6 feet 5, 210, is one of the game's smallest pivot men. But he is a tremendous leaper, and Shrider describes him as "a little Bill Russell." He blocks a lot of shots, and is good at picking up the little man coming through. Behind Dinkins is improving Jim Patterson, a 6-foot-6 215-pounder from Hamilton, Ohio, who can play either center or forward. The probable starting guards are two seniors, Charley Coles and Skip Snow, the best defensive man on the club. A third senior at guard is Johnny Swann who, at 5 feet 10, can palm a basketball and dunk it. He came to Miami on his own from White Sulphur Springs, W. Va. Patterson is the only "name" prep player on the team, which Shrider put together by careful recruiting among the smaller Ohio schools. He has balanced scoring inside and out, so he will continue to play a single post offense, with a lot of cutting off the pivot. Miami lost the Mid-American Conference title by a game last year but should win it this time. On the drawing boards at the school are plans for a new assembly hall, scheduled for completion by the 1966-67 season, that will seat more than 10,000 for basketball. This team could fill a place that size right now.
17 NORTH CAROLINA
Coach Dean Smith is something of a gymnasium home-movie buff. He has an impressive collection of films he calls Tar Heels on Parade, enough to make up a weekly basketball thriller serial. Each shows a different aspect of play (one reel contains nothing but splices of fast breaks); each has the same plot and the same star: 6-foot-5½ Billy Cunningham. What pleases Director Smith—and what disturbs North Carolina's opponents—is that the 218-pound Cunningham does not use a double for the stunt scenes. He is as good in life as he is on the training-room silver screen. The Tar Heel record last season was not much (12-12 overall, 6-8 in the Atlantic Coast Conference), but Cunningham had his best year. He led the team in total points with a 26-per-game average and in rebounds with 15.8 per game. For his supporting cast, Smith divides the rest of the team into front-court and backcourt men and never mind those other fancy designations. All front men move into the pivot area, and Cunningham will jump center and spend the rest of the game all around the floor. Others in the front line will be 6-foot-8 Bob Bennett and 6-foot-4 Ray Respess. A sophomore, 6-foot-6 Mark Mirken, is shaping up so fast at 226 pounds that he could appear on the starting five at any moment. Junior Bill Brown, 6 feet 2, sophs Bob Lewis, 6 feet 3, and Ian Morrison, 6 feet 2, will play the backcourt. Collectively these seven are a peppery squad; they will be tougher than conference scouts suspect and possibly tough enough to become a national sleeper. The Tar Heels play the strictest defense (man-to-man) in the ACC—in one drill Smith "just throws that ball out there to two men to see which one wants it the worst"—and the mood is sheer scrappiness. But Smith admits the perils of the star system. He expects opponents to collapse on Cunningham (they will) and is stressing outside shooting to counteract it. From the floor, North Carolina has hit 45% as a team over the last four years, an average Smith expects to go higher this term. With their leading man on camera, the Tar Heels may all look like stars. Cunningham seems a cinch for the conference Oscar anyway.
18 WICHITA STATE
This will be a split season for Wichita. Until January 30, through 16 games, All-America Dave Stallworth will be eligible and the Shockers should have a fine won-lost record and the lead in the Missouri Valley Conference. After that, for 10 more games, they will try to cling to the gains Stallworth has won for them. But they will be a completely different team, and perhaps a losing one, because Stallworth is that good. A fast and quick 6 feet 7, he averaged 26.5 points and 10 rebounds last year and is worth up to 40 points a game with his assists and playmaking added. Despite Stallworth's departure, the Wichita fans will be there to the end—all 10,500 seats to all home games were sold by the middle of October. Wichita has a new coach, Gary Thompson, who succeeds Ralph Miller, now at Iowa. But there will be no major changes in style; Thompson had either played for or assisted Miller since 1948. "The only difference I can see," Thompson says, "is that this year I can't point to Ralph when we lose and say it's his fault." Thompson will retain Miller's full-court press and his fast break. Wichita frequently presses all through a game, and that kind of all-out effort demands topflight conditioning, which Thompson stresses. He is hoping, modestly, for 12 points or so a game from Stallworth's replacement, and four men will get a close look. Melvin Reed, a 6-foot-5 sophomore from Stallworth's home town, Dallas, and 6-foot-9 Brooklynite Gerald Davis have the edge over James Thompson and Vernon Smith, but it is likely that most of the slack after Stallworth leaves will have to be picked up by the remaining starters. There is some precedent for this—when Stallworth was elevated to the varsity four years ago, Center Nate Bowman almost doubled his point production for the frosh. Last year the 6-foot-10 Bowman averaged 12.8 and 8.9 rebounds, but he fouled out 14 times and often was benched to avoid fouling out. Kelly Pete, a 6-foot-1 guard who took over the floor leadership as a sophomore and did a superb job, looks even better, though his shooting is still so-so. Fortunately, John Criss, the other starting guard, can hit from outside. The fifth regular is Dave Leach, a smart but unspectacular player who has cut down his extracurricular duties from being president of the student body to president of his senior class.
Only three winters ago Syracuse was in the process of losing 27 straight games, while crowds of 300 or so looked on in rapt agony. Then Fred Lewis moved in from Mississippi Southern and changed things fast. A few minor acquisitions, one a high school All-America and another a 6-foot-8 transfer student, and poof! the Orange was transformed into a beautiful basketball team. All of last year's 17-8 team is back, plus some fine sophomores, but so far no one has been found to assume the playmaking duties. Lewis has an excellent quarterback in Dave Bing, a 6-foot-3 junior, but he would like to relieve Bing of such chores and thus free him to exercise his scoring talents. Bing averaged 22.2 last season, shooting .467—excellent figures for a ball-handling guard. Senior Dick Duffy leads a trio of candidates for the other backcourt spot, but his edge is narrow. Jim Boeheim, a 6-foot-4 junior, might win the job, but he is that rare type who is at his best coming off the bench, and may be more valuable to the team in such a role. Sam Penceal, best defensively, could win it if he shows more of the aggressive spark that marked his freshman playmaking two years ago. With 6-foot-8 Chuck Richards and his 6-foot-9 substitute, Rex Trobridge, and either one of two big sophomores, Lewis plans a double pivot. One of the two second-year men is Val Reid, a much sought-after New York City schoolboy in 1962. A fine jumper and shooter, Reid may be a really topflight player by the end of the season. Right now he has good competition from Rick Dean, another sophomore who is smaller at 6 feet 6 but has a sensitive touch and more strength. Frank Nicoletti, 6 feet 2 and, at 185, lighter by 25 pounds than last year, has a good corner shot from the other side. Richards is the best underneath. A transfer from West Point, he averaged 22 last season and was among the nation's leaders with a .580 shooting percentage that boosted the whole team to an outstanding .470.
Famous for the teaching of diplomacy, Georgetown looks ready now to make its mark in another kind of international game. Two very important knees have been successfully operated on, and that makes the Hoyas a cinch to have their best basketball season ever. The schedule may be too soft to prepare them adequately—they even get their hard games at home—but Georgetown could still turn up as a surprisingly tough tournament team. The knees belong to Jim Barry, who had to sit out all of last season after breaking a flock of scoring marks as a sophomore, and to Frank Hollendoner, 6 feet 11, who is, in effect, jumping right from high school to college varsity ball. He was out all of his freshman season. Both Barry and Hollendoner were much desired high school graduates, and how they came to Georgetown makes normal, go-get-'em recruiters choke on their letters of intent. Barry passed up 200 offers because Georgetown Coach Tommy O'Keefe came from the same high school he attended. Hollendoner, whose father is a Notre Dame alumnus, made his decision in large measure because he is a top student and was after a particular math course. He is by far the largest man ever to play for the Hoyas. Besides his near seven-foot height, he weighs 255 and will be a formidable post. Owen Gillen led the team in rebounding last year, but he and Play-maker Jim Brown participated in a postseason boys' club tournament and have been ruled ineligible for nine games, till January 1. Then Gillen may have trouble getting back as a starter—the trouble being sophomores Steve Sullivan, 6 feet 8, and Bob Ward, 6 feet 6. Both were high scorers on the frosh, and Sullivan averaged 17 rebounds. Along with Hollendoner, this is ample board strength, enough so that the slender 6-foot-6 Barry can concentrate on scoring. In the back-court—at least till Brown returns—are the team's only seniors, John Prendergast and Joe Franz. Still another sophomore, Pete Michell, scored 18.8 last year and may move Franz out. That adds up to a lot of newcomers to go with the early-season suspensions; Georgetown might be a year away from consistent peak performance.
A FEW SURPRISE PACKAGES
Some of these teams may break into the list of the elite, and all of them should be interesting to watch. They are capable of causing the season's big upsets
The big Boilermakers have enough offensive potential to outscore a lot of teams. Dave Schellhase (24.5 average) is already being compared to Terry Dischinger and can play either forward or guard. Coach Ray Eddy finally will have senior Center Bill Jones for a full season plus Bob Purkhiser, Ron Hughes and Earl Brown. Tom Niemeier, the 6-foot-9 celebrity high school boy, is on the varsity now, too. But the Boilermakers do not hit the boards hard or hawk the ball well, and such cursory defense should cost them a real shot at the Big Ten championship.
Ron Krick averaged only 6.8 points a game and 5.8 rebounds last year, figures that are especially depressing when one considers that he is the best the Bearcats have back. A 6-foot-8 junior, Krick was showing his great promise near the end of the season, and if that helped his confidence Cincinnati may not be buried after all. There are five reliable guards on hand, and up front Coach Ed Jucker picks up two high-scoring 6-foot-6 sophs, Mike Rolf—who broke some of Oscar Robertson's freshman records—and Ken Calloway.
Appraising the Wildcats is like scouting a Chinese menu. There is: 1) Coach Tex Winter's Big Team. It has 7-foot-1, 245-pound, 20-E-shoe sophomore Nick (The Stick) Pino at center, and it plays a triple-post offense. But can Pino defend well enough, even if he docs score 20 a game? If not, color Pino red shirt and try 2) Second Big Team, with last year's red shirt, 6-foot-10, 220-pound Roy Smith at center. Will Smith find offensive finesse? No? O.K., move on to 3) Little Team, which will fast-break and full-court-press, with Gary Williams, Jeff Simons, Sammy Robinson, Ron Paradis and Dennis Berkholtz. The odds are Winter will go with No. 1 because the prospects for next year are so good that he will want Pino to have the experience to lead State to a national championship.
Bill Bradley's personal acclaim has obscured the fact that the Tigers have dominated Ivy League basketball for almost a decade. Coach Bill van Breda Kolff has averaged 18 wins a season over 13 years at three schools and now has his own recruits on the Princeton varsity. Even without Bradley the Tigers probably could handle their Ivy schedule easily. But with 6-foot-6 Ed Hummer, a high school All-America, 6-foot-9 Bob Brown and Gary Walters to give Bradley some help, the rest of the league will be ravaged.
The Wildcats are counting on six sophomores, and they are so good that in any other year Northwestern would be much more seriously considered in the Big Ten. The difficulty this year is that the five top conference teams have lost a total of only five starters. Forward Ron Kozlicki and Guards Jim Burns and Walt Tiberi are the best of the newcomers, and, despite his bad knee, junior Center Jim Pitts is one of the quickest big men around. Captain Don Jackson is back at forward and Rich Mason, a high school All-America, becomes eligible December 19. Coach Larry Glass's big men can run, so he will shift from last year's patterns to the fast break.
The Southeastern Conference should be a three-team race, and Tennessee is almost as good as Vanderbilt and Kentucky. With his 1-3-1 disciplined offense and a tough zone defense, Coach Ray Mears has knocked area code figures out of the scores and made the scoring totals of his own players useless gauges of their ability. A. W. Davis, who averaged 17.3 last year, is 6 feet 7 and, with Howard Bayne (6 feet 5 and 234) at center, the Vols have a front line that might be too strong for Kentucky's little men and Vanderbilt's bigger ones, too. Success, though, hinges on two junior college All-Americas: Jimmy Cornwall and Austin (Red) Robbins.
Coach Joe Lapchick's last team (he retires next spring) is built around a pair of surfers, an ex-marine, a baseball pitcher and a sophomore named Dove who is built more like a crane. The surfers are the brothers McIntyre. Ken, a guard, led the Redmen in scoring with a 15.9 average and Bob, a 6-foot-6 forward, was second with 14.9. Former Marine Bob Duerr is a forward who knows the value of an elbow. Six-foot-5 Ken Wirell, a fine pitcher, is a hound dog on defense (Lapchick may add a zone press to his standard man-to-man) and is excellent at setting up screens. Sonny Dove, 6 feet 7, 185 pounds, averaged 20 points for a freshman team that was 21-1. With better rebounding this could be a really outstanding team.
Coach Forrest Twogood had one of his rare losing seasons (10-16) last year, but only one starter is gone and, with some interesting newcomers, the Trojans should become UCLA's biggest threat in the Big Six. Three double-figure regulars return, including a really fine player, Forward Allen Young—plus Doug Bolcom and 6-foot-9 John Block, who seems to have conquered his awkwardness. Rod Alleman, a husky 6 feet 6 who can relieve Block or go to a forward spot, is up from the freshmen, and Twogood picked up a pair of good guards from junior college—John Bacon and Tony Oddo.
Nobody expected Coach Harry Litwack's Owls to come up 17-8 last year, but with the two leading scorers back, Temple must be taken seriously now. Jim Williams had an 18.1 average as a sophomore, is 6 feet 8 and is already regarded as the best center Temple has ever had. Dan Fitzgerald (12.2) also returns, and Litwack welcomes back 6-foot-6 Ken Morgan, who was out with an ankle injury last season, and Playmaker Don Cartwright. The Owls have more speed and Litwack's usual tough defense; they will not beat themselves, and not many others will beat them either.