In a year when all of Milwaukee is celebrating the 300th anniversary of his discovery of the area, P�re Marquette's basketball team has come prepared. Last month three other fellow travelers, Messrs. Armstrong, Aldrin and Collins, were presented with replicas of the Marquette warmup uniforms. In turn, the team will wear Apollo 11 patches on their warmup jerseys. "Well, it's a crazy scheme," says Al McGuire, the marvelously loquacious coach. "But they're legitimate heroes and we wanted to get on the bandwagon."
This week the Warriors start taking their own giant leaps. Again McGuire will have no starter over 6'6" and again he will probably win 20 games against a schedule made up predominantly of moondust, using rough defenses and a collection of springers who use wooden courts like trampolines. "If a man's nose bleeds, you know he's trying," McGuire says.
The best of his bleeders, George Thompson, is gone, but the other two starters up front return: Joe Thomas and Ullrick (Rick) Cobb, both 6'5", who averaged 20 points and 19 rebounds between them last year. Thomas is stronger than Thompson was and can take up some of the scoring slack, but the good-looking Cobb, who is called 'Vator Man, because he delivers himself three floors above the backboard, has to get off the elevator when it comes time to shoot. Stepping into the other forward position will be transfer Gary Brell, a native of Germany who is still adjusting from soccer to basketball but is aggressive in the pivot and an improvement defensively over Thompson.
The backcourt is three-man solid with veterans Jeff Sewell, Jack Burke and Dean Meminger. The two married men, Sewell and Burke, are fast and shoot well from the perimeters, but it is Meminger who will make it all go for the Warriors. Only six feet tall, he will run the fast break, go to the boards, feed off with flair, and, best of all, operate inside where he is—as Jimmy Clanton used to sing—just a dream. "Last year we had the wraps on him," says McGuire, "but he'll pave the driveway for us now. Dean the Dream is my star."
McGuire has two sophomores, Guy Lam and Terry McQuade, to help out when the starters get in foul trouble. Ironically, small Marquette seldom is hurt by big men. Only Bob Lanier of St. Bonaventure beat them badly last season, and that was in Madison Square Garden after the New York-bred Warriors had celebrated their return with one of the legendary nights in Gotham history.
"My guys were frothing at the mouth. I'm never going east again," says McGuire. He won't have to. Marquette looks like an NCAA tournament team again.
15 SANTA CLARA
When a coach has a Dennis Awtrey, a 6'10" center who averages 21.3 points a game, 13.3 rebounds and who never needs a tutor because he is an academic All-America, there is a tendency sometimes to take him for granted. Or to forget that the opposing centers are pretty good, too. In the West Regional last season Santa Clara's Awtrey shot well in a very close game against Weber State and battled Weber's Willard Sojourner even all the way. The Broncos barely won (only to be humiliated in the finals by UCLA's press), but Coach Dick Garibaldi and Assistant Carroll Williams were disappointed in their center's performance.
"We were a little mad," says Garibaldi. "Then the Weber State coach came up to us and said it was the greatest defensive job done that year on Sojourner."