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With Lefebvre safely asleep in a special 7-foot 8-inch bed downstairs, Anderson went to work. He called Babe Brown, the athletic director at the College of Idaho in Caldwell, and lined up another game for December 2 to open the season at home in Spokane.
Chores done, he gazed fondly back on Lefebvre, who came with embroidered pajamas and wash towels, a modest but well-tailored wardrobe and nine words of English. He also arrived with a pair of size 17 basketball shoes that were too small.
There was more civic interest in Gonzaga basketball in the next few weeks of September than all of last season, when the team won 11 of 27 games, drew skimpy crowds and hardly raised a murmur among the students.
The Spokane Chronicle greeted Lefebvre's arrival warmly in a lead editorial, whistled at his tremendous size with a "Golly, Quel Homme!" A clothier wanted to outfit him, and Playfair track begged Lefebvre to crown the winning horse of a feature race. In the last season, Anderson sold fewer than 300 season tickets. He is now banking on at least 1,000 at $7.50 each.
As both coach and promoter, Anderson ensconced big Lefebvre in a room in a campus dormitory with Norman Gillette, the new 5-foot-8 athletic news director whose credentials include B's in high school French.
Then he helped Lefebvre line up his freshman course: English I (with a tutor); the French theater since 1930 (with a French-speaking teacher); the history of French literature, and Racine's tragedies (with the same teacher); and four hours of physical education (with Coach Anderson).
Lefebvre quickly bought himself a Larousse French-English dictionary, four bottles of shaving lotion, a camera and a notebook to take down play patterns from Anderson's blackboard.
He gets $10 a week on a campus job (one of his tasks is installing high-hanging library shelves), in addition to the standard Gonzaga scholarship of board, room and tuition. He came without cost and no under-the-table payments. In return, even before firing a shot at a Gonzaga foe, he has given the school one of its most intriguing athletic heroes without an inch of goon on an outsized frame. When he has a better grasp of English, Lefebvre intends to switch to a business course. He will study the export-import trade, which he hopes eventually to enter.
Almost lost in the Gonzaga glee over its recruiting coup is the fact that Lefebvre plays pretty good basketball. He can move, shoots well and is learning to lift his 280 pounds off the floor for rebounds. After six weeks of practice, Anderson feels Lefebvre's rough edges are beginning to smooth over.