TRAGEDY AND TRIUMPH AT BOWLING GREEN PRINCETON: SOMETHING OLD, SOMETHING NEW STANFORD'S FOLKL POINT

March 03, 1997

A SLEEPER'S DREAM

When Dayton center Chris Daniels died of cardiac arrhythmia on
Feb. 8 of last year, he left behind a dream that his younger
brother, Antonio, a senior point guard at Bowling Green, is now
on the verge of fulfilling. "We dreamed of playing in the NBA,"
says Antonio. "A lot of things I do now, I think back to what he
would have wanted me to do. He would have wanted me to finish
our dream."

To that end Antonio, who averaged 16.0 points and 5.9 assists as
a junior, has kicked his game into high gear this season after a
summer of weight training and five-hour-a-night shooting
sessions. His 23.2-point average through Sunday put him 11th in
the nation and first in the Mid-American Conference in scoring.
Add to that his 6.6 assists and 2.19 steals a game, 53.2% field
goal shooting, 38.9% three-point shooting and 79.7% foul
shooting--all good for the top 10 in conference statistics--and
you get an idea of how he has led the Falcons to the best record
in the MAC. And now there is talk that he could be the sleeper
of the NBA draft. "Scouts tell me he is a legitimate first-round
pick," says Bowling Green coach Jim Larranaga. "The single
biggest difference I see in Antonio this year is his total
commitment to the game. He has always been a basketball fanatic,
but now he has taken it to another level."

What has the scouts excited are Daniels's shooting, ball
handling, quickness and size. He's 6'4" and 195 pounds and has
both an 80-inch wingspan and what Falcons trainer Mike Messaros
calls "the largest damn hands I've ever seen." And there's the
mental toughness forged from his personal tragedy. "I have a lot
more motivation now," says Daniels. "I'm playing for two people."

Antonio's focus on reaching the NBA is just one way he honors
Chris, who was 20 months older than Antonio but so close to him
that their mother, Alice, says the two were "almost like twins."
Before facing then No. 23 Eastern Michigan on Feb. 14, 1996, in
his first game back after Chris's funeral, Antonio changed his
jersey number from 10 to 33, the number Chris wore at Dayton. In
that game, which Chris had long planned to attend and which
Bowling Green won 72-70, Antonio scored 20 points, including his
team's last six. On the game-winning basket he drove the length
of the floor and scored with four seconds left after his
defender fell down for no apparent reason. Antonio still marvels
at the memory of that play. "Everyone says my brother tripped
him," he says.

BEWARE OF TIGERS

Moments after his team upset Marquette 66-62 on Dec. 7 in
Milwaukee, Princeton coach Bill Carmody began writing on a
blackboard in the locker room at the Bradley Center. Carmody's
torso blocked his words from view as he wrote, so it wasn't
until he stepped aside that the players could see what he had
written: "I'm very happy and I'm retiring."

Everyone laughed because that was basically the same thing
longtime Tigers coach Pete Carril had printed on a blackboard on
March 9 of last year, just after Princeton's 63-56 overtime
victory over Pennsylvania in a one-game playoff that decided the
Ivy League championship. But if Carmody's joke called to mind
the legend who embodied Tigers basketball for 29 years, it also
was indicative of a clear break from the past. Few coaches got
more out of their players than Carril did, but warm,
lighthearted moments were never his specialty. "I'm happy I got
to play for Coach Carril, but do I miss him? No," says sophomore
forward Gabe Lewullis. "Coach Carmody is demanding, but he's
also understanding."

Welcome to the Bill Carmody era at Princeton, a kinder, gentler
version of the same old excellence--witness the Tigers' 60-53
defeat of Dartmouth last Saturday, which improved their overall
record to 21-3 and their Ivy mark to 11-0. It also clinched the
conference crown and the automatic NCAA bid that comes with it.
Save for blowing a 19-point lead in a 74-62 overtime loss at
home to Bucknell on Dec. 10, the Tigers have looked even more
formidable than they did a year ago when they upended UCLA in
the first round of the NCAA tournament. Besides having defeated
Marquette and Texas-El Paso in their holiday tournaments,
Princeton has beaten Texas A&M, Rutgers and Manhattan and hung
tough before succumbing to Indiana and North Carolina. After
watching helplessly as the Tigers sank 57.9% of their
three-pointers in a 74-59 victory at the Palestra on Feb. 11,
Penn coach Fran Dunphy said, "That was as impressive a
demonstration of how to run their stuff as I've seen."

Indeed, since Carmody spent 14 seasons as an assistant under
Carril, who was elected to the basketball Hall of Fame on Feb. 4
and is now an assistant with the NBA's Sacramento Kings, little
has changed on the court at Princeton: At week's end the Tigers
were leading the nation in fewest points allowed (52.9 per
game), as they had for the last eight seasons, and 63.2% of the
Tigers' field goals had come by way of assists. But Carmody has
shown an ability to lift his players' spirits in a way the
curmudgeonly Carril could not. For example, Carmody empties his
bench in the waning moments of games in which the outcome has
been decided, a policy Carril eschewed. "To see guys who work so
hard in practice get rewarded is very important to me," says
senior guard Sydney Johnson, Princeton's best player even though
he was averaging only 8.5 points a game at week's end. "I
appreciate the chance to play for a coach who respects that as
much as I do."

In fact, were it not for the coaching change, sophomore guard
Brian Earl probably would have gone elsewhere to play. Earl
submitted a letter to the school last spring asking permission
to transfer but changed his mind after meeting with Carmody. For
his part Carmody says the reason he can afford to be so
player-friendly is because Carril already imbued the Tigers with
the habits of success. "I'm reaping the benefits of Pete's being
so tough on those guys," Carmody says. "A couple of years from
now, when I have to get all over my players, then I'll be
considered the ogre." --SETH DAVIS

FOLKL TO THE RESCUE

No one can accuse Stanford women's coach Tara VanDerveer of not
making the most of her school's resources. With her front line
hampered by knee injuries (Naomi Mulitauaopele and Vanessa
Nygaard), a broken pinkie (Heather Owen) and double root-canal
surgery (Olympia Scott), VanDerveer did what every other women's
coach facing March with wounded warriors wishes he or she could
do: She phoned 6'2" junior Kristin Folkl--a three-time
volleyball All-America and former high school basketball star
who played forward for Stanford as a freshman--and asked her to
rejoin the Cardinal after a 23-month hiatus. "I wasn't looking
for a messiah," says VanDerveer, whose team was 27-1 and ranked
third in the nation at week's end. "I was just looking for some
help."

Folkl, a terrific leaper who gave Stanford an average of 9.5
points and 5.5 rebounds in 24 games in 1994-95, took a break
from basketball last season so she could try out for the Olympic
volleyball team. (She made the 15-member squad as an alternate.)
Last September, before she led the Cardinal to its second NCAA
volleyball title in three years, Folkl announced she would be
skipping basketball again this year, to concentrate on
academics. Then two weeks ago VanDerveer called. "She said she
needed bodies--would I consider being a body?" says Folkl, an
economics major. "I said, 'Sure!'"

Folkl had a few doubts though. "I'm not in basketball shape, and
I was a little worried about the huge time commitment this
requires," she says. "And I was concerned about how the players
were going to react. The last thing I wanted to do was to
detract from what they've accomplished this year."

But the team was all in favor of bringing in reinforcements.
"These players only want to win," says VanDerveer.

After just two days of practice Folkl played 15 minutes against
Washington State at home last Thursday, contributing two points,
six rebounds and a block to the Cardinal's 82-45 win. Two nights
later, in a 106-76 defeat of Washington in which senior guard
Kate Starbird scored 21 points to become Stanford's alltime
leading scorer, Folkl scored 12 points and had 10 rebounds.

"I don't expect a banner five weeks," she says. "But if I can
grab some rebounds and give someone else a break, great. It's
just exciting being on the court again. I haven't been this
fired up about basketball in a while."

COLOR PHOTO: JOHN F. GRIESHOP After Chris's death, Antonio rose to the challenge of trying to make their shared NBA dream come true. [Antonio Daniels dunking basketball]

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