When Barry Goldwater ran for President six years ago his campaign featured a television commercial in which the Eastern Seaboard was last seen floating out into the Atlantic Ocean. In 1970, with so many good Eastern basketball teams around (all of them, it seems, with a player named James Brown), a lot of coaches would be happy to see the effete East disappear. Reason enough is to be found in the Ivy League, where Harvard and Dartmouth, who between them have had only one winning season since Goldwater's little jest, are suddenly brimming with talent.
The Crimson has three starters returning, but better yet, it has last year's freshman team, which won 17 games and lost only two (each by two points) while averaging 105 points a game. It was led by James Brown. Coach Bob Harrison promises to insure Brown's professional value by playing the 6'6" sophomore at guard. Another sure-starting soph is Floyd Lewis, a powerful rebounder. Harvard could make the nation's top 20, if not this year, surely next.
Dartmouth also has a James Brown. This one averaged 28.7 points for a 16-3 freshman team (the Indians split two games with Harvard), and will fill one of three varsity vacancies. No less certain of a job is veteran Forward Paul Erland, who carries a 21.8 scoring average. There is no James Brown at Princeton but there is a Brian Taylor, who led the freshmen to a 17-0 record with a 28.6 average—and that is quite enough to please even Coach Pete Carril.
Graduation losses were especially heavy—but not necessarily painful—among a number of Eastern independents. St. John's is missing four starters and Coach Lou Carnesecca, but the Jamaica Redmen, like the Ivies, had a superb freshman team. It was led by Mel Davis, who years ago forsook the Bedford-Stuyvesant tradition of Lenny Wilkens and Connie Hawkins and said he'd rather be a swimmer. He plays basketball now, real basketball, and so does Bill Schaeffer, another excellent sophomore. But St. John's will not have New York City all to itself. Backcourtmen Henry Seawright and Brian Mahoney, who both averaged in double figures for Manhattan last year, could again lead the Jaspers back into the NIT. Long Island will start four sophomores who played on a 17-1 freshman team. Army also suffered heavy graduation losses, but it does not take much talent to hold the ball, which is what the Cadets mostly do.
With the Bob Lanier era over at St. Bonaventure, lithe Matt Gantt will try to hold things together in a new attack that features a faster-paced offense and a man-to-man defense. Gone also is Calvin Murphy from Niagara, so who else should come along but his half-brother, Robert Miller, who was high scorer on a 20-2 freshman team. Among the other top independents, Holy Cross has five returnees led by Center Bob Kissane (22 points, 12 rebounds) and Providence has four starters back. Friar Coach Dave Gavitt now must do something with freshman star Ernie DiGregorio (27.9).
In the Yankee Conference only two starters are left from Massachusetts' outstanding 1969-70 team, but one of them is 6'6" Julius Erving, who averaged 26 points and 21 rebounds, second best in the nation, and could be enough to hold off Connecticut. In the Middle Atlantic Conference defending champion Temple has only its top scorer missing. The emphasis there will be on a strong array of varying defenses. LaSalle, which lost Coach Tom Gola to Philadelphia's city hall, would have been even worse off had 6'7" Center Ken Durrett accepted a professional bid. Durrett is back, however, and should hang up his third straight year as a 10-rebound and 20-point-per-game man. St. Joseph's, meanwhile, will depend on sophomores up from a 21-2 freshman team.
And, oh, yes, Rutgers has a center—name of James Brown.
New Mexico State trying for a fifth straight NCAA tournament bid, probably will have to settle for second-best among Aggies of the cactus-and-mountain country, behind Utah State. But the beep-beeps from New Mexico Aggie fans are going to drive opponents nuts as little Milton (Road-runner) Horne moves up to a starting position. And Coach Lou Henson is going back to a high-post offense built around 6'8" Jeff Smith, the only returning starter. As usual, Henson has a sensational sophomore, JC transfer Harry Ward. Not as usual, Ward is from right there in Gila-monster country—Hobbs, N. Mex.