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ROUNDBALL BOUNCES BACK
Jeremiah Tax
October 27, 1958
Led by the World Champion St. Louis Hawks, professional basketball moves to center stage for its biggest year, with a flock of talented rookies to stimulate competition
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October 27, 1958

Roundball Bounces Back

Led by the World Champion St. Louis Hawks, professional basketball moves to center stage for its biggest year, with a flock of talented rookies to stimulate competition

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Patsies for the whole NBA last year, the Lakers have high hopes this time around, but the feeling here is that such hopes are premature. True, there is a lot of fresh talent available, but it will require at least a season's experience to be a factor in the division race. In addition, Coach John Kundla still has to depend on Jim Krebs to give Larry Foust the rest Foust requires at frequent intervals, and Krebs has yet to show the strength and spark a pro center needs. Up front, Vern Mikkelsen, always a tough and determined competitor, finally will have support, in the person of one of the most-publicized rookies in NBA history: Elgin Baylor. This will be a strong combination, especially if Baylor can avoid a marked tendency to follow a superb performance with a dismal one. When he's right, he has the touch, deception and savvy of greatness. Two more rookies will spell this pair: Boo Ellis and Steve Hamilton, both among the top 10 collegians in rebounding last year. All-Star Dick Garmaker and Bob Leonard are a veteran pair of backcourtmen and will likely start, but this should be the year Rod Hundley begins to fulfill his promise and becomes a regular. This department has never gone along with the opinion which holds that Hundley is more showman than player and cannot become a top-grade pro. He has always had every physical requisite, he now has a year's experience and, perhaps most important, he now has incentive, because two other veterans, Dick Schnittker and Ed Fleming, will be battling him for a place on the squad. Next year, who knows?—but this year, the Lakers will finish third.

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