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BEST OF THE REST
December 01, 1975
FIVE TO WATCH
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December 01, 1975

Best Of The Rest

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FIVE TO WATCH

?A message on the Church of Christ bulletin board in Clarksville, Tenn. this fall advised: GOSSIP RUNS MORE PEOPLE DOWN THAN AUTOMOBILES. Those were apt words, considering the nasty tales going around these days concerning Indiana high school star Sammy Drummer and how he came to play basketball at Clarksville's Austin Peay State University. A David Thompson-type forward who averaged 28 points and 12 rebounds as a prep player last year, Drummer signed his name to three different recruiting documents—a Big Ten letter of intent at Indiana University, a scholarship agreement at NAIA power Gardner-Webb and a national letter of intent at Austin Peay—before deciding to honor the last of them. The Governors, who won 15 of their last 20 games a year ago, get back Guard Charlie Fish-back (18.9 points per game), and three other starters. That and Drummer should be enough to win the Ohio Valley Conference. Why did Drummer choose a small school like Austin Peay? He says Indiana Coach Bob Knight hung up on him during a phone conversation. Then he took a liking to Gardner-Webb Assistant Coach Roger Banks. When Banks became an assistant at Austin Peay, Drummer took the last train to Clarksville.

? Georgetown, which gained fame as the setting for The Exorcist, should also scare some people with its basketball team. No one was graduated from the 18-10 squad that won the ECAC playoffs and appeared in the NCAA tournament last season. Center Merlin Wilson, a 6'9" senior from Washington, D.C., is the core of the team, and Coach John Thompson continues to buck the trend by persuading local high school stars not to stray far from the Capitol. He had an inside track on his latest prize recruit because 6'7" Al Dutch attended John Carroll High School, Thompson's alma mater. Dutch will crowd somebody out of the Hoyas' established front line, and 6'4�" freshman Steve Martin is the big guard Thompson has wanted since he took over at Georgetown three years ago.

? Georgia has been a weak sister in SEC basketball long enough. In the conference's strongest season—Tennessee, Alabama and Auburn are all loaded and Kentucky is still a factor—the Bulldogs should blacken some eyes and bruise some egos. Muscleman Jacky Dorsey is in the George McGinnis mold. At 6'7", 230 pounds he is rugged in close to the bucket, but he also has the soft touch to shoot outside when he wants to. Dorsey's 6'10" classmate, Lucius Foster, ineligible last season, will contribute to Georgia's muscular inside attack. The Bulldogs are only 14-37 under young coach John Guthrie, but he now has assembled a team of nine high school All-Americas. Five of them hail from Georgia, and Guthrie is beginning to dominate his state the way C. M. Newton controls the talent in Alabama.

? Washington's Huskies have a front line that could match up against a forest of Douglas firs and still see the sun—that is, when it bothers to shine in Seattle. (Shouldn't the team's mascot be an umbrella, not a dog?) Coach Marv Harsh-man has four double-figure scorers returning from the team that beat UCLA 103-81, then lost its next three games and finished 16-10. Guard Clarence Ramsey, a 17.8-point scorer, should again be free to tire, with defenses collapsing around 7-foot James Edwards, 6'11" Lars Hansen and 6'9" Larry (Spaceman) Jackson. The Huskies' main problems are UCLA, as usual, and California. A third is the team's itinerary, which reads like Lewis and Clark's. Washington never plays east of Nebraska, and sports editors in the other half of the country who vote in the weekly polls may not discover the Huskies' record until June.

?Holy Cross was a vastly improved team last season, going from an 8-18 record in 1973-74 to 20-8. The Crusaders scored 40% of their points as a result of their defensive pressure, and they were very well balanced on offense. Forwards Chris Potter and Michael Vicens each scored 411 points, while Center Marty Halsey and swingman Bill Doran chipped in with 13.2 and 13.1 averages. They are now joined by freshman Guard Pete Beckenbach who broke all of Rick Barry's scoring records at Roselle Park ( N.J.) High School.

THE EAST

After winning 79 of 86 games, two ACC championships and one NCAA title with David Thompson, what can North Carolina State do without him? Plenty, if three top prospects come up to expectations. Joining exceptional Forwards Kenny Carr and Phil Spence are 7'�" freshman Center Glenn Sudhop and transfer Guards Al Green and Darnell Adell. Wake Forest also could contend for the league title with freshman Center Larry Harrison, 6'10", and All-ACC Guard Skip Brown, a 22.7-point scorer.

The Southern Conference should enjoy its best-balanced race in years. Fur-man, virtually unchallenged the last three seasons, suffered severe graduation losses, while East Carolina, which was 19-9 in 1974-75, William and Mary (16-12) and VMI(13-13) have most of the starters back from their best teams in ages. Richmond introduces Guard Paul Webb, who led junior college scorers with a 35.9-point average last year. Appalachian State, Davidson and The Citadel also are improved.

The loss of Ron Haigler and Bob Bigelow should end Penn's string of Ivy League titles at six. However, the Quakers may still win 20 games if Forward John Engles can recover completely from two operations on the same knee and if 6'5" Forward Keven McDonald can approach the 25.4 scoring average he had on the freshman team.

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