One of the hardest-working men in basketball is Raymond Meyer, who sets up schedules, arranges transportation for the team, finds hotel accommodations, counsels high-strung athletes—does, in fact, several jobs besides that of basketball coach. But this year Meyer is leaning heavily on an assistant, Team Trainer Tom Monforti. ' "He could be our most valuable man," says Meyer.
Monforti will have to keep Meyer's team in business this season because there isn't much on the bench. But that first team is a good one. Gangling Bill Debes has been brought along slowly by Meyer, in much the same way the DePaul coach handled another tall young man some years back named George Mikan. Debes is no Mikan, but the 6-foot-9 senior has learned to glide around the pivot well enough. He does foul too much, and DePaul's offense is being changed to cut down the time Debes can spend whacking under the backboard.
At one forward is 6-foot-5 M. C. Thompson, who jumps about as well as any big man but has trouble landing. He was the team's leading rebounder last season until his flatfooted descents caused his knees to buckle. This fall he is learning to land on his toes. "Thank goodness," says Trainer Monforti.
The other forward is 6-foot-5 Dick Cook, who has good speed and is willing to battle earnestly under the backboards. This front line will get some help if Jesse Nash, a 6-foot-5 sophomore, can get himself scholastically eligible for the last half of the season. Nash could be the best re-bounder on a team that lists rebounding as its single greatest strength.
The backcourt will likely be led by Emmette Bryant, a 6-foot-1 guard who jumps well enough to play forward occasionally as well. He moves with great dash and, says Meyer, "He seems to make the big boys work harder. They get a little complacent." Bryant stops that.
The fifth man will be either 6-foot-1 Denny Freund or possibly a sophomore, Jim Murphy. The selection could rest on who plays defense better. Meyer is quite annoyed at the points his team "gave away" last season, and has gone to a tougher, switching man-to-man defense.