This was a great moral victory for RPI and a fine tribute to Coach Gary Kearns, a Ned Harkness prot�g�, and to a valiant band of fighting Engineers.
H. RICHARD WELTMAN
QUACKS AND BRAYS
As a season-ticket holder to the University of Houston basketball games, I was delighted to see your story, Elvin, Melvin and The Duck, (Jan. 2). That is, I was delighted until I read it. Curry Kirkpatrick spent a great deal of time describing how they play defense like a jackass, don't shoot very well and are lazy, some of which, no doubt, is true. However, he could have given equal or more space to the many talents of Don (The Duck) Chaney and had a much more informative story. Chaney has the quickness and moves of only one other player his size that I have ever seen—and that is The Big O. Without the presence of The Big E in the lineup, The Duck would be on his way to making All-America himself.
Perhaps your nationwide audience will get to see the Houston players later in the year at the NCAA finals. Then Mr. Kirkpatrick can eat his story for breakfast, for there won't be any jackasses there.
Now I've heard everything! Your article on Elvin, Melvin and The Duck is not only insulting, but ridiculous. You make the Houston basketball team sound as though they are long-lost Greek gods. That's O.K. We at Tulsa wish our longtime football and basketball opponents all the best—until they play us. What is ridiculous is your statement indicating that Tulsa might be afraid of playing Houston. Are we not in the best cage conference in the nation, the Missouri Valley? Don't we meet the likes of Unseld, Allen, Holden, et al, when we play Cincinnati, Louisville and St. Louis (not just once a year, but twice)?
Again, I wish Houston luck. But don't take it away from the rest of us when you write them up. After all, with its schedule and results, Coach Joe Swank's Tulsa team deserves good recognition, too.
I'm sure I speak for many Providence College fans when I say you have done Jimmy Walker, PC's All-America, a gross injustice. In your article on Houston you stated that Lew Alcindor's talent is matched (or approached) by only three men in college basketball today. Make that four. Jimmy Walker is the best. He averages about 30 points a game and could make it 50 if he didn't pass off so much. He also gets his share of rebounds and assists, and possesses the best moves in the country.
SPIRIT OF 76
I can't tell you how much I appreciated Frank Deford's fine article on Alex Hannum and the Philadelphia 76ers (Sarge Takes Philly to the Top, Jan. 2). It's about time someone told Boston that from now on they're only second best. It is felt in Philadelphia, and I'm sure in other basketball towns, that Alex Hannum has a greater knowledge of the game than any other single person. As Deford pointed out, making a playmaker out of the phenomenal Wilt Chamberlain is a feat matched by no other coach in basketball history.
I have become an avid 76er fan since they invaded the City of Brotherly Love. Never before has such enthusiasm existed. Never before has old Convention Hall held standing-room-only crowds. No one can tell me now that Boston can compare to the 76ers. SI knows a good thing when it sees it.
MARK J. FRIEDMAN
Cherry Hill, N.J.