In some ways UNLV's latest blue chipper is cut from the traditional Runnin' Rebels mold: a juco transfer (from Vincennes [ Ind.] University), a dynamic leaper and a tireless transition-game player. However, Marion, a 6'7" small forward, would rather rebound than score, has no nickname, doesn't talk trash and moved to Vagas with his mom, Elaine, who plans to attend every home game. He says his proudest accomplishment is breaking the national junior college tournament rebounding record, with 68 in five games.
Mitchell High's home court is one of South Dakota's most popular tourist attractions, but only partly because Miller, who averaged 26.6 points and 10.5 rebounds last season, played there. The gym is named the Corn Palace because its interior and exterior walls are covered by murals made of corncobs. (Naturally, Mitchell's teams are nicknamed the Kernels.) "When you tell people you played in a gym made of corn, you get some funny looks," says Miller, a versatile 6'8", 218-pound Florida freshman who should make believers out of the faithful in Gainesville. He won both the slam-dunk contest and the three-point shootout at Florida's Midnight Madness. "People expect me to be a big, slow country boy, but I play like a city kid," says Miller.
Gadzuric, a 6'10" native of The Hague, the Netherlands, grew up an avid soccer player who never embraced what he called "the game with the orange ball and the two rings" until the day five years ago when he discovered the joy of dunking. Gadzuric came to the U.S. at 17 to play three seasons at a Massachusetts prep school and averaged 20.8 points, 17.3 rebounds and 7.0 blocks as a senior there. His relatively small feet (size 13) afford him surprising agility to complement his height, a rare combination that could make him best center UCLA has recruited since Bill Walton. "I've come a long, long way in a short time," Gadzuric says. About the distance from Holland to Hollywood.
In the summer of 1997 Yarbrough had just finished playing in a pickup game at the Cleveland ( Tenn.) High gym when he glanced up at an air conditioner, took one step, leaped for the beam supporting the unit and began swinging on it. The beam was later measured at more than 11 feet off the ground and was dubbed Vincent's Beam. Yarbrough has always strived to reach extraordinary heights, having won the MVP award in the '97 state championship tournament at age 15. After averaging 23.5 points, 13.7 rebounds, 6.8 assists and 5.1 blocks as a senior, the 6'7" Yarbrough is considered Tennessee's most prized recruit since Bernard King signed up with the Volunteers 24 years ago.
As a senior at St. John's at Prospect Hall in Frederick, Md., Jason—brother of former Duke star Jeff—averaged 20.1 points and 12.0 rebounds to lead the 25-0 Vikings to USA Today's mythical 1998 national title. Until last year Jason, a 6'8" swingman, thought he would play for his father, also named Jeff, at Old Dominion, but the two agreed they didn't want to risk having basketball come between them. The elder Capel, whose Monarchs lost to Jeff Jr.'s Blue Devils in '94, will face North Carolina and Jason on Dec. 4. "Every other game I'm a big Tar Heels fan, but that night we'll try like heck to beat each other," the father says.