•The Broad-by-Local-Tradition. Maybe it's a result of all that fried food, but the South produces more than its share of widebodies. Ground zero for such creatures is Auburn, Ala., also known as the Loveliest Village of the Plain, soon to be known as the Loveliest Village of the Extra Cheese and Pepperoni. With six regular-season games yet to play, 6'5", 230-pound sophomore Aaron Swinson has already thrown down 46 dunks. Six-foot-six-inch, 240-pound juco transfer Aubrey Wiley was hauling down 11.7 rebounds a game before breaking his foot on Jan. 5, more than Sir Charles averaged as a freshman. Not to worry: Wiley's injury has given 6'6", 260-pound freshman Willie Jones, an all-state defensive tackle in high school, a chance to shine on the hardwood. "If we only played like we ate," says Eagles, who gives his players the run of a buffet table for pregame meals, "we'd win the conference."
•The Baby Fat. Seton Hall's Luther Wright, who weighed 360 pounds last spring, did nothing through his first six Big East games. Only late last month, when he shot 11 for 17 over consecutive outings against Boston College, St. John's and Ohio State, did the 7'2" freshman—he makes teammates Darrell Mims (6'8", 270 pounds) and Jerry Walker (6'7", 240 pounds) look positively svelte—start living half as large as he is. Wright finally seems to be comfortable with both his new body (285 pounds) and his role as a North Jersey cult hero. When he makes a block or plucks a rebound, Seton Hall students hold placards aloft—with an L followed by a string of U's.
•The Feckless Fat. Jarrad Smith is a 6'11", 315-pound, XXXXL-jersey-wearing freshman at Morgan State, and Matt Burrell is a 6'7", 270-pound junior college transfer. Smith's nickname in high school was The Most; Burrell's could just as well have been Pretty Darn Much. Alas, they are monuments—literally, it would seem—to the maxim that bulk alone won't get the job done. The Bears are a pitiful 3-19.
•The Learned-Their-Lesson Large. Rodney Camper, a 6'5", 230-pound senior at NAIA Biola College, weighed 310 pounds as a senior at Long Beach (Calif.) Millikan High and rode the bench. Poor bench. In six months at Long Beach City College he dropped 40 pounds and has had nothing but good things happen to him since coming to Biola four years ago. "I hold my own against Division I guys during the summer," says Camper, who averages 13.2 points and seven 'bounds for the 22-3 Eagles.
•The Require-a-Zoning-Variance Fat. You've heard of Twin Towers in various incarnations. Meet Georgia Southern's Twin Strip Malls: Shawn Brown, a 6'5", 253-pound freshman, and D'Andre Goggans, a 6'6", 256-pound redshirt. They have all the tools, as they say—a refrigerator and a hot plate in the dorm room they share. Their coach, Frank Kerns, sees the potential rewards in a Brown or a Goggans but is wary of their ilk too. "Even if they have good basketball skills, you have to make sure kids like that play with intensity," he says. "A lot just don't do it."
Hold on, Coach. That sounds like the old stereotype—fat and lazy. Don't tell it to Brown, who, while running a wind sprint during preseason drills, feared he wouldn't finish within the prescribed time and threw himself over the end line. Indeed, don't tell it to the put-upon floorboards at GSU's Hanner Fieldhouse.
Great Moments in Fat-Guy History, 1985.
The Memphis State basketball team pays a visit to Sea World in San Diego while in town for a holiday tournament. Among the Tigers making the trip is 6'7", 255-pound Marvin Alexander, who had to have the seams of his uniform trunks let out before he could slip them on. A number of teammates remarked upon the uncanny resemblance between Alexander and Shamu the Killer Whale. Later they simply called him Tank.
Great Moments in Fat-Guy History, 1987.
The Georgia Bureau of Weights and Measures appears at Georgia Tech's first practice each year for the ritual recording of the vital statistics of every player. Freshman Dennis Scott, who arrived in Atlanta with the nickname Legs 'n' Butt, is chagrined to find that, despite having dieted all summer, he still tips the scales at 255—not unreasonable for a banger, but altogether too much for a 6'7" shooting guard. Is it possible that he didn't diet all summer? No, but Scott does know how to account for the 10-to 15-pound discrepancy between what he thinks he weighs and what the scale says. "Shoes and socks," he says.
For a while Scott had to wear a sort of girdle under his trunks to keep his thighs from chafing when he ran. Yet he eventually slimmed down, led Georgia Tech to the 1990 Final Four and found an NBA home with the Orlando Magic. Duckworth, who has been an All-Star in Portland, and Victor Alexander, who has started as a rookie for Golden State, also succeeded in emulating Barkley and controlling their weight and enhancing their bankbooks. For many others, however, a waist is a terrible thing to mind. Turpin first ate himself out of the NBA, then out of European ball. Watts ballooned to nearly 300 pounds within months of the end of last season and flunked his tryouts with the Jazz and the Warriors.