•The Formerly Fat. That's Reginald Slater of Wyoming; call him Reggie at your peril. And don't call him fat, because this 6'7", 253-pound forward isn't—and hasn't been since his sophomore year back at Houston's Kashmere High School, where he was a chunky trumpet player in the band until a coach jawboned him into going out for basketball. As of Sunday night he was pulling down nearly 11 rebounds a game, placing him among the top 15 in the nation. "You can't get much stronger than an onion," says his coach, Benny Dees, "and he's stronger than six rows of 'em."
•The Carry-It-Well Large. Like Groves, Mashburn and other quick-jumping hefties, Clarence Weatherspoon (6'7", 240) of Southern Mississippi rebounds by using the convex lines of his body to clear himself some space in a crowd. While the Puerto Rican nationals were sticking a fork in his Pan Am Games teammates last August, Spoon was the one guy who went body to body with the more physically mature opponents.
•The Argument-Starting Big. After encountering Wake Forest's 6'7", 235-pound Rodney Rogers in the ACC/Big East Challenge Series last December, the Connecticut Huskies must have felt unworthy of their nickname. Two UConn freshmen, Richie Ashmeade and Brian Fair, were impressed, but they couldn't agree on exactly how impressed.
"He takes up a lot of room," said Ashmeade. "He's like a split-level home."
"No, he's more like a small town," said Fair.
"No, he's more like a state," said Ashmeade. "Like Rhode Island."
•The Cartoon-Character Corpulent. Ronald Jones, the man they call Popeye, leads the nation in rebounding with 14.4 a game. He carried 310 pounds on his 6'8" frame when he arrived at Murray State three seasons ago. Lasorda-like, he pared off 50 with Ultra Slim-Fast and still keeps a "before" picture in his locker as inspiration. Although this season his weight is up 10 pounds, he's still an avid proselytizer for The Popeye Diet, the secrets of which he shares here:
On pizza forgo sausage and pepperoni in favor of "more vegetarian types of things," he says. At Wendy's go for a single hamburger with lettuce and tomato "instead of getting a double- or triple-cheeseburger. Cheese is fattening." Drink diet soda instead of regular, skim milk instead of whole, and swear off french fries altogether. "I don't buy 'em," says Popeye. "What I do is, I see someone else buy 'em, and I eat a couple of theirs."
He makes no mention of spinach.
•The Nouveau Fat. Acie Earl, Iowa's 6'10" center, spent his first two seasons being harangued on the road by Big Ten fans. "Never about being fat," he says. No—just for his haircut, his 18E shoe size, his all-around gangliness and his faint resemblance to Manute Bol. That was before this season, during which Earl has topped out at 250 pounds, nearly 35 more than he weighed as a senior in high school. Earl says he and his Hawkeye teammates went absolutely zaftig on coach Tom Davis during a December road trip to Florida, and ever since then Davis has required them to weigh in daily. "Chips are my downfall," Earl says. "Tortilla chips and picante salsa. I try to get my girlfriend not to buy them, but if they're there. I'll eat them."