I was more upset than surprised by Kent Hannon's article about the recruiting of Albert King (Everybody Is Courting the King, Feb. 7). It is certainly not Albert or his considerable talents that bother me, but rather the way in which he is being treated by representatives of institutions of higher learning. I do not live in a dream world of pure academics, nor do I wish to. I relish sports and honestly believe that intercollegiate athletics are of great importance to the life of both student and school. But when college coaches take such disproportionate views of their roles that the enrollment of one student becomes "crucial," athletics become detrimental to all. Nor should anyone put the burden of a high national ranking, or, worse yet, a berth in the NCAA finals, on the shoulders of one player. Although he has considerable skills, King is, above all, a person who enjoys playing a game. He obviously hopes to continue enjoying that game in a college atmosphere, but under the present system that appears unlikely. He seems destined to be a basketball commodity rather than a student.
The decision as to which school King will attend should be "crucial" only to him. I wish him the best of luck and hope that pressure-cooker recruiting techniques will not ruin his college experience either on or off the court.
St. Michaels, Md.
Having witnessed numerous times the magical play of Albert King, I can understand why college recruiters are panting, drooling and praying for his services. No matter what college he attends, though, it is the basketball fan who will benefit most. When King realizes his full potential, only superlatives will suffice.
ROBERTO GOTAY JR.
I enjoyed the story on Albert King, who, according to your article, is the most sought-after high school basketball player in the country. However, here in Philadelphia we have a fellow by the name of Gene Banks at West Philadelphia High School, who, in my opinion and that of many others, is the best basketball player in the city since Wilt Chamberlain.
Z. JOHN KARPYN
?Banks has announced that he intends to enroll at Duke this fall.—ED.
Your short item entitled "Perspective" (SCORECARD, Jan. 31) is perhaps the most profound commentary on the state of American college sport I have ever seen. Despite the fact that the situation at George Washington University was dealt with good-naturedly by Coach Bob Tallent, it remains all too true that the modern college athlete must often be forced to choose beween a collegiate career in sports, which might or might not lead to short-lived glory in the pro ranks, and an education that can prepare a person for a lifetime of meaningful service to others, to family and to self. Unfortunately, the two are often mutually exclusive, especially at major schools.
My choice was fairly easy. Although I had enjoyed some minor recognition as a high school basketball player in northwestern Illinois, my potential in basketball at Illinois Wesleyan University was far short of anything deserving attention. Therefore, it was not exceedingly painful for me to put down the ball and concentrate on my major goal, law school. But what is to happen in the cases of fellows like George Washington's Mike Zagardo, the pre-med major? The rewards of athletic competition are many, but professional schools, especially those of medicine, are becoming harder to get into every year. How many times in the past were we, and how many more times in the future will we be, forced by the structure of major-college sports to trade skilled physicians, lawyers and engineers for second-string journeymen pros, and when will we awaken and do something about it?
FRANK C. MAGILL
Thank you for paying tribute to Don Buse, a man whom we Hoosiers have long known to be one of the three finest guards in all of basketball (No Boo-Boos for Boo Boo, Feb. 7). It seems to me, however, that when a man of Boo's ability does not make the All-Star team, while Dan Issel is voted a starter, the fans have horribly abused their voting privilege. I suggest that we give the balloting back to the sportswriters, coaches and players.
We welcomed your coverage of the Fargo Street Hill Climb (This Sport Is Not on the Level, Feb. 7). The event is one of the more colorful, challenging and rewarding non-racing cycling happenings in our area.
Worth noting is that while 60-plus single bicycles have made it over the top to date, only two tandems have done so. My wife and I are pleased to be the only tandem couple to conquer Fargo with a street-ready bike. (The other tandem, the one mentioned in your article, was specially prepared and trucked to the hill.) We rode our Jack Taylor tandem to the hill climb and up the hill on that now famous Sunday in 1974 when the Los Angeles Wheelmen held their first Fargo Street ride.