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THE TOP 20 TEAMS
December 01, 1969
Not in four years has anybody dared pick against UCLA. Even with Lew Alcindor gone, to do so now is still chancy. John Wooden's teams have always been good and this year's edition is no exception. But the Gamecocks of South Carolina, an almost all-New York team, and the Aggies of New Mexico State, not to mention Purdue with Rick Mount, may have enough finesse and—most of all—enough desire to unseat college basketball's biggest winner
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December 01, 1969

The Top 20 Teams

Not in four years has anybody dared pick against UCLA. Even with Lew Alcindor gone, to do so now is still chancy. John Wooden's teams have always been good and this year's edition is no exception. But the Gamecocks of South Carolina, an almost all-New York team, and the Aggies of New Mexico State, not to mention Purdue with Rick Mount, may have enough finesse and—most of all—enough desire to unseat college basketball's biggest winner

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Awtrey is probably the finest player Santa Clara has ever had, better than Ken Sears or Bud Ogden, and he should improve a great deal this year because every day in practice he will be going against a most promising redshirt, 6'9�" Mike Stewart, who is being held out a year because, the coach says, "He's a mediocre forward and could be a great center." Certainly he was not going to beat out Awtrey this campaign.

Awtrey has a seasoned team around him, 6'5" Forward Ralph Ogden (16.1 points a game as a junior) and Guards Terry O'Brien, Kevin Eagleson and Keith Paulson, all seniors. The most serious loss was Ralph's older brother, Bud, an All-America and first-round draft choice of the Philadelphia 76ers. His vacated forward spot probably will be shared by a strong 6'5" senior, Bob Tobin, and two sophomores, 6'7" Mart (short for Martin) Petersen, who lacks aggressiveness, and 6'4" Bruce Bochte, often too aggressive. Bochte has a soft jump shot and, away from basketball, real ability as a first baseman and outfielder.

The Broncos' three senior guards are stern competitors and Garibaldi insists he has confidence in them despite the UCLA debacle, when they had a terrible time getting the ball across half court. However, a sophomore named Jolly Spight could jolly well become a starting guard if he can avoid the aching legs and pulled groin muscles that have plagued him.

When the Broncos were riding high in the polls last season, some in the East and South made fun—justifiable at times—of their schedule. Davidson fans were the biggest hooters, forgetting that their own Southern Conference, without West Virginia, was not exactly the NBA. Anyway, Santa Clara and Dennis Awtrey have a 50-6 record for the last two years, second only to UCLA, and that would look pretty good even in the Oklahoma Collegiate Conference.

16 ST. BONAVENTURE

St. Bonaventure University lies in the Allegheny foothills some 70 miles southeast of Buffalo. Its campus, a collection of brick buildings and neat lawns, borders the Allegheny River and Olean, a city where the downtown center is protected against speeders and would-be bank robbers by TV cameras. To the private Catholic school's 2,500 students, whose vision of a big time in Olean is sloshing through a new foot of snow, this seems an obvious case of overkill. Reflecting on St. Bonaventure's quiet atmosphere, Dean of Men Father Gervase has said, "If it weren't for basketball, the students would tear the place apart." This is only a slight exaggeration. If it weren't for basketball and a campus beer parlor, they would split en masse for Buffalo or Rochester or Canada.

Fortunately, there is enough good basketball to keep the student body home—for instance, the '68 team that went 22-0 in the regular season and received a congratulatory telegram from President Johnson, or last year's squad that had incentive to go 17-7 despite a last-minute one-year NCAA probation. The star of those teams, Center Bob Lanier, is a senior now, and when students gather at the Rathskeller they tell of the time Lanier stood guard while a teammate removed Coach Larry Weise's shorts from his locker. After practice Lanier was summoned by the stark-naked Weise. "Why did you do that, Bobby?" the coach asked his 6'11", 265-pound athlete. Bobby, indeed.

The most startling thing about Big Bob Lanier is the length of his feet. He wears size 20 shoes and it took Converse three tries before the company could make sneakers to fit him. One pair is displayed in the Basketball Hall of Fame in Springfield, Mass. As the joke goes, Lanier's feet arrive on court at 8:25, Lanier at 8:30. Lanier is so agile and talented he is expected, along with Pete Maravich, to be the pros' favorite choice next spring.

This season Lanier has several strong outside shooters to keep opponents from double- and triple-teaming him. Sophomore Matt Gantt, 6'5", is an excellent shooter, and Bubba Gary, the other forward, will help Lanier with rebounds. Paul Hoffman, another sophomore, and Mike Kull are quick and will share one guard position. Billy Kalbaugh, Lanier's roommate, begins his third year as court general, at which he has become adept. The bench, thanks largely to versatile Dale Tepas, has depth. Only if Lanier gets injured will the Bonnies be in trouble. They are without a second big man. "Around here we don't think about that," Weise says, hoping, no doubt, to keep Lanier and the students in Olean all winter.

17 LOUISVILLE

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