Richardson had become so close to his four best players at Western that in the recruiting scuffle only Brown visited any school besides Tulsa. "But I knew I'd follow my heart," he says. The new Hurricane quartet may need no introduction to aficionados of the junior college game, but for those who were reading the Burma Shave signs on the bus tour through Snyder, here they are:
? Brown. A 5'10" high school junior when one of Richardson's assistant coaches, Andy Stoglin, discovered him on the El Paso playgrounds. Grew 10 inches in three years and is now the Hurricane's leading scorer and rebounder. "He'll fight the devil," Stoglin told Richardson. Sure enough. Achieved instant fame when Louisville's massive Wiley Brown sucker-forearmed him from behind. Afflicted with instant insanity, he wanted to fight back. Was restrained. "I was the enforcer and here I was getting enforced," says Brown. "I wanted Wiley bad. I used to chill dudes in JUCO."
?Spradling. Another El Paso native who once scored 40 points against Richardson's high school team. Spent freshman year at New Mexico as injured red-shirt, then transferred to Western Texas. Charlie Chaplin mustache. The Hurricane's only true outside scoring threat.
?Greg Stewart, 6'9" center from the Bronx. Sent out west by Richardson's friend, Tiny Archibald of the Celtics, who told Stewart that Richardson would make "a someone" out of him. "You hear about all the trouble on the streets of New York?" says Stewart. "Well, I was some of the trouble."
? Paul Pressey, 6'5" guard-forward from Richmond, Va. MVP in JUCO national tournament. Tulsa's floor leader and best player. " Don Chaney type," says Richardson, meaning Pressey has defensive instincts of burglar and wingspan of eagle. Almost too cool, nonchalant. Maybe the finest passer in college.
Richardson is painfully aware of the stigma attached to a junior college-based program. "For three years I heard nothing but the word outlaw," he says, "but it's a bad rap. We didn't just run up and down the floor. We got our 101s [Western averaged 101 points a game] off our defense."
When Louisville came to Tulsa, it must have felt as if a swarm of locusts had descended during its 68-60 loss (a more decisive beating than DePaul administered the Cards). "They came in here half-step-pin' it," says Pressey, "but we treated it like it was the NCAA champs against the JUCO champs, which it was. The difference at this level? The crowds are bigger, that's all. We can get it on with anybody." Or, as the team theme song says, Ain't No Stoppin' Us Now.