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November 29, 1979 - Image 13

Resource type:
The Michigan Daily, 1979-11-29
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The Michigan Daily-Thursday, Nov

Page 14-Thursday, November 29, 1979-The Michigan Daily

A ti ht Big

10 race,.

McGee hopes to top
sophomore campaign

With 42 of 50 starters returning to a
conference which claimed both the NCAA
and NIT championships last year, the Big
Ten once promises another exciting basket-
ball season race. Ohio State and Indiana,
both of which are vastly improved, shouldn't
walk away with the title; talenr at Iowa, Pur-
due, Illinois, and Wisconsin runs thick, while
Minnesota, Michigan, and Northwestern try
and build from a youth movement.
On the following two pages, Tipoff '79
editor Alan Fanger analyzes the strengths and
weaknesses of each conference team, in a
predicted order of finish.
1. Ohio State
Last season, the Big Ten coaches
regardedt the Buckeyes as a legitimate

threat to win the conference title. Now
they're living in fear of them.
Eldon Miller took Ohio State to the
semi-finals of the NIT last March
following a successful 17-10'campaign.
Although he was disappointed about not
winning the title, Miller knew the future
was bright with four starters returning.
The former Western Michigan coach
then added some icing to his delicious
cake by signing 6-8 Clark Kellogg out of
Cleveland St. Joseph High School.
Kellogg, who averaged 28 points and 17
assists per game his senior year, is
regarded as the best cager to come out
of the Ohio high school ranks since
Jerry Lucas.
Kellogg will undoubtedly earn a star-
ting berth in the frontcourt with the
rapidly improving pivotman Herb
Williams (19.9/10.4) and forward Jim

Smith (7.4/6.5), both of whom are
juniors. Senior Tony Hall and freshmen
Mitch Hass and Granville Waiters
provide some much-needed depth in the
Buckeye frontcourt.
The backcourt situation shapes up
equally well with the return of All-Big
Ten guard Kelvin Ransey, who
averaged over 24 points per contest last
year. "He's easily the best player I've
ever coached," said Miller of his point
guard. Joining Ransey will be 6-2 junior
Carter Scott (9.4 ppg.). After two years
on the front line, Scott should feel more
at ease in his natural position.-
Early in the conference schedule, the
Buckeyes should know how well they're
maximizing their talent. The face In-
diana, Purdue, and Iowa in a seven-day
span in early January.
2. Indiana
Don't count on the Hoosiers to pull
any late-season heroics this time
around. They'll probably start as fast
as they'll finish.

he gained at the Pan American Games,
while 6-9 sophomore Landon Turner
(5.5/3.4) is a steady performer. Junior
Steve Risley (6.6/3.4) plays the role on-
ce held by John Laskowski, that of
"Super Sub." His presence will undoub-
tedly ease any worries about foul
Knight has a welcome situation at
guard-too many fine players battling
for starting berths. Thomas, who ear-
ned a spot on the Pan Am squad, is
called by Knight: "the most important
player I ever recruited." Thomas has
the potential to crack the starting five,
complemented by either the improving
Butch Carter (8.5),. a fine outside
shooter, or sophomore Randy Wittman
There's no question the Hoosiers have
the ingredients to win it all. What they
need to do is find success on the road.
That means winning in unfriendly
places like Columbus, West Lafayette,
and Iowa City. It won't be easy, even
for Bobby Knight.

A certain portion of the Michigan
basketball media guide describes Mike
McGee as having suffered through a
"sophomore jinx" last season. This
assessment was made in spite of the
fact that McGee led the Wolverines in
scoring and finished second -in reboun-
ding during the 1978-79 campaign.
McGee received plenty of negative
coverage and fan reaction throughout
the entire season, but Michigan Coach
Johnny Orr found most of it unjustified.
"I wish all my players had had that
disappointing a year. I guess after the

last year, he does not plan to hold back
a shot when a good opportunity arises.
"Why would I change my game? I
came out of high- school averaging 38
points, so naturally, I'm a shooter so I'll
be shooting this year,' McGee said.
WITH THE LOSS of Phil Hubbard to
the NBA's Detroit Pistons, the
Wolverines will be counting even more
on the scoring of the pre-season
(honorable mention) All-American
gunner. And Orr believes McGee can
"Mike looks just tremendous. I've
never seen him as quick and in as good

"I think I shiould(Iharej


better bItiti iwsn'tI really (1 s4),)i-
morre .jin..I1(1 er(Igedlorer 183
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Coach Bobby Knight has all of last.3 Purdue
Lee Rose must wonder what it takes
to receive a bid to the NCAA tour-
nament. His Boilermakers finished in a
tie for first with Michigan State and
Iowa, yet the Spartans and Hawkeyes
were selected on the basis of head-to-
head competition.
Rose faces a similar problem this
year. His squad clearly belongs in the
first division, as four starters return
from the NIT finalist team. Now all the
Boilermakers have to do is knock off a
few of their more highly-regarded con-
% ference foes.
The possibility of that occurring
depends on the help the rest of the
> squad gives 7-1 center Joe Barry
Carroll. Carroll, the Big Ten's leading
scorer and an all-conference selection,
Mike lWood.'.otadominated opposing pivotmen last
season, as he averaged 22.1 points and
... fourth year the dream? 10.1 rebounds per game.
year's starting NIT championship con- Another problem lies in the
tingent back, plus 6-1 freshman sen- replacement of guard Jerry Sichting
sation Isiah Thomas. Included among (13.6), who Rose described as "the con-
that group is All-Ameican forward summate player."'6-5 sophomore Kevin
Mike Woodson, a four-year starter who Stallings, a junior college transfer, is
tossed in 21 points per game last year. the leading candidate to move into that
But it won't be just a one-man show spot. Another transfer, 6-2 Lee Cum-
up front. 6-9 postman Ray Tolbert mings and 6-5 Keith Edmondson, are
(11.9/7.8) should show the experience also possible starters.y
The other three spots are adequately
4 filled. Up front, Carroll is joined by 6-7
* A* senior Arnette Hallman (8.0/5.0) and 6-
S* 5 junior Drake Morris (7.9/4.0). Their
* improvement is paramount to Purdue 's
* '0 * title hopes.
S* Sichting's graduation creates some
* problems in the backcourt, particularly
* in the experience, department. Junior
S* Brian Walker (4.3) set a school record
4for assists; he will be counted on for
# * more scoring punch. The others will
hve to make a quick adjustment to Big
Ten play.
** The Boilermakers can't win the title
on the performance of one man. Carroll
is an All-American candidate, but he'll
need a supporting cast. Judging from
the LAI[ST * both past performances' and present
* D BLeCaronic cGmel * talent, he may have one.
504 FREE : 4. Illinois
Among the list of all-time "flashes in
You can play 50C worth of a pan," the '78-79 Illini ranks up there
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like W("(pCW

great year te had as a freshman they
expected him to score 700 points instead
of 500."
AS IT WAS, McGee "only" scored
18.9 points per game while averaging
5.6 rebounds per contest. During his
freshman campaign McGee averaged
19.7 points per game and 4.9 rebounds.
"I think I should have done better but
it wasn't really a sophomore jinx,'
McGee said. "I averaged over 18 points
and that's not bad. I guess people were
expecting more than my freshman
year, so they were looking for 20 to 22
points a game."
McGee fell under a barrage of
criticism for his woeful shooting per-
centage, which fell to a mediocre .456.
Poor shot selection helped lower that
mark, but Orr said McGee has cleaned
up his offensive act for the upcoming
"He doesn't take nearly as many bad
shots as he did last year," said Orr.
"I THINK I'm improved over last
year," McGee said. With more ex-
perience and knowing the system a lit-
tle better it helps you out a lot.
"Shot selection just comes with
maturity in the game. When you're
young you might do some things that
you wouldn't do when you're a little
older. When I was a freshman and
sophomore, I was shooting from
anywhere and I wasn't thinking about it
that much, but as you get older, you
kind of think about it more," said
McGee. .
Even with all the boos McGee heard

a condition as he's in right now, and his
attitude is phenomenal," Orr said at the
pre-season media luncheon earlier this
"He's got a great attitude. You know,
Mike has had some problems in the
past. He's a great talent and I look for
him to have just a super, super year. I
can't see anyway, unless it's an injury,
that he won't be just an outstanding
basketball player.
"HE'S ALSO a different person -
personality-wise. He'll say things to the
players, not just calling for the ball,"
Orr continued. "He does things that are
good for the team and morale. I've
never seen the guys more receptive to
And with those words from Orr, will
the new Mike McGee please stand up?
"I think we're going to have a good
team," said McGee, the new team
player. "I think we'll be much better
than people think we'll be. Everybody's
working harder and we're all pulling
for each other. I'd say the whole team
has been doing really well in practice."
EVEN WHEN asked about his goals
for the upcoming season, McGee could
only think of team goals - winning the
Big Ten and getting a tournament bid -
rather than individual ones, such as a
place on the All-Big Ten team or at the
top of the conference scoring heap.
And McGee doesn't see the loss of
Hubbard as putting extra pressure on
him personally. "We have a lot of
people that can score," said McGee,
"So we should be pretty balanced."

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comprehensive selection

Supplement to the Michigan Daily
EDITOR: Alan Fanger
ASSOCIATE EDITORS: Geoff Larcom, Mark Mihanovic
STAFF WRITERS: Stan Bradbury, Dave Johnson, Scott M. Lewis, Billy
SALES REPRESENTATIVES: Sue Guszynski, Leslie Harris, Kris Peter-
son, Linda Solomon,, Nancy Stempel, Bob Thompson, Dan Woods
Center spread.photo by David Harris
Cover photo courtesty of Michigan Sports Information Department

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