At Niagara University, the young man at the left is beginning to compete with the Falls themselves as a spectator attraction. His name is Calvin Murphy; locally, to those inclined to the cute, it is "Million Moves Murphy." Others, preferring ultimate terms, use "Murph, King of the Earth." He is a freshman basketball player at Niagara and, at 5'10", a twig in a game of trees. He is also the most spectacular new collegian in the country. Appreciative thousands come to see him play and then yawn through the varsity games that follow.
Calvin does not have a million moves and he is not king of quite all that. But with a basketball in his hands, he is royalty. His scoring average is 52 points a game and speed is his forte. The shooting touch that has destroyed all Niagara records comes into play when he stops dead after a swift dart upcourt and jumps, or at the end of a graceful float that lasts and lasts through some deceptive body shifts. In one freshman game he shot 31 for 50; in another 21 for 35. Double- and triple-teamed, inches smaller than his defenders, Calvin gets his points. And he knows what to do—and can do it—on those rare occasions when he is trapped. The night that he scored 52 points he had seven assists and would have had five more if teammates had not missed layups. The night he scored 66 he had six assists. A few observers, perhaps in an effort to conceal their awe, criticize Calvin's ability to move without the ball and the number of times he shoots. But there is no question that he will make Niagara a genuine eastern power next year and could very well lead the country in scoring.
Despite all his local popularity and the publicity surrounding his career at Norwalk High School in Connecticut, Calvin has yet to experience the kind of pressure he will bear as a varsity player of marked brilliance. But he seems able to withstand it, as he has overcome the handicap of his size. He twirls a baton with the same élan and imagination he displays on a basketball court. In 1965 he placed second in World's Fair national competition, and he put on a show with flaming batons last season at Buffalo Bills home games.
Murphy is one of a bountiful influx of newcomers that has come along, happily, in a year when there are few outstanding seniors on campus. In Baton Rouge, some 1,400 miles from the snowy Niagara frontier, Pete Maravich has inspired a local lover of both magic and the simile to write, "better hands than Houdini, more tricks than Blackstone." Pete is 6'4", has a 39-point average while earning as many as 18 assists in a single game, and his father is one of the best teachers in college basketball. Luckily, Press Maravich coaches the LSU varsity; he and Pete should make the Tigers SEC contenders for the first time since the days of Bob Pettit.
February 6, 1967
At North Carolina and at Vanderbilt, Charlie Scott and Perry Wallace will be the first Negroes to play varsity basketball. Scott, a 6'5" New Yorker who prepped not far from Chapel Hill at Laurinburg Institute, makes every game an adventure. As deft with a pass as many top pros, Scott's enthusiasm tends toward the reckless in some aspects of the game. In one scrimmage he outplayed all of Carolina's current varsity stars and scored 33 points. If his natural effervescence can be channeled, he will be the best ever to represent a school that already boasts a full court of All-Americas. Wallace is to the rebound what Scott is to the pass. Also 6'5", he is averaging 22 a game and picked off 59 in a two-game tournament.
In the Big Eight, where Nebraska and Kansas are developing a hot rivalry, the play of two freshmen, 6'2" Tom Scantlebury and 6'3" Rich Bradshaw, is the talk of the conference. Scantlebury, who came a long way inland—from Oakland, Calif.—to play for Nebraska, may be the better shooter. But Bradshaw, from Chicago, is the "complete" player who does everything by instinct. In practice, he plays Kansas' Jo Jo White to a standstill, and one Big Eight coach says that Bradshaw is the best in the league right now, freshman and varsity.
The Big Ten, in a down year, eagerly awaits Rick Mount and 7-foot Chuck Bavis at Purdue, Rudy Tomjanovich at Michigan and Dale Kelley at Northwestern. The Missouri Valley anticipates that Jim Ard will keep Cincinnati at the top, and on the West Coast there is a stirring at Santa Clara. Two homegrowns, Dennis Awtrey, 6'9", and his roommate, Ralph Ogden, have together averaged 41 points though they have played for only short stretches in most games. California's Clarence Johnson, a high jumper who has cleared 7 feet, and Guard Doug Howard of Brigham Young also are first-rate prospects.
Kentucky's freshmen are so good that Adolph Rupp has put off retirement one more time to take a shot at that fifth national championship. Mike Casey, 6'4", and Dan Issel, 6'8", "are doing things as freshmen," says Rupp, "that we can't do on the varsity." Casey, now over some grade problems, is fast, strong, a superb shooter, ball handler and passer—the perfect playmaker for the Rupp style.
Along the same ideal lines is Jeff Petrie of Princeton, whose fluid moves to the basket are an indication of star potential. The presence of Petrie and teammate John Hummer reaffirms that Coach Bill van Breda Kolff is indeed building a basketball dynasty right there behind all that Ivy. Both are fine one-on-one players, used to individual heroics, and some older hands hint they have not yet been fitted into the Princeton "mold." But van Breda Kolff has a way of correcting such things once a man reaches the varsity.