In fact, he's so much an inspiration that Guard Tom Staton, one of three starters back from last year, says, "On a bad night we'll be great. On a good night we'll be unstoppable."
Hubbard sounds no less confident. Last year he was so depressed that he couldn't bear to watch practice. Now he says, "I figure, if I can play not too much can go wrong." But, Phil, what about Michigan State and Indiana? What about your non-conference games against Alabama, Louisville, Dayton and Notre Dame? His answer: "Everybody is good until you beat them."
That may be overdoing it a bit, but the Wolverines do have good reason to feel optimistic. They welcome back not only Hubbard, but also 6'5" All-Big Ten Forward Mike McGee, who finished second in conference scoring with a 21.8-point average. The other starters are Staton, a defensive specialist; Forward Allan Hardy, who averaged 12 points and six rebounds a game; and Guard Mark Lozier, a former sixth man. Orr is so sure he has enough talent among his regulars and on the bench that he isn't hurrying along his three prize freshmen, all of whom ranked among the country's top 100 high school prospects last year.
With Hubbard and McGee, Michigan is in the unusual situation of having two experienced stars who have never played together. "It shouldn't be a problem," McGee says. "I'm not selfish, and Phil isn't either." Lest one of them hog the ball, Orr will keep McGee at forward instead of putting him at his more natural position, guard. "Mike could be a dominating player at guard," Orr says, "but we can't do that to our other players. We win with our balance, by putting four or five players in double figures."
Orr has also decided that center is Hubbard's best position, though he used to think Phil's size (6'7") made him better suited to forward. Now Orr likes the way Hubbard uses his quickness and outside shooting against bigger men, while more than holding his own under the boards. But no matter where Hubbard plays, any position is better than the imposition of not playing at all.
13 SAN FRANCISCO
The scene in the University of San Francisco's cozy gym has changed a lot. Coach Bob Gaillard is off promoting sneakers. Leading scorer Winford Boynes and mighty slam-dunker James Hardy joined the NBA rather than play their senior seasons. And Chubby Cox, the top man in assists, completed his eligibility. Losing a coach and three outstanding players would ruin most teams, but the Dons will not only survive, they very likely will also be champs of the tough West Coast Athletic Conference again.
The main reason for such optimism is 7'1" Center Bill Cartwright, who last season scored 20.6 points a game, took down an average of 10.9 rebounds and was MVP in a league full of imposing centers, including 6'10" Edgar Jones of Nevada-Reno, 7-foot Jawann Oldham of Seattle, 6'11" Ray Ellis of Pepperdine and 6'10" Mark McNamara of Santa Clara. And Cartwright should be even more effective this year. Last summer he undertook a demanding conditioning program, which, according to new Coach Dan Belluomini, has redistributed his 255 pounds to good effect.
At times Belluomini will use both Cartwright and an extraordinarily mobile 7-foot freshman. Wallace Bryant, at the same time. Bryant and Cartwright could be a devastating double-post combination, recalling the duo of 7'2" Artis Gilmore and 7-foot Pembrook Burrows III that led Jacksonville to the NCAA final round eight years ago. Another new face is that of Bill Reid, a 6'5" point guard who started for New Mexico two years ago before transferring to USF and sitting out a season. Reid does not have great shooting range, but he is intensely competitive and versatile enough to play a wing, too.
Returning with Cartwright is Forward Doug Jemison, who hails from Jerry Lucas' hometown of Middletown, Ohio, where, if these two citizens are fair examples, the local specialty is breeding tough rebounders. To back up the Cartwright-Jemison nucleus, Belluomini brought in two high school stars. Guy Williams, 6'8", has the ball-handling skills to play guard if need be, and 6'5" Ken McAlister was a prep All-America in football and basketball.