By then 6'8" Forward Fleming may have missed the first of his long jumpers. He has a career field-goal percentage of .581. And while Fleming does his deadly work outside, Bob Elliott wheels inside. The 6'10" center averaged 23 points a year ago. This also could be the season that swingman Herman Harris lives up to his—and everyone else's—high expectations.
As usual, the Wildcats will run. Snowden has a big book full of intricate plays, but the one he likes best is the three-on-one fast break. His second choice is the two-on-one fast break. He even likes the one-on-five break, which is one reason Arizona committed 19 turnovers a game last year.
And the Wildcats will do some things other than run well. One is rebounding, since eight of the players stand 6'8" or taller. Nor is that the end of the ' Cats' talents. Forward Jerome Gladney plays the trombone and another forward, Tim Marshall, has appeared on television doing his nifty Muhammad AH imitation. If the players get together and come up with a magic act that makes those turnovers disappear, Arizona could be a smash.
12 KANSAS STATE
At the ancient Alma Hotel on the road between Topeka and Manhattan, a phenomenon known as the Purple Chef serves a million-dollar menu in two-bit surroundings. The Purple Chef is purple (well, his billowy hat is purple) because that is the color of his true love, the Kansas State basketball team. Over the years, Wildcat players have learned that if Coach Jack Hartman is good for a lot of laps, the Purple Chef is at least good for a laugh and a lunch. In his role as the Escoffier of K-State athletics, he cooks up snacks every so often and serves them to the players in their Manhattan dormitory. If the Wildcats do as well as expected this year, the squad may be getting breakfast in bed every day.
Kansas State made it all the way to the NCAA regional finals last spring, disproving last November's predictions that the Wildcats might not win half their games. They finished second in the Big Eight, came within an overtime of reaching the NCAA final round and managed an overall record of 20-9. With four starters back, including rapid-fire Guards Chuckie Williams and Mike Evans, and some quality frontcourt recruits, Kansas State should be even better this season.
As rocket launchers go, Williams and Evans are two of the best, and Hartman believes 6'10" Center Carl Gerlach can improve on last year's 10 points per game. Forward Larry Dassie, a 6'5" newcomer from Dodge City Junior College, can also become a top gun. Aggressive Dan Droge and inconsistent Darryl Winston-renew their competition for the other forward spot. Jerry Black, a 6'11" JC transfer, is expected to help.
Even if the frontcourt scores more, a return to man-to-man defense and an upbeat offensive tempo should keep Williams and Evans around their 22.1-and 17-point averages of last year. Evans is the better all-round player, more suited to working at point guard, but Hartman calls Williams "the best shooter I've ever coached." And that's saying something, since Walt Frazier was one of his charges when he was the head man at Southern Illinois.
Last year Williams scored 640 points, more than any other Wildcat guard ever, and Evans overcame a late-season broken nose to add 492 more. This winter the two guards may share the spotlight with Dassie, a JC All-America. Hartman worries over Dassie's uninhibited style, but says, "If he'll let me work with him and firm everything up, he'll make a big contribution."
If Dassie does dazzle, the Wildcats' prospects for at least a Big Eight title are as good as the Purple Chef's veal cordon bleu.