Only two players have ever made the All-Pac-10 team four times, and their names are not Lew Alcindor and Bill Walton. In fact, the players were not even from UCLA. Cal's Bob McKeen did it in 1952-55 and Oregon's Ron Lee in 1973-76. With another typical, which is to say outstanding, season, Cardinal guard Todd Lichti, who averaged 20.1 points and 5.6 rebounds last season, can swell the honor roll to three. "I want to make it, but it's not something I set out to do when I came here," Lichti says. "The first goal is to win the Pac-10." That's not unrealistic, especially since coach Mike Montgomery has surrounded Lichti with an imposing supporting cast, including forward Howard Wright and point guard Terry Taylor. Last season Stanford was the only team to beat Arizona in conference play (82-74 in Palo Alto). This season it should challenge Sean Elliott & Co. for its first title since 1962-63.
As if it weren't bad enough to lose three starters from last season's 32-2 team, coach John Chaney also lost a trio of promising freshmen to academic ineligibility. So Chaney, who considers Bylaw 5-1-(j) prejudicial to blacks, will have to make do with the talented duo of sophomore guard Mark Macon and senior forward Mike Vreeswyk.
Alas, Chaney isn't a miracle man, and he'll be strapped to replace point guard Howie Evans, Atlantic-10 Player of the Year Tim Perry and space-eating center Ramon Rivas. Perhaps the most intriguing possible fill-in is senior forward Shawn Johnson, who didn't play high school ball and was discovered by Chaney in a Philadelphia church league.
By the time you finish reading this sentence, Loyola-Marymount could have made 76 steals, scored a zillion points and left another foe bewitched, bothered and beaten. All last year's team did was average 110 points and run off 25 straight wins until North Carolina stopped it in the second round of the NCAAs. So what now? "We want to take our seven-second offense and get it down to five seconds," says coach Paul Westhead, who has four of his top six scorers back, including forward Hank Gathers and guard Bo Kimble. If you like run-and-gun, don't miss the Dec. 17 visit of Marymount to Oklahoma for what could be the first 220-218 game in college history. "We hear the Sooners aren't too worried about us," says Westhead. "My comment is, We'll get our average."
When Doug Single was athletic director at Northwestern and hired a black football coach, it was no big deal. But when he moved to SMU and hired black basketball coach John Shumate to replace Dave Bliss, well, let's just say that some ten-gallon hats were lifted around conservative Dallas so a few folks could scratch their heads. Of course, if Shumate breaks the Mustang habit of never playing in the Final Four, nothing else will matter. He has a shot, too, because Bliss didn't leave the cupboard bare. Returning from last season's Ponies, who won 28 games on the way to the Southwest Conference title, are starters Kato Armstrong, Eric Longino and Glenn Puddy. Too bad for Shumate he doesn't have a center as good as he was when he worked the paint at Notre Dame in the early 1970s.
25. Wichita State
The real shocker at Wichita State isn't that 6'10" Yugoslavian center Sasha Radunovich sometimes thinks he's a guard, but that everybody has so little trouble telling the Praylow twins apart. Both Dwayne and Dwight are roughly 6'5". The telltale difference? "Dwayne is a little bigger," says Radunovich, whose penchant for the perimeter resulted in 12 three-pointers in 30 attempts last season, "and he's meaner." Which explains why Dwayne plays power forward and Dwight is a shooting guard who sank a team-record 51 treys for coach Eddie Fogler.
In the middle of last season, just after the Volunteers had lost by 28 points to intrastate rival Vanderbilt, the howls for coach Don DeVoe's scalp were so loud that you would have thought he was a Tennessee football coach. But somehow DeVoe got the Vols turned around, and instead of getting fired, he was given a two-year contract extension as a reward for Tennessee's 16-13 record. Still, with 25,000 seats to fill in a new on-campus arena and expectations higher than ever, DeVoe won't be able to relax. Fortunately, in senior forward Dyron Nix—he of the flowing curls and relentless play—the Volunteers may have the SEC's best player.
So forget Jerome Lane, Demetreus Gore and Charles Smith. What did Pitt really get out of them except a chronic case of heartburn in March? Now they're gone, and it's time to welcome the Messiah, which is how forward Brian Shorter was known on the playgrounds of Philadelphia. Eligible after a year off because of Bylaw 5-1-(j), the 6'6" Shorter is longer on potential than anybody in Pitt history. Says sophomore point guard Sean Miller, "He's the kind who can come right into the Big East and be a star." Is Shorter nervous? "No big deal," he says. "I've always played against guys older than I am. We're all on the same level."
28. South Carolina
The Gamecocks, released from the doghouse of their NCAA probation, should make their strongest national showing since the early 1970s. They will be inexperienced, with seven freshmen and sophomores, but once again coach George Felton can rely on Terry Dozier and John Hudson, his classy pair of senior forwards who last year combined to average 27 points and 10 rebounds a game. In the back-court, sophomores Brent Price and Barry Manning will have to make some room for 6'7" freshman swingman Troy McKoy, whose baggage from East Hartford (Conn.) High includes a 29.4 scoring average.