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All THAT HE CAN BE
Bruce Newman
January 19, 1987
Sharpshooter Kevin Houston may look like a toy soldier, but he is the leading scorer in major-college basketball
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January 19, 1987

All That He Can Be

Sharpshooter Kevin Houston may look like a toy soldier, but he is the leading scorer in major-college basketball

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However, Houston didn't anticipate being so completely overlooked by college recruiters that not one school offered him a scholarship. Houston had played club basketball during high school for the highly regarded Riverside Church team in New York, which featured such players as Walter Berry, Bruce Dalrymple and Olden Polynice, but despite starting and playing well he wasn't recruited. "You do pretty well down there, and you think you can play with that caliber player, but then you find you're not getting the same kind of attention they are," Houston says. Houston attended the U.S. Military Academy Prep School at Fort Monmouth, N.J., for a year before moving on to West Point.

While he was in prep school Houston's classmates began calling him Beaver, a reference to his physical and temperamental resemblance to television's Beaver Cleaver. The name followed him to the Point, and just two weeks ago Wothke challenged his players during a team meeting by suggesting they were "playing Leave It To Beaver from the start of the game." That has been a problem for the Cadets. "We sit on the bench and watch him," says McGuinness, "and most of the stuff he does is so amazing that when you look into the stands, people are just laughing."

What Houston does best is constantly fake defenders off their feet, then go up himself at peculiar angles for his long-range jumpers, which he makes a great percentage of the time. Though he struggled with his shot for much of the Cadet game against Iona last Saturday, he calmly launched a three-pointer with the score tied and five seconds to play and knocked the bottom out of the basket to give Army a 58-55 win. His 26 points once again accounted for almost half the team's total.

Houston is eager to begin his military service and is hoping—perhaps not surprisingly—to get into the field artillery. "I'm not really the infantry type, or the armored-division type, rolling around in a tank all day," he says. "In the field artillery I'll get to shoot a couple of rockets and missiles here or there. I think it'll be a pretty exciting thing to do." It's a big responsibility, but the Beaver is just the man to shoulder it.

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