This season he has avoided trouble and scored 30 or more points six times, including 43 against West Virginia. "Everybody knows he's our go-to player," says Duquesne coach John Carroll, "and they still can't stop him."
? Chris Gatling signed with Pittsburgh out of Elizabeth ( N.J.) High in 1986, but was a Prop 48 case as a freshman. After clashing with Panther coach Paul Evans, Gatling transferred to Old Dominion, where coach Tom Young convinced him that his classwork was just as important as his performance on court. "I don't think he liked himself until he got good grades," says Young. "That really helped his self-image."
As a sophomore last season, the 6'9", 215-pound Gatling was the surprise of the Sun Belt Conference, averaging 22.4 points and nine rebounds while connecting on 61.6% of his shots. This season, although Old Dominion was only 9-9 at week's end, Gatling's numbers have remained strong—19.9 scoring average, 9.7 rebounds and 59.9% shooting.
What makes Gatling's performance especially impressive is that he has a synthetic plate in his skull to protect an area injured in high school, when he fell off the hood of his father's van. "I think about it all the time," says Gatling. "I'm grateful that God gave me a second chance. I want to make the most of it."
REBELS WITHOUT A CLUE
Just when it seemed as if the news out of Las Vegas couldn't get any worse, doggone if the Runnin' Rebels didn't instigate an ugly fight last week. The trouble began with seven seconds left in UNLV's 124-90 rout of Utah State, when Rebel reserve forward Chris Jeter apparently head-butted the Aggies' Gary Patterson, leaving Patterson with a gash near his left eye that required 14 stitches to close. Then right after the game Jeter hit Utah State's Kendall Youngblood with a right cross, opening a cut that needed eight stitches.
The skirmish between Jeter and Youngblood provoked a full-scale brawl in which Moses Scurry, another Vegas sub, punched Utah State coach Kohn Smith, who last year after a loss to UNLV had commented about Vegas players driving "fancy cars." Scurry, you may recall, sat out the first semester on academic probation. (Scurry didn't participate in the Utah State game either, but attended in street clothes, because he was one of eight Rebel players who had been given one-game suspensions by the NCAA for not paying some hotel bill incidentals.) He hit Smith with a left jab and later said, "I didn't know he was the coach. He had a sweater on, and coaches normally wear suits."
Reacting with something less than outrage, UNLV athletic director Brad Rothermel suspended Jeter for three games and merely put Scurry on probation (though the Big West Conference later upped that to a one-game suspension). At week's end university president Robert Maxson finally sounded fed up. "I think it's time we hold the people that commit acts responsible," he said.
A little late isn't it, Mr. President?