Only the echoing thump of a ball and the squeak of sneakers on wood keep Bob Verga company as he practices alone in Duke University's Indoor Stadium perfecting his skill at spinning the ball off his fingers and through a bright orange hoop. Verga does a lot of solo basketball shooting on Sundays, when he cannot "coerce anybody" to provide opposition in half-court games. There are no cheers, pretty coeds or striped-shirted men with whistles to dispel the quiet gloom, but Verga enjoys the lonely workouts. He is a junior at Duke and already shoots and handles the ball so well that he is likely to be an All-America this year, and his team is one of the best in the country. As a sophomore last season he averaged 21 points a game, distinguishing himself by his ability to score under severe pressure. Verga is majoring in psychology and studies three or four hours every night, but he also enjoys the nice collegiate extras available to a bright, handsome young athlete whose father is a well-to-do Sea Girt, N. J. physician. There are fraternity parties, a Burgundy-red Corvette convertible, sunny strolls with a remarkably attractive girl friend and other campus diversions, some of which are shown on the following pages.
Arm-wrestling as his Kappa Alpha brothers look on, Verga manages to hold his own. He still has a Jersey accent but seems to have gone southern in other respects. Duke is in Durham, N.C., and eastern KA chapters are found only at schools south of the Mason-Dixon line.
Pausing during a stroll near Duke's psychology building, Bob daydreams with Andrea Boles, his high school sweetheart, who now is a model in New York. She travels to Durham as often as she can to see him play and to enjoy with him the beauty of the Duke campus.
Struggling with Latin, his toughest subject, Bob finds the silence of an empty classroom (above) ideal for study. This semester he is concentrating on other subjects, such as psychological testing and Russian literature. Shooting pool in the basement of the Student Union (right), he shows the form that made him runner-up in the school tournament when he was a freshman. But basketball remains Verga's consuming interest; even in a pregame warm-up (opposite) he is totally absorbed. He wants to play pro ball and wears jersey No. 11 because that was the numeral of Pro Star Bob Davies.
December 6, 1965
Worried because Duke is trailing its opponent, Andrea watches as Bob, only a six-footer, leaps to fire a jump shot over the outstretched arm of a taller defender. Verga has the useful ability to launch his lithe body suddenly like an Agena B.
Frugging at Jelly Roll's Varsity Inn near the Duke campus, Andrea and Bob enjoy a postgame KA bash. "She's a great dancer," he says. "I pick up most of the latest from her. And she knows a lot more than the average girl about basketball."