Squatting in front of the library at the University of Maryland is a large, bronze terrapin with its nose in the air like a snooty dowager—probably because of the annual successes in wrestling, soccer, lacrosse and other sports most schools consider "minor." In basketball Maryland has won just one Atlantic Coast Conference title in the last 12 years. Next March the NCAA tournament championship rounds will be held in the William P. Cole Jr. Student Activities Building, a huge blimp hangar of a gymnasium just a few hundred yards from the metal turtle. And it is not unreasonable to suggest that maybe, just maybe, the Terrapins themselves will be involved in the last two nights' activities—though they may be difficult to recognize without lacrosse sticks in their hands.
On paper and on the floor, Coach Bud Millikan's team looks like the best ever at College Park. Last season the Terrapins won 14 of their last 16 games, and the top seven men are returning. Before worrying about playing for the national crown in front of the home folks, however, they must first win the ACC tournament in Raleigh, and then shoot their way through the tough Eastern Regionals, again in Raleigh. The school has never reached the NCAA semifinals but, of course, it did not have a Phi Beta Kappa chapter either until a couple of years ago. Things are getting classier all over the grassy campus, where even the maintenance buildings boast lovely Georgian columns. One reason for the class of the basketball team, perhaps, is that the starting lineup comes from New Jersey, Ohio, Maine, Pennsylvania and Washington, D.C. The players are an interesting lot. Guard Neil Brayton, 6 feet 4, is senior class president and before that was junior class president and outstanding male sophomore. He wants to be a dentist. So does Jay McMillen, 6 feet 7, 225 pounds, a prematurely gray jump-shooting deadeye who averaged 20 points a game last season as a sophomore. He is now junior class president. Forward Gary Ward, 6 feet 5 and with bird legs, majors in journalism and jump shots, averaging 18 points a game when he was a junior. The center is an ambidextrous junior named Joe Harrington, a product of Phippsburg, Me. who ignored the wishes of Boston College Coach Bob Cousy and traveled south. The man he beat out, Rick Wise, is also back, and so is the other starting guard, Gary Williams. Obviously, the Terrapins are rich, but a difficult schedule could leave them just a mess of cold turtle soup, waiting for next season, when McMillen, Harrington and Williams will be back to heat them up.
16 BOSTON COLLEGE
Bob Cousy is a successful insurance man and TV announcer, an adviser to a dairy company, the operator of a prospering basketball camp and a popular after-dinner speaker. He also endorses basketballs, basketball shoes, bathing suits and sweaters. Enough activity for one man? No. Cousy gets in his car these chilly mornings and whips down the Massachusetts Turnpike from Worcester to Boston, where he coaches at Boston College. He directed the Eagles to their best record ever (22-7) last year, and from that team Cousy still has one All-America (John Austin), three other starters and six other lettermen, plus assorted bench warmers. He gets six new men from the frosh and he says they have "great potential." Obviously, he is also a good recruiter. And he hates it.
"It's a pain," he said as he signed a sheaf of letters at his desk recently. "It seems like coaching basketball these days is an anticlimax. Look at this correspondence, and this is just a sample. You write to these kids to see if they'd be interested in the school, then you follow it up by talking with the kid's coach, his mother and father. You take the family out to dinner. It takes a lot of time.
"Last year I chased one boy for months. Until January I thought I had him. He told everybody he was going to BC. I made two special trips to his home town to speak at banquets for him. This was a real top boy. He had the marks, everything. You can't even bother talking to kids if they don't have the marks. Anyway, I lost this boy. At the last minute he decided to go to one of the southern schools. This was just one case, but look at all the time I wasted on him.
"Some of the kids have their hands out. I tell them no deal. I suppose the parents tell the kids to ask for money. It becomes a problem, believe me. You have to live with yourself. You can't prostitute yourself or the school and you don't want to corrupt the kids, but some of these schools"—Cousy shook his head—"they really go all out if they want the top kid. The boy I told you about must have had 75 offers.
"We'll run this year," Cousy said. "We'll fast-break, and then play a tandem offense—some call it a double stack—with four men in close to the basket." He looked over the names. Austin, of course, would start in the backcourt with Captain Ed Hockenbury. Top sophomore Jim Kissane, Ted Carter and Willie Wolters would open up front. Then Cousy handed down the rest of the roster: Hice and Keller, Rossi, Kvancz and Pacynski, Rooney, Adleman.... It started sounding like an all-American platoon from a war movie. "I hate to do it, but six of these kids—well, the way it is now—six of them won't make the squad," Coach Cousy said.
17 WEST VIRGINIA
A UCLA recruiter was on the phone from Los Angeles trying to reach a prime prospect in Missoula, Mont. The boy could not answer the call, though there was really no mystery concerning his whereabouts. He was in one of the town's few large hotel rooms, with the furniture pushed against the wall, playing one-on-one against Duke Assistant Coach Bucky Waters. This was two years ago; Duke got the boy—and lots of others.