THE BEST... PROVIDENCE
EAST: A wash of optimism has spilled across this entire area, but one team stands out, the NIT champions from
. Coach Joe Mullaney's front line includes 6-foot-10 Jim Hadnot, last year's leading scorer at 19.3, and 6-foot-10 John Thompson, who averaged 32.2 points with the freshmen. Thompson, a native of Washington, D.C., is a prot�g� of Boston Celtic Coach Red Auerbach, who reportedly steered him to the Friars to get him within the pros' 60-mile territorial choice area. George Zalucki, 6 feet 6, Tom Nyire, 6 feet 7, and transfer Jim Stone add still more scoring ability. The backcourt has speed and experience in Vinnie Ernst, the NIT's most valuable player, junior Ray Flynn, and sophomore jump-shooter Bob Simoni. Providence is so good that the NCAA will probably make an extra effort to lure the Friars into its own tournament.
lost Coach Eddie Donovan to the New York Knicks, and star sophomore Fred Crawford to illness. Crawford and All-America Tom Stith both contracted tuberculosis last spring but are out of the hospital and making a good recovery. New Coach Larry Weise, only 25, will use the fast-break offense and harass-'em defense he learned as a standout player for Donovan in the mid-'50s. With 6-foot-9 Bob McCully improving rapidly at center, Orris Jirele hustling at guard and two fine sophomores coming up in Miles Aiken and John Mahonchak, the Bonnies have good speed and shooting once again.
has three starters and six reserves back and some dandy sophomores coming up, but the squad lacks height. Ambidextrous Forward Bill O'Connor whipped in 23 points a game as a sophomore, while Tom Chester, his opposite number up front, averaged 15. High-scoring Tony Gennari and Joe Bossert are the best of Coach Bob MacKinnon's new men.
If HOLY CROSS carries out its plan—to run single and double screens all night so Jack Foley can shoot—all the team's points might be scored by one man. Foley, who hits 27 per game anyway, is certainly an excellent shooter, but the new coach, Frank Oftring, has lost all his other starters, and 6-foot-7 sophomore Ward Becht is the only tall man left.
Navy will run the shuffle offense, and with no less than six starters back, Coach Ben Carnevale is understandably buoyant. Strongest area in the deep Middie lineup is at guard, where Captain Dave Tremaine will be joined after the football season by last year's captain, Al Hughes. Tremaine's 14.4 average is bolstered by Forwards Ron Terwilliger (11), Bill Kirvan (10.5) and Mike Nash (10.2), and Center Mike Miga (9.4).
Everyone seems to think
will dominate northern New York—except Coach Taps Gallagher. Taps complains he has no one over 6 feet 5, although allowing that in Ken Glenn he does have a topnotch scorer and rebounder. Joe Maddrey, who was to start with Glenn at forward, is ineligible until the second semester, but the backcourt, with junior Andy O'Connell and sophomores Tom Brennan and Jim Kuryak, has shooting ability and depth.
New Coach Jack Kraft comes to
at a bad time. Hubie White, a 21-point jump shooter, is the only returning starter in a lineup that will have to depend on hustle to compensate for lack of height, experience and reserves.
Four returning starters will greet visitors to
new 6,000-seat gym, including 6-foot-9 LeRoy Ellis, a good rebounding forward, Willie Hall, and two speedy guards, Ivan Kovac and Kevin Loughery. The other forward position in Coach Joe Lapchick's run-and-shoot offense will probably go to junior Don Burks giving the Red men a fast, experienced and potentially high-scoring unit that only lacks depth up front.
lost its star guard, Ray Paprocky to the scandals, but three other double-figure scorers, Al Filardi, Tom Boose and Mark Reiner, return. Several sophomores, including 6-foot-6 Harold Hairston and Guard Barry Kramer, are bidding for starting spots on Coach Lou Rossini's fast, well-stocked roster, which needs more height and a more alert defense.