WHERE EGOS SOAR
In the college coaching fraternity, hot tempers don't always cool in the off-season. LSU's Dale Brown, never one to suffer in silence, has gone public in his crusade against the wretched excesses of Indiana's Bob Knight. Brown is convinced that Knight's famed courtside telephone slam during the NCAA Midwest Regional final in Cincinnati last March cost his Tigers momentum and, ultimately, the game, which the Hoosiers won 77-76.
"We beat Indiana," Brown said recently. "We outhustled them. We stymied their attack. What happened during that fiasco [Knight was slapped with a technical foul and then bashed a phone on the scorer's table] took away our chance to break their back. Knight isn't above the game. When is somebody going to say, 'Sit your butt down, pal, or you're out?' I'm not going to tolerate him or what he does. His game plan is very simple. Everybody is afraid of him, particularly in coaching. All dictators have the same philosophy, and it's called intimidation."
Knight was a tad less verbose in reply. "As long as the Dale Browns of the world are in disagreement with me, then I think I'm in pretty good shape," he said. As for the tournament game in question, Knight conceded that, with five minutes left, he thought his Hoosiers might be in jeopardy. "Then I looked down the floor and saw Dale Brown, and I knew, well, we had a chance."
Knight isn't the only coach embroiled in a brouhaha with Brown. At the SEC's preseason media day, Tennessee's Don DeVoe, perhaps not coincidentally a former Knight assistant, attacked Brown's hiring for next season of Jim Childers, the high school coach of 6'11" Stanley Roberts, a top recruit who recently signed a letter of intent with LSU; DeVoe labeled it "unethical." Brown responded by saying, "Divorce is unethical." DeVoe was divorced four years ago.
D AS IN DECORUM
Georgetown has already signed two of Virginia's top high school talents, 6'10" center Alonzo Mourning and 6'7" forward Milton Bell, to letters of intent for next season. In announcing Bell's signing, Hoya coach John Thompson offered these words of praise: "What impressed me most on our home visit was his willingness to serve and show respect for his mother and grandmother in an old-fashioned way.... He got them chairs and water and was very helpful. These qualities make for the best defensive player." One wonders what Thompson looks for in his offensive stars. A hotfoot for Mom, perhaps?
A TALENT LOST?
Six-foot-eleven Georgia freshman Elmore Spencer, the heavily recruited—not to mention, heavy (260 to 315 pounds)—center who led Washington High to the Georgia class AAAA state title, has been redshirted for the season. He spent five weeks in a psychiatric ward over the summer because of a manic-depressive disorder for which he was taking daily medication. When Spencer fell behind in his classwork, Bulldog coach Hugh Durham suggested he take a medical withdrawal, which would have allowed him to return to the team in the winter term, but athletic director Vince Dooley and school president Dr. Charles Knapp advised Durham to have Spencer sit out the entire season.
HOPE ON THE RANGE
Fennis Dembo, Wyoming's outstanding senior forward, has been his usual flamboyant self on the court thus far this season. Against Colorado, after dunking over a hapless Buffalo, Dembo ran back up the court wagging both index fingers in the air, and even extended his hand to offer high fives to surprised players on the Colorado bench. After the game, a 100-68 Cowboys victory, Dembo sang a different tune. "A Top 10 team? Now? We ain't done nothing yet," he said. "I know as a player how good this team can be, and we're nowhere near it. Right now we're not Top 10. We're not even Top 20."
Wyoming's fans, however, have been less circumspect, especially after the Cowboys scored 100 or more points in each of their first two victories. So smitten are the Wyoming faithful that some have decided to eschew a junket to San Diego for the Cowboy football team's Holiday Bowl appearance and save their money for a trip to Kansas City for the Final Four next April. "I'm giving up a sure thing for the prospect of a maybe," says Jim Foster, the proprietor of Foster's Country Store in Laramie.
Is coach Benny Dees concerned about such lofty expectations? "One thing Cowboy fans are is fair," he says. "I mean, if we win the WAC, win the national championship, beat the Celtics for the NBA title and play the Russians tough in the Olympics for the gold medal, then most people here will say we've had a good season. Most, not all."
The assault case against North Carolina's J.R. Reid and Steve Bucknall (SI, Nov. 30) was settled last week. Reid will be required to perform 100 hours of community service under the terms of a pretrial first-offenders program, while Bucknall pleaded no contest to simple assault and was given a suspended 30-day sentence and ordered to pay a $25 fine and $40 in court costs. The case stemmed from an incident in a Raleigh, N.C., bar in October involving Bucknall, Reid and N.C. State student Paul Doherty, who alleged that Reid spat on him and Bucknall punched him.
Tar Heel coach Dean Smith, who suspended both players for one game over the incident, was critical of the outcome. "Certainly I don't agree with the law," he said. "It's hard to conceive [of] spitting as an assault. If that's true, I've been assaulted several times just walking from the dressing rooms to the court at N.C. State."
THE NAME FROM M.O.T.H.E.R.
First there was national scoring champ Zambolist (Zam) Fredrick, South Carolina '81, who, it seems, was named by a mom who took Efrem Zimbalist Jr., star of TV's The FBI, as inspiration. There followed funky forward Baskerville Holmes, Memphis State '86, dubbed after his mom went into labor while watching a rerun of the Sherlock Holmes classic The Hound of the Baskervilles. Now please greet Illya McGee, Akron's freshman point guard, whose mother was—sure enough—influenced by Illya Kuryakin, the TV character played by David McCallum in The Man from U.N.C.L.E.
Southwest and Southland Conference referee Jim McDaniel, who was officiating his fifth game in five days, had finally had enough toward the end of last week's Baylor-North Texas State contest, which was won by the Bears 72-63. "Get him out of here," McDaniel yelled to the scorer's table. "He's been bothering me throughout the game." With that, Eppy the Eagle, the Mean Green mascot, was banished to the stands. This is called fowling out....
Before the season, Georgia Tech forward Anthony Sherrod, who rode the pine even during routs last season, spoke to coach Bobby Cremins about transferring. But a broken finger suffered in the preseason by Tom Hammonds gave Sherrod a chance to play the low post. Against Georgia, Sherrod in bounded the ball under his own basket with seven seconds left, ran the length of the floor and tipped in an offensive rebound just before the buzzer to win the game for the Yellow Jackets 78-77....
When Kevin Presto, Miami's long-range shooting ace, sprints onto the court, the back of his jersey says it all: PRESTO 3....
After the Associated Press announced at the beginning of last week that North Carolina was No. 1 in its weekly poll, Dean Smith reacted with predictable amazement. "I find it ludicrous. We may as well enjoy it while we can, because we won't be there very long," he said. On Saturday the Tar Heels lost to unranked Vanderbilt 78-76....
Marquette's week proved a variation on an old axiom: Sometimes you win, sometimes you lose, and sometimes you get rained on. First the Warriors helped inaugurate Tennessee's new Thompson-Boling Assembly Center and Arena by losing 82-56 to the Vols, but not before the game had to be stopped twice because of leaks in the spanking new roof. Two nights later Marquette upset Xavier 67-61 for its 1,000th basketball win.
PLAYER OF THE WEEK
The 7-foot Vanderbilt center sparked the Commodores (3-0) to a 78-76 upset victory over North Carolina with 23 points, 10 rebounds and 2 blocked shots.
Won-lost records include games played through Dec. 6.
NORTH CAROLINA (4-1)
MEMPHIS STATE (3-0)
NOTRE DAME (1-1)