Most NBA general managers will tell you that with the possible exception of Hartford's Vin Baker (SI, Nov. 23), small schools will not turn out any players this year who have the potential of the Chicago Bulls' Scottie Pippen (Central Arkansas) or the Detroit Pistons' Dennis Rodman (Southeastern Oklahoma State). But these G.M.'s will also tell you that there could well be some players like the Dallas Mavericks' Terry Davis (Virginia Union), the Portland Trail Blazers' Mario Elie (American International) or the San Antonio Spurs' Avery Johnson (Southern)—players from obscure schools who become solid pros. Here are some small-school players who are unknown to almost everyone except NBA scouts.
?Tommy Tormohlen, 6'5" guard, Berry College, in Rome, Ga. Tormohlen, who's averaging 24.5 points, is an excellent three-point shooter and good leaper with NBA bloodlines. His father, Gene, played for the St. Louis Hawks in the '60s and is now a scout for the Los Angeles Lakers. More important, Tommy is one of the few NAIA players to be invited to the Portsmouth (Va.) Invitational Tournament in April, a key predraft camp. One NBA G.M. says that Tormohlen may be a late-first-round pick.
? Bill Edwards, 6'8" forward Wright State, in Dayton, Ohio. He can rebound, run the floor, take the ball to the basket, and he has a fine shooting touch for a power forward. Questions remain about Edwards's apparent lack of emotion and his tendency to coast in games, but he has improved in both areas this season.
?Alex Wright, 6'2" guard, Central Oklahoma. NBA scouts are worried about his size—he's a shooting guard in the body of a point guard, a small point guard—but not about his marksmanship. Wright is a 44% three-point shooter and the second leading scorer in Division II, with a 30.2 average through Sunday. He hopes to follow in the footsteps of three other graduates of Harding High in Bridgeport, Conn.: John Bagley, Wes Matthews and Charles Smith, all of whom made the NBA.
?Darrin Robinson, 6'2" guard, Sacred Heart, in Fairfield, Conn. His slashing style has been compared with that of the New Jersey Nets' Kenny Anderson. Robinson has had a troubled college career—he dropped out of school once and twice was ruled academically ineligible—but at week's end he was averaging 32.3 points. Robinson's mother, Arlene, supplied the words by which all these would-be draftees live: "If you do well and play hard, they'll find you no matter where you are."
A NEW ORDER
Penn versus Columbia and Rice versus SMU aren't exactly your traditional powerhouse matchups, but there they were last Saturday, games that had conference supremacy and NCAA tournament bids riding on them. Penn (19-4 at week's end) clinched at least a tie for the Ivy League crown with its 10th straight win, a come-from-behind 74-67 win at Columbia. The game put the Quakers one victory, or one Lion loss, away from breaking Princeton's four-year hold on the conference trophy. Unfortunately there is no trophy to hold. The 15-pound silver cup was stolen from a display case at Princeton's Jadwin Gym last August. The culprits are still at large.
When the trophy is found or replaced, it might find itself in Philadelphia for a while. Penn has no seniors, and the team's talented guards Jerome Allen and Vanderbilt transfer Matt Maloney, who combined for 30 second-half points against Columbia, are both sophomores.
While Penn was clearing up the Ivy race, Rice was muddling the Southwest Conference picture with a 90-67 win over SMU. The result left both schools atop the conference standings at 10-2 with two games left. The only thing that seems certain is that the Owls, who were 16-7 overall at week's end, and the Mustangs (18-6) will claim the league's top two spots for the first time since 1957.