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The winds of change have blown through Davidson, N.C., although life in that tiny intellectual haven seems normal enough. The Anchor Grill, which boasts a pinball machine as well as the world's greasiest cheeseburgers, is still there. So is Hattie's, the largest Budweiser distributor in the area. And the basketball team will approach but probably not improve upon its splendid 27-3 record of last season. Still, Lefty Driesell has gone to Maryland and 27-year-old Terry Holland, the first athlete recruited by Driesell in 1961, is now the head coach—and that is a very big change.
Team practices, once rigorous exercises in personal basketball Driesell style, are fun now. They are also open to the public for the first time in a decade, and players like Jerry Kroll, the versatile 6'4" wingman and a fine outside shot, are talking again—notably to Holland, who always did have rapport with the players when he was Driesell's assistant.
"Lefty was not the kind of guy you could talk to," says Kroll. "Terry would always understand. He has a lot of patience and I've learned more this year than any other. Practice is far more interesting and less of a drudgery than it was."
The fellow most affected by the coaching switch is All-America Mike Maloy, probably the quickest 6'1" athlete in the country. To stay eligible this winter Maloy, who rarely could get himself up for the lesser games and only occasionally was seen inside a classroom under Driesell, needed an A and a B in two summer courses. He responded with A in political science and B-plus in philosophy, and now he has even agreed to stick to training rules. Holland will use Maloy, whom he calls "the Mongoose," and strong Doug Cook in a double post. The combination should be hard to stop. Maloy's inside moves are as cagey as ever and his outside range has increased to 20 feet.
As under Driesell, Davidson will free-lance on offense, run plenty and play defense man-for-man. Holland's only problems are picking a second wingman and finding a playmaker to replace talented Dave Moser. If Bryan Adrian, a cocky 6'3" sophomore, does not provide the leadership Holland seeks, the burden may fall on veterans Ronnie Stelzer or Fox DeMoisey. Up front, though, things are so delightful that 6'8" sophomore Eric Minkin—an 18-point, 14-rebound man for a 17-2 freshman squad—will be strictly relief. Everybody knows the Wildcats will breeze through a weak Southern Conference but, as PR Director Emil Parker says, "If Minkin can force either Maloy or Cook to a wing position, we'll win the national championship—easy." They could, if Holland and his boys keep talking.
On the night of July 31 a car ran off Interstate 64 near Simpsonville, Ky., and rammed into a telephone pole. The driver was Mike Casey, the University of Kentucky's brilliant senior guard, and his left leg was shattered in three places. The mangled limb would have to stay in a cast until early December, the doctors said, then it would be many weeks, maybe even months, before Casey could run and jump the way he always had. The mathematics were clear: Casey would miss his senior season, and the Wildcats' national championship hopes, once rosy, were thrown into serious doubt. "Our prospects looked much better than in '51 or '58," says Kentucky's Adolph Rupp. "But now we will have a big fight to even get out of the conference."
Casey was the ideal Kentucky guard: aggressive, quick, rangy, deadly. The Wildcats' leading scorer as a sophomore, his shooting fell off slightly last season as Kentucky began working more around his roommate and fraternity brother, 6'8" Center Dan Issel. Yet Casey still managed to average more than 19 points while setting a school assist record (129), mostly on feeds to Issel. "Hell, when you lose a Ty Cobb, you don't replace him," says Rupp.
Kentucky graduated only one senior from last year's 23-5 team, but he was also a guard, Phil Argento, leaving Rupp both backcourt spots to fill before the first game against West Virginia this week. Two junior lettermen return, 6'2" Terry Mills and 6'2" Bob McCowan, but Rupp is more enthusiastic about 6'3" Kent Hollenbeck, a sophomore from Knoxville, Tenn., who averaged 20 points for the freshman team and was said to have as much potential as any Kentucky guard since Frank Ramsey.
Elsewhere, Kentucky is set. One forward belongs to 6'4" senior Mike Pratt, and the other will be manned alternately by 6'5" junior Larry Steele ("He's much quicker," says Rupp), 6'6" sophomore Tom Parker and 6'8" sophomore Randy Noll ("In practice, he got a sword and hatchet and went to work," says Rupp). And at center there is Issel, who not only scores (his 26.7 average was a school record) but rebounds well enough to give Kentucky its usual fierce fast break.