Years ago, if someone were to describe the sublime offensive skills of 6'10" Alonzo Mourning and the raw abilities of 7'2" Dikembe Mutombo and tell you that a single team had been blessed with both men and their considerable shot-blocking skills, you would have handed the national title to Georgetown—even if they started two guards out of F Troop. Alas, coach John Thompson will probably audition everyone but Larry Storch for his backcourt. There are putative shooters (coach's son Ronny Thompson and Antoine Stoudamire) and green point-guard prospects (Charles Harrison and 5'10" Joey Brown, both freshmen). The Hoyas will still play menacing defense, and Thompson can count his blessings; at least he didn't take the job as general manager of the Denver Nuggets this summer.
It's a fact: Mourning blocked 169 shots two years ago as a freshman but only 69 as a sophomore. Hmmm.
So's this: Those who carp unjustifiably about the racial composition of Georgetown teams should note that the Hoyas' roster includes three whites.
Time was when Virginia wouldn't even launch a trey, much less make one. Former coach Terry Holland then brought to Charlottesville forwards Stith and Kenny Turner and guards John Crotty and Anthony Oliver. They are juniors and seniors now, starters all, and none is uncomfortable with eyeing and flying from anywhere. Holland has stepped down, yielding to his former player Jeff Jones, but 96% of the scoring and 91% of the rebounding from last season's 20-12 team isn't a particularly miserly legacy to leave.
It's a fact: Over three seasons, Virginia has won its last eight OT games.
So's this: Reserve guard Terry Kirby had averaged nearly twice as many points a game (6.7) as a tailback on the Cavs' football team this fall than he did last season for the hoops team (3.4).
This is the season that will determine whether Texas becomes like Oklahoma, a school where the system is paramount, not the players. Lance Blanks and Travis Mays, two thirds of the Longhorns' BMW Ultimate Scoring Machine, are in the NBA, but the leftover W, Joey Wright, turned in the team's single-game highs in points (46), rebounds (17) and assists (9) last season. Redshirts (like 6'3" slam master Tony Watson), transfers (like former Maryland guard Teyon McCoy) and jucos (like 6'8" Dexter Cambridge) are newcomers, joining returning forwards Locksley Collie and Guillermo Myers.
It's a fact: In 67 games since Tom Penders arrived as coach, the Horns have taken fewer than 10 treys in a game only once.
So's this: Six-foot-eight freshman Albert Burditt will enjoy home cooking this season, because his dad, Bubba, is chief chef at the Texas athletic dining hall.
The giddy hopes of UCLA took a pratfall on a wet spot on the Pauley Pavilion floor. The Bruins, beneficiaries of the NCAA's draconian sanctions against UNLV, signed superb local high schoolers Ed O'Bannon and Shon Tarver, both of whom had originally committed to Vegas. But days before the opening of practice, O'Bannon, a 6'8" power forward, blew out his knee in a pickup game. Nonetheless, four starters return from a club that reached the NCAA Sweet 16 last season. Tarver will see plenty of time, mostly at the expense of junior guard Gerald Madkins, a defensive specialist. Coach Jim Harrick has finally quashed the notion that the Bruins can't recruit in their own backyard. Now he must persuade those recruits that basketball is more than taking shots.