It's not just that Rex Chapman, an 18-year-old, 6'5" guard at Apollo High in Owensboro, led a team of Kentucky high school juniors last spring that beat the state's seniors like a drum. Or that he stunned the hoop world by winning the schoolboy slam-dunk contest at the Las Vegas Invitational. Or that Rick Bolus, who runs a recruiting service, ranks him as the best guard to come out of the Commonwealth ever—better even than former Louisville, now Utah Jazz star Darrell Griffith.
It's that Chapman is all this and white, too, and in the land of Adolph Rupp, that still means a lot. Chapman is an absolute must-get recruit for both Louisville and Kentucky. If the Cards don't bag him—and the 'Ville so loves Chapman's highflying style that an assistant coach dogged him to Europe last summer during an all-star tour—they'll have failed once again to attract a white homegrown talent. If the Cats don't get him—and new coach Eddie Sutton has already gotten heat from Lexington fans for failing to bring in a blue-chipper after he took the job last April—it will be one of the rare times that UK hasn't landed a Caucasian Kentuckian it has really wanted. Recent published allegations of under-the-table payments and other improprieties at Kentucky surely won't help the Wildcats' chances.
Chapman may make his choice during the early signing period, which ends in late November. But if he decides to wait until spring, it will mean that other schools are in the hunt. Among the out-of-state pursuers are North Carolina and Georgia Tech. Closer to home, there's Kentucky Wesleyan, where Rex's dad, Wayne Chapman, a former ABA journeyman, is head coach. Or Rex could decide to go to Western Kentucky, where Chapman père, an ex-Hilltopper, is rumored to be a possible replacement for coach Clem Haskins next season.
WHERE THE BOYS ARE
You would expect robust recruiting crops at the Louisvilles, Houstons and North Carolinas. The following schools, however, outdid themselves in attracting the class of the Class of '89:
•George Mason. Among the Patriots' take: two quality junior college transfers, Tracy Battle and Darrin Mosley, plus 6-foot point guard Earl Moore from Washington, D.C., whom they snatched away from Georgetown and Kansas.
•South Carolina. The Gamecocks plucked 13'7" worth of Dozier twins—6'10" Perry and 6'9" Terry—out of Baltimore, a traditional Big East and ACC stronghold.
•Seton Hall. Three all-city New Yorkers, guards John Morton and Gerald Greene and forward Daryll Walker, the state's Player of the Year, will make the river crossing to New Jersey. They'll join redshirt forward Khyiem Long, who was all-New York City in 1984 and is eligible this year. The Pirates' booty also includes 6'8" Ramon Ramos, the best high schooler out of Puerto Rico.
•USC. Last season's surprise Pac-10 co-champs bagged three top players—6'7" Tom Lewis from Garden Grove, Calif., and 6'4" Greg Kimble and 6'7" Eric Gathers, both from Philadelphia—who should contribute immediately.
•Northwestern. 6'3" Jeff Grose, Indiana's Mr. Basketball of '84-85, and 6'9" Brian Schwabe, co-Player of the Year in Washington, lead a class of four fine freshmen.