The Warriors, 23-4 last season, were eliminated in the NCAA regionals by Kentucky's big men. Now Marquette will be better—much better, it appears—than any team on its schedule except Notre Dame. There are four tall reasons: 6'8" Bernard Toone, 6'6" Ulice Payne, seven-foot Craig Butrym and 6'10" Jerome Whitehead.
Freshman Toone was an All-America center at Gorton High in Yonkers, N.Y., where he averaged 32 points, 20 rebounds, six blocked shots and five assists a game. The switch to forward has been driving him loony, but McGuire expects him to come around. Junior Butrym, alias Stretch, Cloud-Piercer and the Great White Hope, is starting to play like the first 7-footer in Marquette history should. Payne, a deft, intelligent transfer from Ohio University, is so dedicated that he runs around the court twice even before playing tennis. But the best bet to crack the starting lineup is Whitehead, the only freshman to make the All-California junior college team last year. He is, McGuire admits, a "keeper."
The four other positions belong to returning starters—Butch Lee, who played well in a Puerto Rican league this summer; Lloyd Walton, who set a school assists record last year with 159; 6'9" Bo Ellis, the team's leading scorer (16.3 points a game) and rebounder (10.5); and 6'6" Earl Tatum, a forward-guard whose excellent outside shot—a Marquette rarity—is the key to the Warriors' balanced attack.
McGuire is known for keeping his squad happy. He never demotes a starter, even if he appears for just the opening tap. As for the subs, McGuire says, "We have three sixth men. I mean, you've got to replace a guard, a forward and a center, right? This way the ninth man is the seventh man and everybody's happy." To extend McGuire's logic, there are two seventh men, six-foot Gary Rosenberger and muscular 6'5" Bill Neary. That, somehow, adds up to 10.
And that doesn't count the bearded Boswell ( Sports Information Director Kevin Byrne) McGuire has added to his retinue this year. Byrne keeps busy by recording the Quotations of Chairman Al. The one to remember is "seashells and balloons." It means everything is cool. In this year of 10s, Marquette could be seashells and balloons all the way to the end of March.
While Alabama, Kentucky and Vanderbilt were fighting it out for the SEC title the past two seasons, Tennessee quietly was developing into a monster. No longer the tight-fisted band that led the nation in defense from 1963 through 1973, the Vols have been transformed into a scoring machine by a pair of New York City players named Bernard King and Ernie Grunfeld who combined for 71 points in one game last winter. Together, the gentlemanly King and the rugged Grunfeld make Tennessee an excellent and explosive club.
Like a football team playing without a huddle, the Vols put points on the board by racing the ball back up the floor whether or not the opposition has scored. Grunfeld will take any shot he can get before the defense is able to set up; the rest of the time, the ball usually will go inside to the 6'7" King. From there, it generally goes through the hoop.
As a freshman last season, King led the nation in shooting (.622), finished 11th in scoring (26.4) and 20th in rebounding (12.3). NCAA statisticians have discovered that only a handful of players King's size ever enjoyed a comparable season.
Grunfeld had to work hard to score his 24 points a game, but this year Tennessee's opponents know all about King and will have to key on him. That should spread out the defenses and make Grunfeld's mad rushes to the bucket easier.