PLUCK OF THE IRISH
Going into last Saturday's game at Syracuse, Notre Dame had a disappointing 13-8 record. More threatening to its chances of landing an NCAA tournament bid was its 0-5 mark against Top 25 teams. Against the Orange, however, the Irish played their most inspired ball of the season. They led by as many as 13 points before Syracuse rallied and forward Billy Owens made a lefthanded scoop shot in the lane to give Syracuse a 65-63 lead and an apparent victory with :02 showing on the clock.
After Notre Dame coach Digger Phelps argued that his team had called timeout with four seconds remaining, the officials added another second to the clock. That gave the Irish just enough time to get the inbounds pass to LaPhonso Ellis at midcourt. He threw the ball to Elmer Bennett. Bennett's three-pointer from the top of the key secured a 66-65 victory for the Irish and caused the jubilant Phelps to do a jig all the way down to the Syracuse bench to shake hands with coach Jim Boeheim. The win probably put Notre Dame into the tournament, though the Irish still have tough games against DePaul (twice), Georgia Tech, Missouri and Kentucky.
Two days before the Syracuse game, Notre Dame was attacked from an unexpected quarter. Kansas athletic director Bob Frederick announced that he was canceling the Jayhawks' home-and-home basketball series with the Irish in 1991-92 and 1992-93 to protest Notre Dame's decision to pull out of the College Football Association's television package with ABC and to let NBC televise all its home games from 1991 through '95 (SI, Feb. 19). At the time, Frederick was at work on the Big Eight's share-the-wealth proposal for NCAA basketball—a plan to divide among all NCAA schools, not just the basketball powers, the $1 billion in hoop money the NCAA will receive from CBS over the seven years beginning with the 1990-91 season. "In that light, Notre Dame's decision really rubbed me wrong," says Frederick.
Irish eyes were smiling at the idea of Kansas, which was on NCAA probation last season for recruiting violations, taking a moral stand against Notre Dame, which has never been on probation. The Jay-hawks' gesture was a bit hollow, too. The Irish immediately filled the 1991-92 date with Temple.
BOYS FROM BRAZIL
Believe it or not, if you want to learn the basics of the lambada, the new dance craze from Brazil, you might visit Twin Falls, Idaho (pop. 28,000). That's because Jose Jube, one of two Brazilians at the College of Southern Idaho, the nation's top-ranked junior college team, is as slick on the dance floor as he is on the basketball floor. "He's a good dancer," says coach Fred Trenkle of his 6'6" sophomore guard, "but he doesn't hang out a lot, because he really gets on the books. It's a big thing for these kids to take a college degree back to Brazil."
To most hoops fans, Brazil is known mainly as the home of Oscar Schmidt, the three-point specialist who shot the U.S. team out of the 1987 Pan American Games. But to Trenkle, Brazil is a pipeline to success. Five years ago, after transferring from Lamar, Edward Drewnick became the first Brazilian to find his way to Twin Falls. Trenkle then brought in 6'7" guard Mauro Gomes, who went on to play at Idaho for a year. Next came 6'8" center Caio daSilveira and 6'7" swingman Sergio Gomes, who are now juniors at Seattle Pacific College. They were followed by Jube and teammate Carlito (Junior) daSilva, a 6'9", 250-pound freshman center. At week's end, Southern Idaho's record since the Brazilian influx began was 132-8, sizzling even by the standards of the lambada, which combines elements of the tango and the dirty dancing of Patrick Swayze.
Southern Idaho had a strong program even before the boys from Brazil began showing up. The school was founded in 1965, and basketball was introduced the next year under coach Eddie Sutton, who moved on to greater glory at Creighton, Arkansas and Kentucky. One of Sutton's first recruits was Trenkle, who came back to coach the Golden Eagles in 1983 after three years as a Sutton assistant at Arkansas. Trenkle has a 218-23 record, including a juco national title in 1986-87.
Jube, 24, is too old to move on to a Division I team, and isn't good enough to play in the NBA, so he'll probably end up at an NAIA school. However, daSilva, 21, has the potential to become a Division I player after one more season at Southern Idaho. "He's not as well versed in inside play as you'd like, but he can use either hand," said Trenkle. "He's a big, happy-go-lucky puppy who's just learning the game." Through Sunday, daSilva was averaging 8.5 points and five rebounds for the 26-1 Eagles. Jube, a long-range shooter a la Schmidt, was averaging 14.0 points.
All of Southern Idaho's Brazilians come from around S‚Äö√†√∂¬¨¬£o Paulo, a tropical city of seven million. When asked how they adapt to the radically different culture and climate of Twin Falls, Trenkle said the biggest problem, initially, is the language barrier. "When one of the kids got here," said Trenkle, "he only knew how to say 'Hello' and 'McDonald's.' "
Trenkle, who hopes to keep the pipeline working indefinitely, has been especially impressed by the attitude of his Brazilian recruits. "American kids want everything," says Trenkle, "but the Brazilian kids are happy to get anything. Give them a pair of sneakers and they'll wear them until they fall off. I had one Brazilian who had nine blisters on his foot, but didn't tell anybody, because he wanted to play. And you don't have to worry about drugs or alcohol. They're here to get an education. That's a welcome change."
THE MUCK THICKENS
If you're keeping score, the numbers through Sunday from Disaster Central, otherwise known as Nevada-Las Vegas, were 22 wins, four losses, one ugly brawl, nine players suspended for a total of 23 games because of scrapes with the NCAA and other infractions, three players sidelined with injuries, one case of the chicken pox and a zillion-plus rumors about coach Jerry Tarkanian quitting.
The chicken pox belonged to Travis Bice, the injuries to Greg Anthony (broken jaw), center David Butler (sprained knee) and backup guard Stacey Cvijanovich (separated shoulder). The latest potential problem with the NCAA arises from a Feb. 18 report in the Los Angeles Times that booster C.J. Lotter leased a car for Dallas Maverick guard Anthony Jones in '85 and '86 while Jones was playing for the Rebels. Somehow, though, the Rebels continued to win last week, beating Fresno State 69-64, New Mexico State 109-86 and Arizona 95-87.
Colorado seems headed for a fourth-straight last-place finish in the Big Eight under coach Tom Miller. After an 86-64 defeat at Oklahoma, Shaun Vandiver, the Buffaloes' junior center and the conference's leading scorer and rebounder, said, "I'm standing by my coach 100 percent. If he's gone next year, so am I."
...Pittsburgh coach Paul Evans was called for two technical fouls in the Panthers' 80-77 loss to Connecticut. That left Pitt 0-7 this season in games in which it has received bench technicals....
Long Beach State coach Joe Harrington, who had five T's this season through Sunday, has vowed to give $1,000 to charity for his next one....
In Iowa's 118-71 loss to Indiana, Hawkeye coach Tom Davis made more substitutions (81) than his team scored points....
David Lipscomb College and Belmont College, two miles apart in Nashville, are longtime NAIA rivals ranked first and ninth, respectively, in the nation last week. Their game last Saturday was moved to Vanderbilt's 15,399-seat arena, and though the NAIA doesn't keep regular-season attendance records, the capacity crowd (over 6,000 more fans than the NAIA tournament record) is believed to be the largest ever to see an NAIA game. Lipscomb won 124-107, with 30 points by Philip Hutcheson, the NAIA's alltime scoring leader. At week's end, Hutcheson needed 228 points to pass the collegiate record of 4,045 set by Travis Grant of Division II Kentucky State from 1969 to '72.
PLAYERS OF THE WEEK
Carlton Screen, a 6-foot senior guard for Providence, scored 29 points, including the Friars' last eight, in a 94-90 victory over third-ranked Georgetown. Screen then pumped in 23 points in a 77-74 win over No. 24 St. John's.
Jeannette Yeoman, a 5'6" senior guard for St. Joseph's College of Indiana, sank 22 of 33 shots en route to scoring 51 points as the Pumas defeated Lewis University 111-106. Yeoman had 26 points in a 94-73 win over Kentucky State.
James Bradley, a 6'1" junior guard who transferred to Division III Otterbein from Ohio State in December, averaged 36 points, 3.5 assists and 3.5 steals in an 80-57 victory over Marietta and a 113-91 win over Baldwin-Wallace.