"Check this," as Marquette Guard Butch Lee (above) likes to say. Lee takes an outlet pass from big Jerome Whitehead, speeds upcourt and hits Jim Boylan or Ulice Payne or Bernard Toone breaking for the layup. Or maybe Lee takes the ball all the way in himself. But no matter who gets the points, it is—strange as it may seem—a fast-break basket for the Warriors.
It turns out that during all those years when Al McGuire was using a deliberate offense, his assistant and heir apparent, Hank Raymonds, wanted to speed things up a little. Not helter-skelter, run 'n' gun, but enough to prevent opponents from sending all five guys to the offensive boards, to make them keep one or two men back should the Warriors defy tradition and charge upcourt.
"Al and I couldn't have gotten along for 13 years without having basically the same philosophy," says Raymonds, "but I also played and coached under the man with the best three-lane break ever, Eddie Hickey. I'm going to use his philosophy, too."
It is clear from this that change at Marquette will not be limited to the coach's office, where the conventional Raymonds takes over from the eccentric McGuire. Differences will be seen on the floor, too, and the Warriors should be the better for them. Despite the improvement, the Warriors are not apt to repeat as national champions. Fact is, it can be argued that Marquette was not the best team last year, though it played that way in March. The Warriors' 25-7 record was the least impressive ever by an NCAA champ.
November 28, 1977
One thing Raymonds has not altered is McGuire's system of designated stars. Last year's favored senior was Bo Ellis; this time it is Lee, who was born in Puerto Rico but raised in the Bronx. Lee prepared for the role last season by leading the team in scoring with a 19.6 average and being named MVP of the NCAA tournament.
The leading role is not new to Lee. As a high school All-America he led DeWitt Clinton to the New York City championship. Two summers ago he was the star of the Puerto Rico summer-league champions. And in the 1976 Olympics Lee scored 35 points for Puerto Rico while almost single-handedly defeating the U.S.
Raymonds' style will suit Lee, affording him more opportunities to shoot from outside, penetrate to the inside and swoop in from downcourt. It is the kind of showcasing a star deserves, and Lee has the support a star deserves, because six of last season's top seven scorers return. "We're ready to defend our title," boasts Lee. "No matter what anybody else says, we know we're No. 1." Check that; they're more likely to be No. 4.