Awtrey, who chose Santa Clara over UCLA and Duke, gives Garibaldi and his assistant, Carroll Williams, far less trouble than the hot-tempered Ogdens. In fact, he gives them no trouble at all. He is on an academic scholarship and made the Academic All-America last year. He allowed himself to be pushed and hacked as a sophomore, but now retaliates. He gets good position under the basket, muscles in for close shots, hits well from 10 or 15 feet and helps everybody else on defense. Santa Clara's stingy man-to-man defense is built around the idea that The Tree is always back there for rescue work.
The Broncos' defense involves a lot of pro-style jostling and is designed to force the opposition out of its regular patterns. Whatever route an opponent wants to take, with or without the ball, they try to make him detour. They do this so well, and score so well at the other end, that they are second only to UCLA in average margin of victory and one of the country's leaders in holding opposition scores down.
Awtrey has gained a great deal of confidence as a junior. Before the Houston game in the Cable Car Classic, Garibaldi told him, "I put you on the spot. I told everybody you're better than Ken Spain [ Houston's 6'9", 230-pound Olympian]." "I am," said Awtrey. Then he went out and outscored Spain 19-11 and outrebounded him 20-9. The Broncos won in a rout.
"Awtrey is a fine pro prospect," said Bob Feerick, general manager of the San Francisco Warriors and an ex-Bronco coach and player. "He doesn't look as tall as he is because he's so well built. He has the strength and the weight and the attitude to do almost anything. He has a good touch and can shoot outside. It is too early to compare him with the best post men in the pros, but it isn't too early to say he's a lot more basketball player than some people think.
"The guards are not pro potential. They play steady, heady ball. They don't make many mistakes. In a way it's good that there isn't a flashy pass-off man back there. The guards work hard and feed well to the front three. This is a super team. The Ogdens, in fact, are as good pro prospects as Awtrey."
Garibaldi, like Feerick, is a "super" man. That fellow is a "super guy," he will say, and that center is a "super player." Not a super player himself during his undergraduate days at Santa Clara, he probably picked up the habit from Feerick, who was his coach. Garibaldi was good, though. Twice he was assigned to guard Seattle's Elgin Baylor. "The first night I leaned on him pretty good," Garibaldi said, "and the second night he showed me how to play the game." More heroic was his basket against Wyoming that won the 1952 NCAA sub-regional in Corvallis, Ore. Friends gleefully remember the night his basketball shorts were completely ripped off during a well-attended game. He had to run to the bench for a towel and hurry on to the dressing room.
Dick Garibaldi was an extraordinary all-round athlete in Stockton, Calif.—a high school All-America quarterback as well as a pro baseball prospect—but Feerick charmed him into attending Santa Clara on a basketball grant. Garibaldi's brother Bob followed him to Santa Clara 10 years later as an even more versatile whiz, but signed a huge bonus contract with the San Francisco Giants after his sophomore year. He gave a $12,500 slice to the school.
Bob, who has had arm trouble, pitched well for the Giants' Phoenix farm club last season and now he is home in Stockton refereeing games and helping Papa Ernie Garibaldi in the produce business. Neither can wait until the Broncos come to Stockton later in the season to play bitter rival Pacific, the team with the best chance to beat Santa Clara out of the WCAC championship.
Dick stayed with Santa Clara after he got his degree and moved from assistant to head man when Feerick left in 1962. His teams were held back until last year by tough opposition from USF and Pacific, a series of injuries to key players, flunkouts and two-sport stars who decided to imitate his brother and go pro. Now he has the makings of a big-time team, but he has not changed much personally. He usually declines to wear a necktie and he still shares a cubicle with Assistant Coach Williams in a crowded basement office that also houses Santa Clara's baseball coach, assistant football coach, athletic moderator and part-time sports publicist.
Front-line substitute Chris Dempsey, an excellent passer whose ample middle has earned him the nickname Wally Walrus, wanders in with his usual two bags of sunflower seeds and, like all the rest of the varsity players, calls his coach Dick. Guard Terry O'Brien is good-naturedly suspected of spiriting away a photograph from the desk, but probably it is just lost in the clutter. Every morning Garibaldi gathers up a gang to go upstairs in the Benson Memorial Center to the Bronco Corral for coffee with the gas station owner from down the street, whose son starred for Pacific but has been forgiven.