The other newcomers will remember who they are simply because the veterans are so good. First off, there is Bobby Jones, who makes a habit of getting sneaky open. Jones does it so well that he made over 60% of his field-goal attempts his first two seasons. "And if there's a better defensive player in the country, I'd like to know who it is," says Smith.
Sophomore Mitch Kupchak and junior Ed Stahl will light it out for another inside spot. Both are big and strong, and Kupchak hit 60% of his shots and played in all 33 of the team's games as a freshman. In fact, the Tar Heels have such a lengthy list of good shooters that they have led the nation in field-goal accuracy the past two years.
North Carolina will have to fill in the backcourt, where the graduation of George Karl hurts the most. And, as usual. Smith plans to use several different lineups, including "big" and "little" models, running players in and out with the speed of an assembly line.
Even the schedule looks good. The Tar Heels travel outside the state limits on only four occasions, and one of those trips is against meek Biscayne.
One sour note in the concerto is the missing beat of talented Donald Washington Last year he was injured, then he fell behind in his studies and could not make up the grades in summer school. Now he is out of school altogether and hoping to return next year. Even so the Tar Heels figure to win 20 games for the seventh time in the last eight years. And maybe win a few more.
For years, first as an assistant at UCLA, next as coach of Louisville, Denny Crum manipulated players. He needled them and played them, appeased them and sat them down, badgered them and juggled them. Then came last year's team with three sophomores and two juniors who had never started a varsity game. Crum was unmanipulating but hardly unhappy. "It was my most rewarding season," he says. The Cardinals beat NCAA runner-up Memphis State 83-69, won 23 games and, for the eighth straight time, appeared in a postseason tournament, this time the NIT.
Crum built that record on ice, a pogo stick and a neophyte—and each returns. The ice, Allen Murphy, averaged 16 points a game as a forward, shot a cool 52% and was so quick that he always defended against guards. Bill Butler, the pogo stick, is the other forward and maybe the most intimidating one in college basketball. The last line of defense in Louisville's zone press, he will uncoil under the basket to swat away shots two feet over the rim—and he is only 6'1". In 16 games Butler led the Cardinals in scoring, rebounding or both. The neophyte is now a two-way junior, Junior Bridgeman by name. He so enjoyed his first season at guard that he made all-conference.
Bridgeman rejoins Terry Howard who after a slow start was voted the most valuable player in the Rainbow Classic even though Louisville placed second. Also on hand is reserve Phillip Bond, who used to gum up scoring on both ends of the court but has been the leading percentage shooter in practice this fall.
Even with all this talent available, a freshman has been getting the loudest raves. Wesley Cox could be as magical to Louisville fans as the Derby. A two-time all-state selection from nearby Male High, he chose Louisville from the usual 5,000 colleges because, he said, he wanted his family to watch him play. While he or Ike Whitfield, a 6'8" junior-college All-America from California, could move into the three-man front line right away, Crum prefers to start Cox. At 6'5", he would make the average height under the boards only 6'3½" but Crum has concluded that smallness is not bad per se. Indeed, he has become a firm believer in little teams that can. He harbors special memories of the UCLA team in 1964. It did not start a player more than 6'5" tall and yet won the national title. Since then Crum has viewed enough championship races to speak with authority. "There are always 10 teams capable of winning the national title," he says. "Now we are one of them."