Ernie DiGregorio, the Providence College guard who signed a reported $1.5 million contract when he joined the National Basketball Association's Buffalo Braves, has picked up a new nickname. In college, he was known as Ernie D. In the pros, he is being called Ernie No D, for No Defense. The 6-foot Ernie had enough trouble with lesser players, but the nickname was hung on the Buffalo rookie after he defended against Jerry West in a game the Braves lost to the Lakers 125-122. West, playing on an injured foot that required medical treatment the next day, scored 35 points in 32 minutes. "They had DiGregorio on me most of the night," said West in an unusually candid postgame interview, "and I was able to go pretty much wherever I wanted. I could get 12-foot jumpers, 10-foot jumpers, 4-foot jumpers. If I was in shape, I could have had a pretty big scoring night."
Then West said, "Ernie has to be more aggressive, use his hands more, grab and hold as we do in the NBA. I think ultimately he's going to be a great player for Buffalo on both offense and defense."
Football coaches place a lot of faith, or at least interest, in polls (We're No. 1, and so forth), and head Coach T. W. Alley of the University of Louisville was therefore a bit miffed earlier this season when his star senior defensive back, Lonnie Schuler, was beaten out for Defensive Player of the Week in the Missouri Valley Conference by an unknown from North Texas State named Walter Chapman.
"Who's Chapman?" Alley asked.
"A freshman. Defensive tackle. Five feet, 10 inches. Weighs 244."
"A freshman?" Alley said with some irritation. "What did he do?"
"Well, he had 22 tackles and knocked down a pass."
There was a moment of silence. Then Alley said, "Where can I go vote for him?"